Friday, July 17, 2009

Too Good to be Salad?

OK, so some of you may say salad can always be good, and I agree! It's just that I often still associate salads with iceberg lettuce and a couple of limp tomatoes. Possibly because the typical U.S. (and of course many other) restaurants will offer something green in the form of a) a thin sheath of lettuce under a bun, bread and a 1/2 lb. of meat or b) as a small accompaniment to some other protein and potatoes. In any case, I recall that I used to eat the latter covered with something called French dressing (read: mayo).

Of course I've caught up with hopefully the rest of the universe in understanding that anything can be incorporated into a great salad! It doesn't even have to be cold; my favorite whole grain dish to make, passed to me by two good friends, is the Red Rice Salad from Heather's 101 Cookbooks. Since I've been in Switzerland, I've really been using vegetables that were fairly obscure to me half a year ago such as fennel and different species of cabbage :) Tonight I made a really f-in awesome borlotti bean salad and had to share that as well!

Zucchini Bean Salad with Basil-Avocado Dressing

1/2 cup dried white beans (I used borlotti)
1 small shallot
1 T olive oil
1/4 t sugar
1/4 t salt
1/2 zucchini/cucumber, julienned
1/2 cup of shredded carrots

1/2 avocado
1-2 T fresh basil
1 small garlic clove
1 T lemon juice
1 T tahini
1 t apple cider vinegar
salt to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup of water

  • Soak the beans in water at least 4 hours or overnight. Rinse and then place in a saucepan with the olive oil, shallot (chopped), sugar, salt and enough water to cover and cook until water is nearly evaporated, about 45 minutes to an hour. Don't overcook as you want the beans to remain firm! Chill in the refrigerator.

  • Chop the zucchini/cucumber (I julienned mine but whatever you prefer) and shred carrots - or use pre-shredded - and chill with the beans.

  • Peel the avocado and cut into slices (if not ripe) before adding to a food processor or blender.

  • Add remaining ingredients - the basil, garlic, lemon juice, tahini, apple cider vinegar, salt and water and blend until you have the consistency of dressing. Add more water if needed.

  • In a large bowl combine the beans, zucchini, and carrots with the basil-avocado dressing and toss to coat. Add more veggies if you end up with more dressing.

  • Try to stop eating from this bowl. I seriously had to put half of it away immediately, it was SO good.

Voilá! This salad as proportioned makes 2 generous side portions. The beans are yum and filling, and the dressing is creamy while maintaining the integrity of the avocado. Also no mayo or oil. The next day I had some with a slice of socca (chickpea crepe)....Enjoy!!! ~c*x

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