Bean Salad for a Hot Day (make-ahead recipe)

A couple of friends of mine just had their first child and I did the traditional thing of swinging by with a casserole so that they’d have one less thing to think about while dealing with the lack of sleep and general exhaustion that comes with having a newborn.

In this case, I did a salad because, hey, it’s summer. Hot food is over-rated and veggies make everything better. πŸ™‚

So I’m posting the recipe here.
It’s a “make it the day before” kind of recipe, just so you know.

NOTE: While I didn’t aim for local/seasonal with this recipe, most of the ingredients were “product of Canada” and grown in hothouses in Ontario or Quebec. Lucky me! πŸ˜€

~*~

INGREDIENTS
2 C couscous[1] + boiling water to cover
1 tin of black beans, drained and very well-rinsed
6-8 miniature cucumbers, diced (Lebanese work well, I used hydroponic ones)
1 orange bell pepper, diced (hothouse)
1 red bell pepper, diced (hothouse)
1/4 C pumpkin seeds
2 scallions, diced
1 C roughly shredded dill
1 C roughly shredded cilantro
1/4 C balsamic vinegar

Optional:
6 cocktail tomatoes, cut into eighths OR 20-30 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 C plain yoghurt (thick, Greek- or Balkan-style yoghurt is great!)

DIRECTIONS

1a) Place the couscous and the boiling water in a VERY large mixing bowl (no, not that one, the really big one).
1b) Cover and allow to sit for ten minutes while you prep the other ingredients.

2) Empty the tin of beans into a sieve and rinse under running water (or by swishing the sieve around in a cold-water bath, if you’d rather not have everything run down the drain) in order to get all the tin-goop off of them (they will be gross, otherwise, fyi)

3) Wash and chop the veggies and herbs

4) Uncover the couscous and stir it around a little bit. All the water should have been absorbed and the couscous should be nicely chewy (AKA not crunchy or hard, but also not soggy or seriously mushy)

5) Add the rinsed beans, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinegar to the couscous and mix lightly until everything is well integrated.

6) Add the chopped veggies, more or less one cup at a time, continuing to mix lightly in order to distribute everything well.

7) Add the herbs and mix well to integrate. (You are aiming for a colourful, veggie-tastic salad that is held together by couscous. So you don’t want there to be a layer of unadulterated couscous on the bottom of the mix. This is why you need such a big bowl).

8) Cover the bowl and let it sit in the fridge over night (or at least for a few hours. You could make this in the morning, too).

9) Just before serving, add the plain yoghurt and mix it well. The yoghurt is there in lieu of a different kind of salad dressing[2] and keeps the salad from being too dry. You add it right before serving so that you don’t end up with the opposite problem of liquid collecting in the bottom of the bowl and everything ending up soggy.

10) Serve and enjoy. πŸ˜€

~*~

Goes well with ginger beer, white wine, peppermint iced tea, and other summer patio drinks.
Also works as a side-dish and can be stuffed into pitas or seaweed/lettuce wraps if desired.

TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden. πŸ™‚

[1] You could also use pre-cooked millet or amaranth if you don’t do gluten. If that’s the case, start the directions at Step Two (and skip Step Four).

[2] If you’re vegan, you could do a creamy seed-butter-based dressing like one of these instead.

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