3-Bean Salad

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One of my best friends has been following a vegan diet for the past few months and claims she has never felt better. I eat vegetarian accidentally all the time and have tried eating vegan once before. There is a ton of information out there about the benefits of veganism, so I thought I’d challenge my self to eat plant based last week. I prepped some delicious overnight oats, and this delicious 3-bean salad, but dinner got away from me when I ended up at a new Dallas hot spot and dove into enchiladas completely forgetting about my “vegan” diet. OOPS!

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Anyway, back to this salad. I love beans, but I feel like they can get a bad rap. For vegans and vegetarians, beans are an incredible source of protein. Even for meat eaters, I think we should all love a bean now and then. There was a little sandwich spot at OU that my friends and I loved to go to. I’d almost always order a 1/2 sandwich and salad combo with my salad choice being their 3-bean salad. It wasn’t a popular opinion amongst my fellow 20 year olds, but I loved the kidney bean, green bean and chickpea salad they served.

I’m going down a rabbit hole and I’m not surprised if I lost you, but if you are still here, I’m basically just here to tell you that this 3-bean salad is great. Great for lunch balanced with some berries or apple on the side, would be great as a side at a barbecue or could even make a great dip with Fritos or tortilla chips kind of like a Texas Caviar situation.

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3-Bean Salad
yields about 4, 1 cup servings

Ingredients:
1 -15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1-15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, cubed
2-3 Tbsps. olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste (I use a decent amount)

In a large mixing bowl add first six ingredients. If serving immediately add avocado. If serving later, wait to add avocado until time to eat. Add in olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Serve as an entree with fruit, a side dish or with chips for a dip!

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Will stay good for 5-7 days (without avocado). I take this salad as lunch and divide amongst 4 of my favorite jars and take 1/4 of an avocado with me to add day of right before I eat.

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Annie

Lite Bite: Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad

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Summer BBQ, party or potluck? Look no further than this recipe. I have a thing for watermelon feta salads because I actually already have two (here and here) recipes on my site, but this one. THIS ONE!!

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Watermelon & Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ingredients:
1/2 medium seedless watermelon, cut into small cubes
16 oz mini heirloom tomatoes (found at Trader Joe's), sliced in half
8 oz feta cheese block, cut into small cubes
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
flakey salt and fresh crackd pepper
small bunch of fresh basil

Directions:
In a large bowl gently toss cubed watermelon, cubed feta and sliced mini tomatoes. Drizzle over olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Not too much, you can always add more later. Sprinkle with fresh cracked black pepper and maldon salt if you have it. Any flakey salt will do. Tear the basil over the top. Tear instead of cut. Tearing will lend to better overall flavor and not brown the basil! Toss gently again and sprinkle a bit more salt, pepper and basil over the top to serve!

P.S. this makes great leftovers and is wonderful paired with grilled chicken (seen below).

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Italian Chopped Salad

Recipe posts are BACK! After a two and half month hiatus, I come back with a recipe for non other than...a salad. This chick loves a good salad though, so be it.

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I used to eat wimpy, non-protein, rabbit food salads. That just won't cut it now. I'm not sure if I'm still growing or that I'm working out more, but I want all the protein, healthy fats and goodies in my salads. With sliced salami, salty artichokes and kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes and protein packed chickpeas, I'm crushing on this Italian Chopped salad! 

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Once you marinate the chickpeas and artichokes the rest of this salad comes together in under 10 minutes. Serve it as a hearty main salad or divide amongst your friends and fam with grilled chicken or fish as a side! Skip to the bottom to see how I stretched this salad out over a week to eat for lunches. 

Italian Chopped Salad adapted from Foodie Crush
serves 2 as a main, 4-6 as a side*

Ingredients: 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. salt
14 tsp. pepper
1, 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1, 14 oz can plain artichoke hearts
4 cups chopped romain lettuce (2 large romaine hearts)
8-10 oz cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup kalamata olives
4 oz salami, sliced into strips
Maldon salt, to finish

Directions:
In a small bowl or mason jar, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, dried thyme, salt and black pepper. Shake or whisk to mix. 

Drain and rinse your can of chickpeas. Pat dry then place in a medium bowl. Drain your can of artichokes and chop into quarters, then add to the chickpeas. Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing on the chickpeas and artichokes to marinated for 30 minutes. Reserve the rest of the dressing for later.

Add the chopped romaine to a large bowl. Add your tomatoes, olives, and sliced salami. Add the chickpeas and artichokes in the dressing to the lettuce mixture. Pour the reserved dressing over the salad then toss to coat. Sprinkle over some Maldon salt and fresh cracked pepper to finish.

