A simple salad with soft white lima beans, drizzled in red wine vinegar and fresh mint leaves, and tossed with tuna. Prepare the night ahead for a quick and easy lunch.
What’s an ingredient used in nearly every cultures cuisine that’s cheap, hearty and can adapt to any flavor it blends with? Beans. This week I took the lima bean, showered it in fresh herbs, red wine vinegar and coupled it with tuna. Since the nomads, beans have played a fundamental role in many poor countries cuisine as a staple food because of its unrivaled ability to pack in essential protein and fiber per meal, all while being extremely cheap. The Italians have ribollita, while the Hispanics have pinto beans with rice. Today, we are taking the universal staple, adding a few simple ingredients to create a quick modern meal.
There are a few ways to make this but if you have a bit more time on your hands, soak the beans overnight and boil them the next day with fresh vegetables – allowing the beans to absorb the subtleties of the vegetables. If you are pressed for time, make this painstakingly easy and use jarred beans. The red wine vinegar and mint leaves brings an air of lightness to the dish, reminiscent of a fresh summer meal. White beans are naturally more delicate than the heartier brown or black. Toss in tuna for a satisfying bite that compliments an otherwise light dish.
Use beans as they are made for: enjoyed in bulk. I love making large batches of this recipe during the week. This approach always leaves me with a few great lunches ready for the week ahead. This dish is one for the books – nourishing, simple, delicious and most of all, cheap. And we all need a little of that from time to time.
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 5 minutes | Soak Time: 9 hours (if using dried)
Ingredients for the White Bean Salad with Tuna:
- 2 cups dried white lima beans or 5-6 cans of cooked beans
- 4 celery stocks (2 for broth + 2 fresh for salad)
- 2 carrots
- 1/2 small onion
- 2 small cans of tuna
- 1/3 fresh mint
- 1/3 fresh parsley
- 1/3 fresh green onion
- 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- sea salt to taste
Dried Bean Version: Soak the beans overnight in a bowl of water that covers the beans 3 inches high – the beans will absorb the water and expand. In the morning, drain and rinse the beans. Add them to a large pot of boiling water that covers the beans 2 inches high. Do not add salt – salt will make the beans tough. As the water comes to a boil, with the beans inside, add the chopped carrots, onion (large slices) and 2 celery stocks. Lower the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 45 minutes until the beans become tender.
Once the beans are cooked, drain and discard the boiled vegetables. Add the beans to a large serving bowl and top with the fresh herbs, 2 thinly chopped celery stocks, sea salt and red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mix in the tuna and enjoy!
Cooked Bean version: Simply drain and rinse the canned beans. Then mix in all the fresh herbs, dressing, sea salt, 2 thinly chopped celery stocks and tuna. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this simple meal as a light lunch or dinner! Would love to know how you use the good old bean in your lunch or dinners recipes - comment below to share.
Ps if anyone is wondering those photos are from this past summer in Copenhagen :)