Monday, July 11, 2011

Beans in the Summertime

Growing up, we always ate beans in the winter.  My mother cooked them with pork (what else would a southerner use).  They were good, but these beans are not for summer.

Enter canned beans and salads.  Beans do not have to be hot and served with cornbread.  This is good news.  Beans are a good source of protein, fiber, potassium and folic acid and they are virtually fat free.  We need not wait until winter to eat beans.  Salads are another way to consume beans.  If you want a complete protein in one dish, make a bean and rice salad. 

The April 2011 issue of Bon Appétit magazine contained an article by Molly Wizenberg – Chick Magnet (  Molly starts with chickpeas (garbanzo beans) but you really could use any bean.  Most beans have a fairly mild flavor and will take on the flavor of whatever is added to them.

To make a bean salad, choose a can of beans.  Drain and rinse.  After that, the sky is the limit.  Since I was on a roll, I decided to make two versions of this salad.  Both salads started with chickpeas (15 ounces).

As a nod to my trip last year to Greece, I made one on the style of the Greek salad.  And since I was in the Mediterranean area, I made the second one more Italian flavored.

Chickpea Salad - Greek Version

Serves 2.


1 can (15 ounce) Garbanzo beans
1 to 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
½ cup feta cheese


1.     Drain and rinse the beans.  Combine with remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chickpea Salad - Italian Version

Serves 2.


1 can (15 ounce) Garbanzo beans
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, minced
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Juice of ½ lemon
1 Tablespoon olive oil
cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Combine in the same manner as the Greek version.

I hope you get the general idea about bean salads.  There are no hard and fast rules.  You basically make it the way you want to.  Depending on what is in your pantry, you may want to add olives, bell pepper, green onions.  If you don’t like a particular kind of cheese, switch to your favorite.  Most of all, have fun with your bean salad.  Let your imagination fly!

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