*I have been eating this all week for lunch. To preserve the lettuce, keep each component in separate Ziplocks and Tupperware, including the dressing. Each morning I toss it all together with a drizzle of dressing and it is still fresh at lunch time! I got 4 days of salad from this recipe. 

Annie

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Basil Vinaigrette

Hello May, hello summer food. It's not quite summer yet, but I am diving in to colorful food. I love indulging in seasonal dishes and this salad 100% fits the bill for the current season. 

The avocado and grapefruit combination is delicious, but the star of the show is the basil vinaigrette. The recipe comes from Gaby at What's Gaby Cooking. I've made this a few times and every time I'm reminded that I should make it more. It's amazing as a salad dressing, but also so good over fish, chicken, in replace of pesto, as a marinade, basically anything. I used it as a pizza sauce, so stay tuned for more on that. 

I've been making this salad for lunches and just keeping all of the components sliced and prepped in the fridge so I can toss it all together fresh once lunch time comes. Although, this salad would be great with salmon added to make it more filling or as a side with grilled meats or burgers. 

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad
yields 3-4 servings

Ingredients:
1 large grapefruit
1 large hass avocado
5 oz mixed green or spring green lettuce
3 green onions, whites and greens, thinly sliced
Basil Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Maldon salt

Directions:
Using a small sharp knife, peel your grapefruit. Start from the top and peel down as if you were going from the North to South Pole. Then slice thin rings and then cut each ring into fourths so you get triangular shapes. Then cut your avocado in half short ways. Remove the pit and slice into rings like you did the grapefruit, and then in half. Once your components are all sliced and ready it's time to assembly.

In a large bowl add your greens. Top with your grapefruit segments, avocado slices and green onions. Drizzle over a good portion of the basil vinaigrette. With two large spoons toss until the vinaigrette is incorporated. Top with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and enjoy! 

Basil Vinaigrette original recipe from What's Gaby Cooking 
yields ~1 cup

Ingredients: 
1 shallot, roughly chopped
2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed (about 4 ounces)
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender and until smooth. It will be a little thiner than pesto. Store in a mason jar or sealed tight container. Vinaigrette will stay good for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Serve as a salad dressing, spread on pizza, sandwiches, and wraps or over pasta in replace of pesto. Also great as a marinade for fish or drizzled over the top. 

Annie

Acorn Squash Salad Bowl

I love food out of a bowl. Back in college in the Kappa house, I would always forgo the large dinner plates and pile all of my food into 2 to 3 of our little cereal bowls. I'd be sitting in the dining room with bowls on bowls in front of me, strange but go with it. Salad in a bowl vs. a plate, so much better. Casserole, loaded sweet potato, pasta, meat and roasted veggies etc. in a bowl, it's just better.

When I was younger I hated my food to touch. But now I love getting bite of each part of the meal in one bite. And a bowl is the vessel to assist with that. 

With this recipe, acorn squash becomes your bowl. Save yourself from having to wash an extra dish. We are taking roasted acorn squash and filling it with salad full of wintery ingredients. This is great for lunch, a light dinner of could be great as a side dish with some protein. It's just pretty enough to be a side for your Christmas dinner!

Acorn Squash Salad Bowl
yields 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 medium size acorn squash
2 handfuls spring green mix
pecans, chopped
pomegranate arils
feta cheese
s&p

Balsamic Dressing:
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. dijon mustard
s&p to taste

Directions:
Cook your squash to your preference. If you are reading this ahead of time, use your crock-pot! First cut the pointy edge off each end so it has a flat surface to stand on. Then cut in half, scoop out seeds, wrap in foil and place in the crock-pot on low to cook for 6-8 hours (perfect way to cook sweet potatoes too). If you don't have that kind of time on your hand, cut edges off, cut in half, scoop out seeds, drizzle with olive oil, s&p, and roast skin side up at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

Combine your dressing ingredients in a small mason jar or bowl and shake/whisk to combine. In a mixing bowl, add two large handfuls of spring mix, chopped pecans, pomegranate arils and feta. Just eye ball your ingredients and add as more or less as you want. Sprinkle in a little extra salt and pepper. Toss everything with your dressing, starting light and add more as you please. (Sorry these measurements are haphazard, but that's the beauty of a salad).

Fill the cavity of your acorn squash with a serving of salad. Dig in by scraping up a bit of squash with each bite of salad mix.

Want more ways to use acorn squash? Take a bite here and here.

Annie