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Mediterranean White Bean Salad

SALAD:

1 lb. dried white beans (navy or Great Northern), soaked overnight
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped

¾ cup black olives, pitted and chopped (Nicoise or Kalamata)
1 cup fresh tomato, seeded and diced

½ cup celery, diced
1 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. capers, or to taste
½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 hard cooked eggs, coarsely chopped and set aside

 

VINAIGRETTE:

2 tbsp. Basil Dijon mustard (the Edmond Fallot brand makes a nice one), or plain Dijon
1 tbsp. Herbs de Provence

1 small clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
3 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Begin salad:      Drain beans, place them in a 4-6 quart pot and fill with enough water to cover them by one inch. Turn flame to high and bring beans to a boil. Next, reduce heat to a simmer and cook beans for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until just tender and not falling apart. Once beans are cooked turn off heat and add 2 tablespoons salt. Allow beans to sit, uncovered, for 30 or 40 minutes

While beans cook, begin prepping the other ingredients (peppers, olives, tomato, celery, Feta cheese, scallions, capers and parsley) and place them all in a large mixing bowl. Drain the beans in a colander, rinse them briefly with cold water and shake as much cooking liquid off them as possible. Add the beans to the mixing bowl. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Mix vinaigrette:              Place the mustard, herbs, garlic, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Whisk in the vinegar until it is evenly mixed. Next, slowly pour the olive oil into the mustard mixture, whisking steadily until all the oil has been added. The vinaigrette should be nice and thick. Correct seasonings as desired.

Finish salad:                 Pour about 2/3 of the vinaigrette over the salad ingredients and gently toss them all together so they are evenly coated with the vinaigrette. Add more vinaigrette if necessary. Place the salad into a large serving bowl and sprinkle the chopped hard cooked egg over the top. Serve at room temperature. Makes about 10 servings.

 

COOK’S NOTES:

While cooking your own dried beans and roasting your own peppers makes a huge difference, pantry staples like canned beans and jars of roasted peppers are so convenient. Make your choice depending on what time allows. If making the salad ahead of time, add the vinaigrette just before serving for maximum freshness. In summer, try fresh tomatoes, basil, and rosemary- even fresh cucumbers would be a welcome addition. Add a grilled protein to the menu and you’ve got a really lovely main course salad!

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