Today’s recipe is all about simple and seasonal. Sometimes the last thing I want to do on a hot summer day is turn on the oven. That’s why I like to have quick and easy recipes on hand, because you never know when you’ll need it.
One of my favorite summertime dishes is bean salad. The name does sound dull and it usually is the last thing to go at a BBQ, but this often under-appreciated dish can be an unexpected delight. Beans are packed with protein, fiber, iron, and B12 vitamins and will leave you satisfied and full. You can buy beans dry or in the can, but if you do buy them dried it usually takes a few hours to soak and cook them before use. This way is more time-consuming, but it’s usually cheaper with less additives.
To make this dish is quite simple. Use any beans you like. Today I had butter beans, a type of white bean, but fava beans, chickpeas, black beans, pinto, kidney beans, or lima beans would all work well. Add whatever fresh produce you have - anything that strikes you at the farmer’s market. Cucumber, peppers, potatoes, celery, tomatoes, green onions, or sweet corn, to name a few. Then gather some herbs - basil, parsley, thyme, tarragon, mint, or oregano - and toss in a light vinaigrette. To make the dressing, I used fresh lemon juice, basil, oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper. A little honey or maple syrup would also be good if you wanted to add a little sweetness. I then tossed everything together. Then at this point you could just eat it or store it in the fridge. I like to let the beans marinate for at least an 1 hour before serving them (marinate overnight for best results!). The longer the marination the better the flavors. This dish can be made ahead of time - if you have a party or BBQ to go to or are making lunch for yourself the next day, or it's great to have as a snack.
The versatility of the recipe really allows you to play with seasonal ingredients and flavors. It’s a simple dish that goes a long way (and it’s good for you!). So however you are serving this, make sure to have fun!
In a medium bowl, add the beans, cherry tomatoes and shallots. To make the dressing, in a small bowl, add the juice of one lemon, basil and oregano. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the beans and give a quick stir. Garnish with basil and store in refrigerator for a least 1 hour before serving. You could obviously serve at room temperature right away, but letting the beans marinate brightens the flavors. Enjoy!
Yields: 1-2 servings
Total time: 10 minutes
1 15oz can butter beans, rinsed and drained
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
basil for garnish
For the dressing:
4 basil leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste