(Photo by Dayna Smith for The Washington Post)
Black and White Bean Primavera Salad
(Makes 4 ½ to 5 cups, 6 to 8 servings)
I’m in love with anything done primavera style, by which I mean lots of vegetables and herbs. In this salad, I take white and black beans and combine them with a mixture of carrots, onions, bell peppers, zucchini and peas that have been cooked, but just until they lose their raw qualities. The flavors of vegetables are released and they retain some texture. Then I toss the beans and vegetables with chopped herbs and a light dressing of sherry vinegar and olive oil. Every bite has a delicious combination of herbs, beans and vegetables. Since all the ingredients have plenty of flavor, especially with the trio of dill, parsley and chives added, I’m able to keep the dressing to a minimum.
The salad looks as good as it taste. It can be made a day or two ahead of time (ideally brought to room temperature before serving) and goes with the usual grilled or broiled meats, seafood and poultry. To make it work as an entrée for lunch or a light supper, add bite-size pieces of cooked chicken, shrimp or pork.
The vegetables are a suggestion. You can mix and match your own favorites. You can use any combination of herbs, but don’t leave them out. They add the fresh bright flavors that complete the dish
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup finely diced onion (2 ounces, 1 small)
½ cup diced red, yellow or orange bell pepper (about ½ of a large pepper)
1 medium carrot, cut into ¼- to ½-inch cubes (about 2 ounces)
1 medium zucchini or yellow summer squash, cut into ¼- to ½-inch cubes)
1/3 cup frozen petite or small peas, defrosted
¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups cooked black beans
1½ cups cooked small white beans or Navy beans
¼ cup finely chopped combination of fresh parsley, dill and chives or herbs of your choice.
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or mild red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ teaspoon sugar
Heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the diced onion and bell pepper and reduce heat to medium so the vegetables cook but do not brown. Stir and let cook until the onions starts to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the carrot and let cook for 2 to 3 minutes, and then add the zucchini and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring, until the zucchini and carrot lose their raw look and are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
In a large bowl, combine the still warm vegetables with the black and white beans and the herbs. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, pepper to taste, sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of the remaining salt. Add the dressing to the salad and stir to combine. Taste and add additional salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately or refrigerate until desired, 2 to 3 days, bringing to room temperature before serving.
About Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
Stephanie Witt Sedgwick is a recipe developer and writer. A graduate of theCulinary Institute of America, She served as a food editor at the Washington Post and written extensively for their Food section.