Just in time for your Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, or Labor Day celebration! This quick, easy salad is packed full of flavor, healthy ingredients, and versatility. This will serve four as a side dish, and goes well with a simple grilled steak, salmon, or even chicken. Originally inspired Martha Stewart’s White-Bean Salad with Zucchini and Parmesan, I felt that adding one simple ingredient and a little more oil sent an already-delicious recipe over the top. Perfect for people on South Beach Diet, or for anyone trying to eat healthier.
Admittedly, when I first read Martha’s version, I wasn’t sure how I’d like raw green beans and zucchini in a salad. But, as the Iron Chef says: “with an open mind and empty stomach”, I recalled that I once had the pleasure of attending a cooking class offered by Chef Charlie Trotter, now known for his involvement in the raw food movement just before his book was published, Raw, (co-authored by Tim Turner). I’d also had the pleasure of dining at Trotter’s restaurant in Chicago – and despite the big-ticket it came with – my socks were knocked off.
All of my doubts disappeared the first time I made Martha’s recipe, and as often is the case, I was inspired to make it even better. This easy yet impressive recipe serves 4 as a side dish. I double-dog dare you to eat raw!
- 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 pound zucchini (1 large), trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- about 3 ounces green beans, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal (2/3 cup)
- 2 good, ripe plum tomatoes, seeded & diced
- 2 ounces fresh Parmesan cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
- Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
In a medium bowl, place cannellini beans, zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, Parmesan, basil, lemon zest and juice, and oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. I love this with grilled salmon or steak and a crusty Italian bread to soak up the extra dressing.
Note: The texture of the Parmesan in this dish makes all the difference. I used Stella Parmesan, and crumbled it in my Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus for perfect tiny bites of cheese flavor. Shavings or grates just aren’t the same – and, at the risk of sounding like a foodie snob, if you are the canned Parmesan type… this recipe probably isn’t for you 😉