White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

Low-effort and no-cook are ideal characteristics of a late summer, weeknight meal. Grilling is great, but sometimes you need something even easier—not to mention fresher—to put on the table. This white bean salad has been one of my favorite 15-minute dinners this summer, eaten straight, tossed with a bit of arugula, or best of all, with slices of sourdough that have been fried in butter and garlic. It’s satisfying (beans and feta cheese!) but also delivers some produce (tomatoes, cucumber, parsley). Some might call this an appetizer, but for me it’s just right as a light meal. Happy August!

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts
White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts

Published July 30, 2019 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 15 minutes



Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce can navy beans
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste (optional)

  • For the toasts:
  • 4-5 slices bread of choice (such as sourdough)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic

  • Directions:

    1. Strain and rinse navy beans. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
    2. Add diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, feta, and parsley. Gently stir until ingredients are well distributed. Drizzle with olive oil.
    3. Add freshly cracked black pepper to taste, then season with salt to taste (Note: the feta will also add salt to this dish, so really taste it as you add salt. I find I only need to add a little bit. If your beans were already salty, you may not need salt at all).
    4. Bean salad can be made several hours ahead of time. Cover and place in fridge until ready to eat.
    5. When ready to serve, prepare the garlic toasts: mince garlic. Add garlic, along with 1/2 tablespoon of butter to a skillet and warm over medium heat. Swirl butter in pan to cover the bottom.
    6. When pan is hot, place several pieces of bread in skillet in a single layer. (My 10-inch skillet only fit 3-4 pieces at a time, depending on size. Work in batches.) Toast on the first side for 3-4 minutes. Then, use tongs to flip bread to second side. Add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of butter if pan gets dry. Toast for 3-4 minutes on second side, then remove from pan. Repeat until all slices are toasted.
    7. Serve: top each toast with bean salad and set on serving plates.

    White Bean Salad with Fried Garlic Toasts
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    Smashed Cucumber Salad

    Smashed Cucumber Salad

    I am a big cucumber fan — the type that will take a bite straight from a whole cuke - but you don’t have to be to enjoy this salad.

    Smashed Cucumber Salad is a Chinese side dish, and I’ve adapted that dish into a recipe I can make any old day. The salad base is still just cucumber (a GREAT way to mix it up when you’re in a salad rut). The dressing is where the rubber really meets the road here. You could use this dressing on other salads, too — but I never have leftovers 😁

    The perfect balance of salt, acid, and sweet: rice vinegar, soy sauce, and honey come together here. I haven’t yet watched Salt Fat Acid Heat (or read it), but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a dish that balances all of it’s flavors well. What do you think — should I jump in and watch the show?

    Either way, this dressing is golden. Garlic and chili flakes add punch. Cucumber is plain and simple; but simple is just right with the dressing.

    Smashed Cucumber Salad
    Smashed Cucumber Salad

    Smashed Cucumber Salad

    Published April 2, 2019 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 50 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2-3 english cucumbers 
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes 
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or white sugar)
  • 3 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ginger juice or minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce 
  • Garnish: 1 tablespoon minced cilantro, 2-3 small sprigs of mint (optional), lime wedges (optional)

  • Directions:

    1. Slice ends off of cucumber, and slice in half the long direction. Lay halved cucumbers seed-side down on a cutting board. Roll a rolling pin over cucumbers, smashing them just until the start to crack. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
    2. Place cucumber in a bowl and generously sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
    3. Place avocado oil, garlic and chili flakes in a small sauté pan and warm over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Stir occasionally, and allow garlic to turn golden. Remove from heat.
    4. In a jar, combine honey, rice vinegar, ginger juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and the chili-garlic oil. Stir (or close jar and shake) to combine.
    5. Toss cucumber in dressing. Top with minced cilantro, and optionally garnish with mint and lime wedges. Serve.

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    Mediterranean Salad

    Mediterranean salad

    It started when I was in high school: my core group of friends began doing dinners together for special occasions--birthdays, prom, etc. Most dinners had a similar landscape, including a main pasta dish with some sort of protein, a salad, and dessert (cheesecake). And Being a lover of cooking and feeling at home in the kitchen, I helped with all three dishes. But, one of those nights, I was proclaimed the Official Salad Maker. 

    Now I sort of thought, salad... boooooring. But they said look, you can even make salad taste good, and that's crazy! So I moved on with no complaints. I guess it was a compliment.

    Mediterranean salad

    Flash forward to 2016 and I'm the first to bring a salad to a party. No one is bringing salad? Don't you worry! Official Salad Maker to the rescue! (I no longer use that title, but somehow, I can't help but be the salad bearer to this day).

    I have left many of my old hat tricks for salads in the dark and moved on to more innovative efforts. Candied pecans are out and extravagant ingredients from the antipasti isle are in. So are homemade vinaigrettes. Those jarred roasted red peppers in the ethnic foods section? To die for! Why don't we put those on more things? This salad doesn't last long on a table.

    Mediterranean salad

    Mediterranean Salad

    Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

    This salad has so many delicious ingreidents--it will be everyone's favorite!

    Serves: 5   |    Total Time:



    Ingredients:

    • 1 heart of romaine
    • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin (found in near the olives and pickles or in the Italian section in the store)
    • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
    • 1/2 english cucumber
    • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
    • Sprinkle of dried oregano
    • Sprinkle of dried basil
    • Roasted red pepper dressing (I used a store-bought version)

    Directions:

    1. First, wash and dry the romain using a salad spinner. Then, chopped the ingredients: chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces; drain and dice the red peppers, drain and halve the olives; if you prefer, peel the cucumber, and then dice.
    2. Arrange the ingredients on a serving tray in rows, including 1 row for crumbled feta cheese. Lightly sprinkle salad with herbs.
    3. When serving, drizzle with dressing to taste, and then toss salad until everything is well mixed.

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