Monday, June 3, 2013

Tuscan Bean Salad

Have you ever eaten lunch at Costco?  I don't mean that you've ordered a hot dog at their concession stand.  What I mean is that, while you were pushing your shopping cart around, you stopped every few feet at the sample tables and helped yourself to whatever they were offering until you were full.  Brian and I are definitely Costco diners although we rarely buy the product being sampled.  We do spend quite a lot of money there, even if it's on non-sampled products, so I rather think they'd forgive us.  And it's not that we don't think what we sampled tasted good.  It usually does.  But when we look at the nutrition panel of whatever it is, we ask each other how it's even possible to get that much fat and calories into that size container!  But our dietary reluctance to buy doesn't mean we aren't inspired to cook.

When we were at Costco to stock up for the long Memorial Day weekend, we were treated to a delicious Tuscan bean salad served up on a tortilla chip.  Delicious!  And completely inspiring.  I looked at the ingredients and realized I could make a healthy version of this pretty easily.  So maybe we didn't buy a container of that salad, but we did buy all the ingredients to make it.  Naturally I replaced the chemical name ingredients with actual food and seasonings and I probably cut the oil they used in half.  But what was left was a serviceable copy of the salad and it was both good and good for you.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
Salad:
1 Can (approx. 15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 Can (approx. 15 oz.) white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 Cup (raw weight) barley
1 Green bell pepper, finely diced
1 Fresh tomato, diced
2 Sun dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 Red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Dressing:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon low fat mayonnaise
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Place the barley in a pot and add 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for approximately 30 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.  Add the chick peas, white beans, bell pepper, fresh tomato, sun dried tomatoes, red onion and basil.  Add the cooled barley, toss and season to taste.  Makes approximately 8 servings.

16 comments:

  1. I just bought some barley and was wondering what I was gonna make with it - Now I know :)

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  2. My dad adores his 3 bean salad...and I know this would thrill him as well. We're off on the next leg of our family trip to visit to the grandparents tomorrow and I hope to make this for him :)

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  3. Costco samples...I could live off them! Just like I could with this salad!

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  4. Yes, I used to graze at Costco until they changed the one near me to a business center and changed the store completely. I let my membership expire so I haven't been in a long time.
    Anyway, glad you got inspiration for this salad. I'm a big fan of barley and white beans.

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  5. I've never put barley in a salad but I would love to try this one. It looks really good, and my vegetarian daughter is home for the summer and I'm always looking for new ideas for her.

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  6. I have totally eaten dinner at Sam's which is like Costco - I've even taken Holli there when she was young and fed HER dinner there! :) The bean salad looks wonderful and will be a great addition to our salad month coming in about 6 weeks!

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  7. I could totally make a meal out of Costco samples too! This bean salad is so pretty!

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  8. mhm I love the dressing a lots with the chickpeas and other salad ingredients. Tastes for sure lovely, especially as a side with BBQed meat cuts. Thanks for sharing Anita. =)

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  9. I have had lunch at Costco a few times :-) This bean salad looks lovely though, and very fresh and healthy! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  10. We don't have a Costco but we have Sam's Club. And yes, we have had our fair share of samples. A nice chunk of crusty bread would be perfect with your salad.

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  11. I love bean salad, hot days or cold days, it always pleases me. This looks perfect for a upcoming picnic, thanks for sharing.

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  12. Thank you for sharing with Foodie Friends Friday!

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  13. This looks delicious Anita and I do the same thing. Well, my daughter grazes through the isles then tells me which ones she likes best and I do the same thing you do...look at the ingredients and decide that it would be healthier if I made it at home instead. I've even gone so far as to take a picture of the ingredients on a product so I remember when I get home. And adding fresh ingredients always tastes better anyway. Nice recipe!

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  14. A very odd Tuscan bean salad.! A genuine and much nicer one consists of cooked haricot beans dressed in olive oil when warm, a finely sliced red onion, good quality tuna crumbled over it. Garnish with torn fresh basil. Simple, health and delicious.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Margaret,

      I'm surprised that you find this odd because, if you do a Google search for Tuscan Bean Salad, you'll find that almost all are based around white beans, not French green beans. Nevertheless, the salad you describe sounds quite good as well.

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