I love bean salads. They go beyond a typical vegetable-based salad and allow you to make just one dish as a meal since the beans make the salad so satisfying. You can eat it with some good bread, and maybe throw in some soup too. When I make bean salads, I typically cook the beans myself, because buying dried beans is significantly cheaper than buying canned. Canned beans are very convenient, and I still use them on occasion, but cooking beans is not difficult. It’s something that has to be contemplated ahead of time. Typically I use my crock pot to cook beans while I’m away, and I have them ready when I get home on a week night. I plan to do a post soon about how to cook beans, because it’s a basic, useful skill, but not entirely intuitive if you’ve never done it before. This recipe is a favorite of mine, but think of it as a template and not an inflexible recipe. The beans can be white navy beans, like I use here, chickpeas, black beans, or whatever you have or want to use. The vegetables are flexible as well, just as with any salad. I like to add large amounts of fresh herbs to my salads. Anytime I see a recipe that calls for just a few teaspoons or tablespoons of chopped herbs, I almost always increase that amount several time.
1 1/2-2 cups cooked white navy beans or cannelini beans, or 1 can of beans, drained and rinsed
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/3-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 T red or white wine vinegar
2 T dijon mustard
2/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped finely
Drizzle of honey or 1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper
Combine the salad ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the dressing ingredients to a small or medium bowl and whisk until well-combined. You can also use a blender to make the dressing. Stir the dressing into the salad, and stir until well-combined. Taste, and add salt if necessary. Serve immediately or refrigerate to allow the salad to marinate and flavors to combine.