Spill the beans into summer salads Canned legumes, uncannily versatile

August 11, 1993|By Eating Well Magazine United Feature Syndicate

The first thing that makes bean salads irresistible on hot summer days is that you can avoid the long, slow simmer by

simply using a can opener.

Precooked canned beans may not seem a fashionable start to a recipe, but when tossed with crisp vegetables and lots of herbs the result is delicious. All canned beans require is a quick rinse in a sieve to wash away the salt that canning companies love to add.

There are other good reasons for favoring these bean salads. Consider the economics of bean nutrition: Two cans of beans, yielding a salad that serves four, cost less than $2. That small sum buys complex carbohydrates, assorted vitamins, iron and other minerals. And beans, of course, are a low-fat source of protein.

With a main ingredient this inexpensive, you can splurge on the rest of the salad fixings. Really good extra-virgin olive oil is essential. Fresh herbs, an assortment of chilies and other indulgences can be budgeted into a bean salad.

Most of these recipes are at their best when well-chilled, after all the flavors have blended. But for the sake of simplicity, they can be served at room temperature.

You might also keep a few cans of beans in the refrigerator for when a speedy, cold salad is in order.

Barbecued bean salad

Serves 6 as a side dish

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably canola

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and very finely chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon Creole or whole-grain mustard

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons defatted reduced-sodium chicken stock

2 15-ounce cans navy beans, drained and rinsed

1 small cucumber, finely diced

2 scallions, trimmed and chopped

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a heavy saucepan, warm 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onions, jalapeno and garlic and saute about 2 minutes, or until softened but not browned. Stir in maple syrup, tomato paste, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and 1/3 cup vinegar. Simmer, stirring often, about 15 minutes, or until thickened. Let cool. Stir in the remaining 1/3 cup vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil and chicken stock.

In a large bowl, combine beans, cucumbers and scallions. Pour the vinegar mixture over and toss until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 259 calories, 12 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 229 milligrams sodium, no cholesterol

Black bean salad with chilies

Serves 6 as a side dish

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed

6 scallions, green part only, thinly sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

1 small yellow or red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2& 1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and

finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup sherry vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably canola

2 tablespoons defatted reduced-sodium chicken stock

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine beans, scallions, cherry tomatoes, yellow or red peppers, jalapeno and serrano chilies and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, oil, chicken stock, mustard, cumin and oregano. Pour over the bean mixture and toss until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 254 calories, 14 grams protein, 6 grams fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 18 milligrams sodium, no cholesterol

Chickpea, tuna and red pepper salad

Serves 4

1 large red bell pepper

2 19-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 6 1/2 -ounce can water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, preferably Italian

1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed

L 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoon defatted reduced-sodium chicken stock

1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably extra-virgin

salt, freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place red pepper directly over a gas burner and roast, turning frequently, about 10 minutes, or until blackened and blistered all over. Alternatively, broil or grill it about 4 inches from the heat, turning frequently, about 15 minutes. Place in a paper bag and set aside for 15 minutes. Peel off skin, discard seeds and membrane and rinse under cold water. Dice and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tuna, onions, parsley, capers, rosemary and the reserved peppers. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, chicken stock and oil. Pour over the chickpea mixture and toss until well-coated. Season with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 369 calories, 24 grams protein, 9 grams fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, 566 milligrams sodium, no cholesterol

Red bean and rice salad

Serves 4

6 sun-dried tomatoes

1 15-ounce can red kidney or adzuki beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 small cucumber, finely diced

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

1/3 cup finely chopped celery

2 ounce smoked turkey, diced

3 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil, preferably extra-virgin

2 teaspoons Creole or other whole-grain mustard

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

pinch cayenne

salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place sun-dried tomatoes in a steamer set over boiling water. Cover and steam until tender, about 5 minutes. Pat dry and chop finely. In a large bowl, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, beans, rice, cucumbers, red peppers, celery, smoked turkey and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, thyme and cayenne. Pour over the bean mixture and toss until all ingredients are coated. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Per serving: 239 calories, 13 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 411 milligrams sodium, 10 milligrams cholesterol

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