For over twenty years I was the vegetarian who didn’t like beans. It was a texture and taste thing, mostly a texture thing. So I found ways to disguise them: crunchy, roasted chickpeas became a favorite snack, followed by white bean dip.
As it’s important to vegetarians to consider iron-rich foods, I have been on a quest for more enjoyable bean recipes. I have two stellar recipes to share—the Tuscan Beans in next week’s post is unforgettable. Both are best enjoyed with fresh grilled bread, which makes such inexpensive dishes a dash more decadent. This lunch manages to be an elegant 5-minute meal as simple as it gets: bread and beans.
Mixed Bean and Parsley Salad
from Cooking After Five, serves 4, or 2 with leftovers
2 cans chickpeas, drained
2 cans canellini beans, drained
1 cup parsley, lightly packed, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced (on your microplane)
Juice of 1 lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
In a large bowl, combine beans, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and a couple splashes of extra-virgin olive oil. Toss to combine and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Grate enough cheese so it looks like a mound of snow, about 1/2 cup, then toss. Taste. Serve with grilled bread.
For grilled bread:
Slice a fresh loaf (cheese or herbed bread is extra fun) into one-inch pieces. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and grill over medium heat. If you don’t have a grill, place the oiled slices on a flat baking sheet and grill under the broiler until golden brown. With tongs, turn the slices and brown the second side. For fun, rub a halved garlic clove over each hot slice—it adds a special, tangy touch.
Note: Parsley has a grassy flavor not everyone prefers. Chives, basil, or a combination of fresh herbs would be a fantastic substitute for the parsley here. Basil and white beans are a wonderful combination.