As summer draws to a close, and the darker, colder days are on the horizon, tuck yourself into a healthy and colourful salad to keep the spirits high! Less of the summery cucumber and lettuce, more of the wholesome bean. When it starts to get colder outside, and soup season is just round the corner (nearly Christmas!) it is so much easier to just reach for the ‘comforting’ foods. I find that making a big batch of this bright bean salad keeps the hunger pangs, and therefore the temptation, at bay.
In the summer, Liam and I had a barbeque with our parents (where they met for the first time!), and we made a lovely, fresh pearl barley salad and a Moroccan-style couscous salad, inspired by salads I’d seen in the shops. It is incredible how easy it is to make some of the items off the supermarket shelf. I have become a bit of a homemade-food freak as of late. I even asked Liam if I had become the fun police (he said no, and that it is good I have principles!). I just don’t like knowing I am eating all of the preservatives off the shelf, that I could avoid by making food at home. (Told you, fun police.)
This mixed bean salad is a supermarket-salad inspired recipe, where I just worked out the best ratios of the key ingredients and mixed them to create a side/snack that tastes all fresh and light, but is actually nice and filling. I use tinned, cooked beans for this salad, and while you could go the whole hog and cook the beans yourself, it would take a lot of time and effort for something that really should be quick and easy. I can still compromise!
Since moving into our house, I planted the herbs out in bigger pots in the garden, where they have flourished (apart from Greek basil, whom I sincerely apologise to for all the months of neglect on the windowsill). The mint and parsley grow like crazy now, which is great because I needed a big handful of each for the salad. Having fresh herbs growing in the garden draws more appeal to making this mixed bean salad myself too, as the cost comes to less than buying the equivalent from a supermarket.
Both me and Liam eat this as a snack during our day at work (I eat mine mid-morning to fuel me until a later lunch!). As veggies, we sometimes find ourselves lacking in protein-rich meals, so we added this to our day to up our intake. If you split the salad into 6, each serving contains roughly 10g of protein. It’s all win, win, win!
1 can mixed beans/pulses, rinsed and drained
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can borlotti beans, rinsed and drained
1 large handful fresh mint, washed and finely chopped
1 large handful fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and finely chopped
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Optional (but well worth it):
1 large red pepper, finely diced
100g frozen sweetcorn
1. If using, cook the sweetcorn in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes. Once cooked, run under cold water in a sieve.
2. Mix the cooked sweetcorn with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and season generously.
3. Chill in the fridge in a sealed tub (it will keep for a while – I’ve gone up to 4 days, it will probably last a bit longer).
Well, that was easy!
I hope you enjoy all that autumn brings!