Balanced Living

What About a Nice Bean Salad?

Posted by Arja on June 22 in Salads

The warm weather is here and with this heat wave we’ve been experiencing in Southern Ontario I’m pretty sure most of us are looking for cooler, lighter fare, or things that can be cooked outdoors.  With most farmers’ markets up and running now it’s getting easier to find fresh, local produce that can easily be grilled, or used raw and added to salads.  This is definitely the time of year when food tastes best!

Even though we know that they’re really good for us, most people struggle to incorporate beans into their diet on a regular basis.  There’s most to life than just chili and hummus, and the delicious combination of flavours in this dish will definitely keep you coming back for more! 

Don’t let the humble ingredients fool you, as they’re full of all sorts of goodness!

Beans – legumes contain fibre, important nutrients and phytochemicals which have been shown to lower cholesterol, improve blood glucose control (important for diabetics), and reduce the risk of many cancers.  They’re also a great source of protein and, when combined with grains, form a complete protein making them a terrific choice for vegetarian meals.  The common beans (kidney, lima, navy, mung, pinto, and string) are a source of antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin B6, and magnesium.  Folic Acid and B6 contribute to a process that can lower the risk for heart disease.

Bell Peppers – Low in calories, but high in nutrients, sweet peppers are one of the most nutrient dense foods out there!  They contain powerful antioxidants and are a great source of vitamin C, and beta-carotene. The nutrients in bell peppers have been shown to prevent blood clot formation, reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke, and lower cholesterol levels.  Studies have also shown that they have a protective effect against cataracts.

Zucchini – Summer squash has a high water content making it a great hydrating addition to a summer diet!  They’re a good source of potassium, carotenes, and vitamin C and exert some pretty powerful anticancer effects.

Garlic – An ancient medicinal plant, garlic has so many therapeutic qualities that I’d basically need to devote an entire post to them!  Garlic protects against heart disease and atherosclerosis lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels.  It’s also commonly used to fight infections because of its powerful antibacterial qualities.

Tomatoes – Another low-calorie, nutrient packed vegetable, tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, carotenes (especially lycopene), fibre, and other nutrients.  Lycopene has received a fair bit of press recently for being protective against some cancers, particularly prostate, lung, colon, and breast cancer.  It protects the eyes, and lowers the risk for heart disease.  Cooking makes the lycopene more available to the body, but don’t let that stop you from eating them raw too!

This dish is filling enough to eat on its own, but also makes a delicious side dish for some simple grilled meat.  The leftovers are great for lunch the next day!  Mix it up and add whatever veggies you find in season.  Grill them on the BBQ or roast them in the oven.

Bean & Goat Cheese Toss

For the salad:
1 ½ cups dried beans (navy, cannellini, etc.) or 2 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed
1 each yellow & red peppers, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme

For the dressing:
3 tbsp olive or flax oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
1 cup grape or regular tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese

Step 1 – If using dried beans, sort & rinse peas and soak for 8-12 hours in 6 cups water.  Discard water and rinse peas.  Bring 8 cups of water and soaked peas to a boil.  Reduce heat and summer 30-45 minutes or until peas are tender.  Drain, rinse and set aside.
Step 2 – Preheat oven to 400°F.  Combine peppers and zucchini in a bowl.  Drizzle with oil and add garlic and thyme.  Combine and spread on a large parchment lined baking sheet.  Roast in the oven for about 35 minutes or until golden and tender.  OR grill on the BBQ, using a grill pan to avoid losing veggies between the grates.
Step 3 – Whisk together oil, vinegar and mustard for dressing and set aside.
Step 4 – Scrape roasted vegetables into a large bowl.  Add cooked beans and stir to combine.  Drizzle with dressing.  Add chives and tomatoes and combine.  Top with goat cheese and serve.


arja pennanen lytle c.n.p. n.n.c.p certified nutritional practitioner

Arja is a Holistic Nutritionist with a passion for balanced living. She loves to help people sleep better, think better, feel sexier, and just generally feel better by putting the focus on eating foods that make you feel good. Arja uses whole foods, lifestyle adjustments, herbs, and some supplements to help people feel their best and achieve their health and wellness goals.