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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    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Real summer is still a ways off, but we’ve been eating like it’s already here. An over-sized watermelon eaten in wedges, grilling every evening for dinner, and lots of fresh greens and herbs. This roasted corn salad includes a lot of quintessential summer ingredients. I wanted to publish it early in the season so you could take advantage of the first corn at the market. Grilling the corn and red bell pepper give a great toasted/caramelized flavor, while using a mix of herbs—basil, cilantro and parsley—add freshness to every bite. I used queso fresco, but if you’re unable to find that at your local grocery store, try feta or goat cheese crumbles.

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs
    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Roasted Corn Salad with Fresh Herbs

    Published June 4, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4-5   |    Active Time: 30 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 4 corn cobs
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup queso fresco, crumbled
  • 1/4 heaping cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 heaping cup basil leaves
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
    2. Remove husks and silk from corn. Cut bell pepper in half and remove stem and seeds.
    3. Place corn and pepper on grill. Cook for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until outside is brown in spots. Remove from heat.
    4. Allow pepper and corn to cool enough to handle (you can speed up the cooling process by placing them in a bowl with cool water).
    5. Dice roasted pepper, and place in serving bowl. Cut corn kernels from cobs, and place in bowl.
    6. Add queso fresco, herbs, red onion, olive oil, and vinegar to bowl, and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Serve.

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    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Ina Garten’s recipe for parmesan polenta got me over my aversion for all things polenta. I had never been a fan of the gooey textured stuff before, but I had been missing something key: enough butter, cream, and parmesan. That, and the right toppings. This meal brings it all together—a creamy polenta base, which serves a two-part role as sauce and substance; and roasted summer veggies, which benefit from (and compliment) the creaminess of the rest of the dish; pine nuts, which add much-needed crunch. I’ve made it four times in the last month, a testament to how well I’ve been convert from polenta-hater to lover. Maybe it will convert someone you know, too.

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta
    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Roasted Summer Veggies with Parmesan Polenta

    Published May 30, 2019 by
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    Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 45 minutes



    Ingredients:

    For Roasted Summer Veggies:
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1-2 small to medium zucchini
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper

  • For Parmesan Polenta:
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely ground or stone ground cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 heaping cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 tablespoon heavy cream (or milk)
  • Ground black pepper to taste

  • For Serving:
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Garnish: additional shredded Parmesan cheese, additional sprigs of thyme

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Prepare veggies: dice eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Slice zucchini into half moons. Slice bell peppers into strips. Slice red onion into wedges.
    2. Place chopped veggies and cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer. Use two sheet pans if veggies are over-crowding the pan. Drizzle liberally with oil, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme leaves.
    3. Place veggies in oven and roast for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.
    4. When the veggies have 15 minutes left to cook, begin preparing the polenta. Bring 4 cups of water in a pot to a boil. Add salt and garlic.
    5. When water is boiling, add cornmeal, whisking immediately to prevent clumps from forming. After a few minutes, polenta should begin to thicken. Continue whisking, and remove from heat. Continue stirring almost constantly for about 10 minutes.
    6. Add butter, Parmesan cheese, and cream to polenta, stirring to incorporate. Polenta should become thick and creamy, and will continue to set as it cools. Season to taste with pepper.
    7. Serve: scoop polenta into serving bowls, and top with roasted veggies. Sprinkle with pine nuts and parmesan and a garnish with a sprig of thyme. Serve hot.

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