Friday, July 1, 2011

Pasta and Bean Salad

I love to buy cookbooks. I highly doubt that surprises anyone reading this post though. I also love to buy used cookbooks, it feels great to give something discarded new life. One cookbook that I got for a screaming deal used is Complete Vegetarian Kitchen. I saw the title and bought it without reading the one sentence review on the cover ("One of the best vegan cookbooks of all time"). Had I read it was actually vegan instead of vegetarian I probably would have passed it by. At the time I was trying to add some vegetarian dishes to our menus. Vegan was very radical to me - of course it would be, my grandparents raised beef. However, I'm glad I didn't read that sentence until later. Then for a few years this cookbook was tossed around and usually was completely ignored, except for wanting to donate it to the library... Recently I pulled it out and made a list of recipes I wanted to try from it. 

What's Available Bean-and-Grain Salad was at the top of my list. I've now made this 3 times. I love how it has a basics category and optional ingredients. It also gives you the freedom to branch out and get crazy with it. Next time I make this, I may even add chicken. Sounds horrid, right - adding chicken to a vegan recipe. Well I've already defiled this one and added cheese - it's basically impossible to not use cheese when my husband is involved ;). That's what I love about this salad - you can add what fits your lifestyle. The second best thing - it is different every time! I'm going to show you some ingredients and list others, I will be labeling them as a (basic) or (optional) as included in the recipe.
What's Available Bean-and-Grain Salad
Lorna Sass' Complete Vegetarian Kitchen
 First, you'll need cooked beans(basic) - about 2-3 cups. I prefer black beans, but I have added white beans as well. I'd add Kidney beans but I don't really like them, so if you do, feel free. I want to try pinto beans in the future.
 1-2 cups red bell pepper, carrots, celery(all basic - mix and match or use only one). I usually add chopped green onion(optional - red onion works as well -about 1/4 cup) and cheese cubes (my optional and not vegan but I'm a rebel!) as well.
  I usually grate the carrots. I love how it adds a bit of crunch but my toddler can still chew them up.
1/3 cup black olives, capers or chopped sun-dried tomatoes
And of course the pasta(basic) - 2-3 cups. Alternatively, she suggests using any cooked grains.

Optional ingredients:
1-2 cups diced/chopped cooked veggies such as beets, cauliflower, green beans, or broccoli.
1-2 cups cooked corn (I added it straight off the cobb and it was delicious!)
1/4-1 cup minced fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, oregano, cilantro)
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or 1/8 cup sesame seeds, toasted.

Mix all the ingredients you are using together in a bowl and then add some of the following seasonings:
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
Choose one of these:
2-3 Tbsp lemon or lime juice (or a combination of the two)
2-3 tbsp red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or raspberry vinegar.

You can also add a flavor enhancer such as:
Soy sauce.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.


1 comment:

  1. This salad is perfect to take to a potluck summertime barbecue. It's so colorful!

    It is vegetarian week at our online Get Grillin’ event and we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don’t have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway.


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