Sometimes it surprises me how often legumes appear on our table. Like most of my ingredients, I don't purposely set out to use them over, say, a steak. What I've come to realize is I like how easy they are to deal with, how inexpensive they are to buy, and how delicious the recipes end up being.
What has shocked me, at least in terms of legume based revelations, is the realization that I'm just as happy with a great bean salad as I am with a t-bone steak. I know, for a lot of people that's sacrilege! I'm not a vegetarian or vegan by a long shot, and I doubt I ever will be, but I do really appreciate the message that's behind a lot of vegan and vegetarian blogs: if you have a great recipe and execute it well - you won't miss the meat.
That's the biggest lesson I've learned from my Vegan Mondays with Kat. We try a ton of stuff that I would have considered weird in my past life, but in the end we (almost always) produce a delicious meal. How can you possibly miss meat when you've eaten until bursting and had your taste buds excited?
And so, I find myself cooking less and less meat, not out of a conscious choice, but more because there are other recipes I long to try. For reasons not entirely known to me, I keep coming back to bean salads.
This recipe is loosely riffed off of one of Mark Bittman's, though his proportions produce a salad that I find a bit too dry (my husband thought it was perfect, but he's not the one cooking it). I wanted to beef the whole thing up with more herbs as well.
I brought this for lunch twice last week and was very sad when I ran out.
Broiled Bean Salad
(adapted from Mark Bittman)
1 tbsp oil, divided
½ lb green or wax beans, topped & tailed and cut into 1" lengths
1 14oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
½ shallot, thinly sliced
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Turn on the broiler of your oven. Place a rack approximately 5" below it. (You may wish to do this in the reverse order, if you'd prefer to handle a cool rack!)
2. On a baking sheet toss green beans with ½ tbsp of the olive oil. Place under the broiler, and broil for 7 minutes, tossing half way through until the beans have patches of dark brown. Place into a large bowl.
3. Using the same baking sheet, toss chickpeas together with remaining olive oil and broil for 5-8 minutes, again, tossing to brown halfway through the cooking time. Pour into the bowl with the green beans.
4. While beans are cooling slightly, mix together sliced shallots, minced garlic, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over still warm (but not pipping hot) beans and toss to coat. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour so the flavours have a chance to meld. You can store the salad in the fridge for a few days at this point. Toss with herbs right before serving.