Summertime means salad days. So why not have a quick main-course salad for dinner?
We particularly like to mix white beans (garbanzos are good too) with big handfuls of fresh greens. Add a flavorful vinaigrette, and your dinner prep is done.
Time to eat!
It’s convenient to use canned beans for this dish (they’re a pantry staple for us). But if you have cooked dried beans on hand, they’d be wonderful in this dish.
Use the highest quality extra-virgin olive oil you have for this recipe – it does make a difference. And if you don’t want to use lemon juice, use a high-quality wine vinegar.
Prep time for this dish is about 10 minutes.
We most often serve this salad as a main course for two. But it can also be a starter or side for four.
For the vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- zest of ½ lemon (optional, but recommended)
- kosher salt to taste (several big pinches for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (about half a dozen grinds for us)
- ~1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional; see Notes)
For the salad:
- 15-ounce can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- ~5 cups fresh greens, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (about 5 ounces; we like a mix of arugula and spinach, but see Notes)
- ~½ cup red onion, thinly sliced or diced (optional, but onion adds a lot of flavor and color)
- Make the vinaigrette: Add all the vinaigrette ingredients to a small lidded jar, then shake vigorously to combine. Taste, then adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Add the beans to a mixing bowl. Add the vinaigrette. Mix briefly.
- Add the greens and the red onion (if using). Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly coated with vinaigrette.
- Taste, add more seasoning if necessary, and serve.
- We often add a handful of cherry tomatoes to the salad mix (we cut them into halves or quarters). Diced cucumbers are also a good addition.
- You can add Dijon mustard to the vinaigrette or leave it out – it’s good both ways. Though mustard definitely adds some zip.
- Don’t want to shake the vinaigrette in a lidded jar? Just place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
- We sometimes add an extra tablespoon of olive oil when we make this vinaigrette (for a 3:2 ratio).
- Or just use any vinaigrette recipe that you fancy.
- We always toss the beans with the vinaigrette first in order to thoroughly coat them with the vinaigrette. Then we add the greens and red onions. But you could probably add all the ingredients to the mixing bowl at the same time, then toss thoroughly.
- We often make this dish with an arugula-and-spinach mix we buy at the supermarket. Sometimes we use just one green or the other. We may even substitute lettuce (we prefer Bibb in this dish). Whatever greens you use, just make sure to tear (or cut) them into bite-sized pieces.
- We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using table salt, start with about half the amount we recommend. But always season to your taste, not ours.
“Yum,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Beans and greens are a classic combo.”
“This salad was meant to bean!” I said.
“Was that a joke?” said Mrs K R. “Or maybe you’re just talking with your mouth full again?”
“Lettuce us romaine calm,” I said. “Maybe I can turn over a new leaf.”
“Your humor is becoming a problem,” said Mrs K R. “That needs a dressing.”
Hope that doesn’t mean I’m a has bean.
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