cranberry bean + ribboned zucchini salad


this salad was totally meant to be made as a traditional salad, meaning with some sort of leafy green tossed in there.  however, a few weeks i had dental work done, not knowing i would not be able to chew so well, i had gone to the famers' market a few days prior and picked up some zucchini and summer squash.  without wanting my beautiful, first-of-the-season squashes to go to waste, i thought about what i could do with them.  zucchini-squash pasta? some sort of saute? perhaps a zucchini pancake? then i thought about them in a salad, ribboned with herbs.  as i started picking my herbs from my (fire escape) garden i thought how amazing a herby-chimichurri vinaigrette would be - i would use red wine vinegar instead of lemon juice, add some crushed red pepper for a little heat, and i would toast some nuts for a more substantial dressing that would hold up next to the ribbons of squash.  i thought i was finished dreaming up this little creation until i looked in the refrigerator and saw some leftover black lotus rice.  in it went, and delicious it was!  this time around i wanted the dish to be solid enough for a meal on its own.  so when i saw these absolutely gorgeous cranberry beans i quickly scooped them up, took them home, and added them for some hearty protein.  

this has become a quick and easy summer meal, as well as a plentiful side dish for us.  plus it can be refrigerated and eaten throughout the week.  serve it cold or room temperature, this salad of sorts lends itself to picnics, a day at the beach, or just a night at home.  i paired the beans and zucchini with black rice.  however, any grain will work wonderfully here, whether you prefer another type of rice, quinoa, or farro.  as for bean substitutions, i could see chickpeas or fava beans being just as good.  

 


cranberry bean + ribboned zucchini salad

| serves 6

4 medium zucchinis (or 2 large), washed, trimmed, and ribboned 

1/2 pound fresh cranberry beans (8 ounces), shelled

1/4 cup red onion, minced

1 cup black rice, cooked

1 ripe avocado, sliced

3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted 

1 tablespoon cilantro, julienned

1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons packed fresh basil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme

1/2 clove garlic

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

one pinch fine grain sea salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

instructions

make the beans and rice

  • in a saucepan, combine 1 cup black rice with 2 cups water.  bring to a boil, turn to low and cover the pot.  cook for 25-30 minutes.  let rest and cool
  • in a medium saucepan, cover the beans with water.  bring to a boil, turn down heat to a simmer; cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the freshness of your beans.  drain, season with salt and pepper.  set aside

make the vinaigrette

  • in a food processor, combine the herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper, pine nuts, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.  blend the ingredients, scraping down the sides until combined

make the salad

  • in a large serving bowl, combine the chopped red onion and rice, taste and season with salt and pepper.  add zucchini ribbons, beans, and avocado; toss gently with the vinaigrette.  garnish with cilantro and pine nuts

enjoy

 

 

  •