This week in Southern Appalachia, our weather has taken a turn towards summer when me and my family take as many meals as we can outside to enjoy the nature around us! We sometimes eat in the gazebo, the covered porch or out on the patio depending on the time of day and the weather. We might even pack up our meal and take it up on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a picnic on our way to a mountain hike.
I created this plant based recipe which can be flexible to be made into a lot of different versions. Beans are a great source of protein and are heart healthy and also play a role in helping prevent cancer. They also do a great job helping us feel satiated after a meal because of their fiber. They are also rich in iron, potassium and B vitamins which have an important role in women’s health. I also love the bright purple, red, green, orange and white colors which make it not only inviting but provide a lot of beneficial healing plant properties! I think that you and your friends and family will love to give it a try!
As you can see in addition to a salad makes a beautiful crostini topping or sandwich!
Tuscan White Bean and Olive Salad
This recipe was inspired by two recipes in Millie Katzen’s 1992 edition of Moosewood Cookbook, Just White Beans and Pickled Red Onions. I combined the two and added a lot of extra goodness to make a tasty summer treat. Feel free to change the vegetables added to match the seasons. It would be wonderful with fresh tomatoes and corn for a new summer recipe or roasted sweet potato and kale for fall or winter.
Makes 5 servings as a 1/2 cup side dish. It will vary depending on if you use as a main dish salad, sandwich filling or crostini topping.
15 1/2 ounce white cannellini beans
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Lettuce leaves (I used Boston but you could use romaine or leaf lettuce)
Kalamata olives for garnish
Pesto to top the salad, crostini or sandwich
Walnuts for garnish
Basil cut into chiffonade for garnish
(Toasted or grilled French bread for crostini if desired or buns or other bread for sandwiches if desired)
Chop onion, carrots and bell pepper. Mince the garlic. Wash and drain the beans. In a large bowl, add beans, onion, carrots and bell pepper. In a small bowl, make a dressing with the olive oil, red wine vinegar, thyme, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Add to the salad and toss lightly. Let set 30 minutes or up to a day before serving. Garnish with olives, walnuts, pesto and basil.
Love the fact that this salad can be made into a sandwich filling!
Now, that you know what I will be doing this summer, I hope that you come back for some more ideas for your outdoor celebrations! As a registered dietitian nutritionist in beautiful Asheville, NC, I love sharing ways to make people’s mealtime delicious, fun and filling! I am glad that you came by to see what I have been cooking and I hope that you stop by soon! And I would love for you to share some of your favorite summer foods to eat outside!