Sometimes in the summer I like to plan a meal that is just a couple of salads and in order to up the amount of protein, I usually include a bean salad. This Tuscan White Bean salad one of our favorites and is very simple, plus it uses ingredients I normally have on hand, including tomatoes which I dry from my garden produce each year and keep in olive oil. This also makes a great potluck dish. I’ve gotten a ton of compliments when I’ve served it to a crowd (little did they know how inexpensive it was!).
The ingredients you’ll need to make this salad are: beans, of course, (easiest if cooked and frozen according to the method I discussed here), dried tomatoes in oil (if using ones not packed in oil, rehydrate them in water first), balsamic vinegar, olive oil (the oil from the tomatoes is best), onion, chopped roasted red peppers, fresh basil (I have used dried in the winter, *gasp*), and garlic. I forgot to put the cheese in the picture, but you’ll definitely want to add the Parmesan!
My one tip for making the dressing for this salad (or any homemade vinaigrette, actually) is this:
- To mix, use a small whisk held between your hands and twist the handle back and forth quickly. You’ll be amazed at how it emulsifies the oil and vinegar in seconds, no kitchen appliances needed, and lasts a lot longer than simply shaking in a bottle.
Because onion, garlic, and basil are relatively inexpensive, I think this could be made for around $3.00 (for eight servings) after purchasing the tomatoes and a pepper that you then roasted at home. Which of course would be significantly less if home-grown produce were included.
Tuscan White Bean Salad
- 4 c. cooked white beans (about 1-1/2 c. dry)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 c. dried tomatoes, packed in oil, chopped
- 1/4 c. finely sliced fresh basil
- 1 Tb. minced garlic
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 c. grated Romano, Parmesan, or Asiago cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Combine the beans, onion, pepper, tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a large bowl.
- Mix the oil and vinegar until thoroughly combined. Pour over bean mixture, add half of the cheese and stir well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove to serving bowl and top with remaining cheese (and a basil sprig, if you’d like).