When the weather begins to warm up, it’s time to lean on interesting salads. This year, our farmers at the CSA are delivering truly excellent produce in great variety. For this warm weekend, I wanted to make a bowl of a vegetable-forward salad – but not in a huge quantity. This was inspired by a salad posted by Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen, which in turn was inspired from another source (see? recipes come from all sorts of places, and cooks love to riff on the inspiration of the moment.) Here’s a lovely bean and roasted pepper salad as a small batch: something that’s good on its own, can take a lot of variation, and, I promise, won’t take over your refrigerator all week long.
You might serve this salad as is, or spoon it onto a pile of fresh spinach or arugula. It’s an extremely portable dish: you could pack some into a jar or two as part of a fine picnic. If you wish to bring it to a pot-luck, or serve a crowd, it scales up nicely: the Smitten Kitchen version is triple the size.
While you could use roasted peppers from a jar, in a pinch, I do prefer the flavor that comes from roasting my own pepper. Look for bell peppers of interesting colors in your market: some are “flame”, having all shades of yellow, orange, and red in a single pepper. And do remember that bean salads are entirely flexible: the version in the photo used salad (hakurei) turnips and thin-sliced fennel bulbs, but you might choose to take it in another direction with celery, slivered red onion, and bits of salami. Use what you have, use what appeals to you; this bean and roasted pepper salad is a fine place to start.
Small-batch Bean and Roasted Pepper Salad
- 1 large bell pepper, red, orange, or yellow
- 1 15-oz can white cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 tsp sherry vinegar
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh herbs, chopped – or use ½ tsp dried
- 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- up to 1 cup vegetables of your choice slivered or chopepd
First, roast the pepper
- Heat the broiler, and put the pepper on a rimmed quarter sheet pan and broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides: 8-10 minutes. Alternatively, you could char the peppers on a grill. Set the peppers aside until they are cool enough to handle.
Mix the salad
- In a medium bowl, combine the drained beans. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, break them open over the beans and let the pepper juices run out. Pull the cores and seeds from the peppers, remove all the charred skin, and then cut the peppers into strips or chop them roughly.
- Mince garlic with the ½ teaspoon salt and any fresh herbs you wish to use. If you don't have fresh herbs, dried will work: for this day, I used ½ teaspoon oregano. Add this to the beans in the bowl, and then drizzle oil and vinegar over everything. If you have a lemon half around the kitchen, give it a squeeze; fresh lemon juice is excellent here. Add the salt, pepper, and chopped parsley. Toss it well to combine everything.
- Now's the time to add some crunch and tasty interest. You'll want up to one cup of vegetable add-ins. In this version, I slivered two little salad (hakurei) turnips, and sliced some fresh fennel root. You might consider: thinly sliced celery, radishes, or red onion. Add the vegetables to the bowl, and stir it thoroughly to combine.
- While you could serve the salad immediately, it's better after marinating for an hour or two.
- Keep the salad in the refrigerator, covered tightly, for 4-5 days.