Vegan Mofo Theme: Focus on a nutrient
My grandmother had a nursery rhyme growing up that went “Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you….” (I think you can fill in the blank). I, always being one for stupid humor, still find it funny to this day. The rhyme had a bit of knowledge too, as it ended “…the better you feel, so let’s eat beans for every meal!”
I have always dealt with slight anemia, and going vegan certainly made me more aware of how much I need to watch my iron levels. Enter the mighty bean: besides having lots of fiber and protein (you know…so you can remind your friends that things other than meat do, in-fact, have protein in them), and their *ahem* musical qualities, they are high in iron!
Another trick to making sure you absorb more of that iron is to eat your iron-rich foods with foods high in Vitamin C, hence the tomatoes in the salad and the lemon and lime in the dressing.
This recipe is truly versatile in both size and ingredients. If you make it like we did, it can easily serve a crowd of 5 or 6 as a side (or you can just keep all it’s basil, bean-y deliciousness all to yourself and eat it ‘for every meal’ for a few days-although you may want to warn any significant others/roommates before attempting so). To scale back, just use less beans and salad components, but we recommended keeping the full-serving of dressing. It’s just too yummy and the extra can be kept in the fridge for a few days and used up by topping leafy salads, pasta, or grilled veggies. If you have lots of fresh basil, we’d even suggest a double batch!
As far as ingredients, go wild with your choice of beans: canned if you need ’em quick, homemade if you’ve got the time, and anything from French green lentils (I love their little swirls) to the hearty pinto or something locally grown (around these parts, we are known for the flavorful pinquito bean).
We hope you enjoy our recipe for bean salad, adapted from the Composed Bean Salad with Basil Vinaigrette in the May/June 2015 issue of Eating Well.
-E & E
- 4 cups or 2-3 x 15 oz cans of assorted beans (we used northern, garbanzo, pinto, and kidney)
- 2 x cups green beans, ends trimmed
- 4-5 small radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1 small shallot, peeled and chunked
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (we used a basil flavored one and it was really yummy if you can find something like it)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil (don’t worry too much about stems, it’s going to be blended)
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Cook and cool your beans or drain and rinse thoroughly if canned. Arrange on a plate or platter and place in the fridge to chill. If you don’t care how it looks, just throw them all in a bowl and into the fridge.
- Steam your green beens for approximately 5 mins, until bright green and a little crunch remains. Set aside to cool briefly, and then add to the plate/platter/bowl and return beans to the fridge.
- While your beans are chilling, prep your dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a food processor or blender and process or blend until smooth. Adjust flavors as necessary (if you like it tangy, add more lemon or lime juice or if you want to emphasize your beautiful garden basil and use 3/4 of cup we’re all for it). Move to a container and chill in the fridge.
- Right before serving, slice radishes, tomatoes, and avocado and arrange on the platter with the beans. Drizzle with dressing, toss, and enjoy! If you have some extra basil, chop and use it to garnish.