Beans, beans…

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Like my mother, I believe that a throw-it-all-in-a-bowl meal composed of leftovers is one of life’s greatest pleasures– which is probably why I’m still mourning the end of the incredible bean salad that Kelly made when she visited last week.

I generally don’t get excited about beans. Chocolate cake (and perhaps even chocolate cake made with beans– I’m so intrigued by these:¬†http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/special-dietary-needs/gluten-free/chickpea-chocolate-cake-gluten-free/!), yes. But regular old beans-in-a-can? Not thrilling at all.

This particular dish, however, is truly amazing– and really, really easy. And I loved knowing that a few simple additions could transform this impressive accompaniment (we ate it alongside grilled fish– awesome!) into a truly satisfying and healthy meal (and one that Lily didn’t mind eating three days in a row). I’m pretty sure that it would be phenomenal with cooked quinoa, peas, and maybe even chopped salami, but I LOVED the day-two addition of quinoa pasta, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped kale sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic (all nuked in the microwave with a little extra balsamic for good measure). The best part? The bean salad base just gets better after a day or two in the fridge. And in 107-degree south Texas? That’s definitely something I can get excited about.

Simple Bean Salad 

1 15-oz can black beans

1 15-oz can chickpeas

1 can corn

1 orange bell pepper, chopped

1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 envelope Italian dressing mix

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/3-1/2 cup olive oil

Mix vinegar and contents of dressing packet. Drizzle in olive oil and continue stirring. Set aside.

Drain and rinse beans and corn in a large colander and pour into a large glass bowl. Chop green onions and halve tomatoes before adding to the bean mixture. Pour in dressing, stir, and refrigerate.

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