Invariably during the heat of summer, I crave a good bean salad. Much of the time, if you try to buy a bean salad, it’s overly salty, made with canned beans that are loaded with chemical preservatives. I don’t buy beans in a can because of that, and I don’t mind cooking my own beans from dried.
The problem is, when I combine a streak of hot weather with the desire to cook beans, I usually have to get up at 4 or 5am while my apartment is relatively cool. I soak a number of different dried beans separately because they eat have their own unique soaking and cooking time. After soaking overnight (whole lentils don’t require a pre-soak), I cook each in separate pots for generally 35-45 minutes (white navy beans and lentils take a shorter amount of time, while red kidney beans or chickpeas take a bit longer).
I also love grilled vegetables in summer because I can do a bunch of them and have them cold in my fridge on hand for any number of ideas: a quick toss with pasta and garlic, an antipasto-style platter with sausage and cheese, or in a salad.
Today, I’m combining these summer loves into a wonderful bean salad.
Herby Bean Salad with Grilled Vegetables
For the Grilled Vegetables:
2 sweet bell peppers (I like two different colours, like red and yellow)
2 or 3 baby zucchini (courgette) or summer squash, cut lengthwise into 1cm (1/2″) thick slices
1 Tbsp cold pressed canola oil
On a grill preheated to medium high heat (about 190C/400F), grill the vegetables brushed with oil until deeply golden on both sides. The peppers should be even darker in colour, nearly blackened on the skin on all sides. Take the vegetables off of the grill, place the grilled peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam the skins away from the pepper. After 15 minutes, peel the skin from the peppers, remove the stem and seeds and finely chop. Chop the grilled zucchini as well and set both aside.
For the bean salad:
2 cups cooked beans (I like a mixture of navy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas and lentils)
Reserved Grilled Vegetables
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fresh herbs of your choice (I used summer savoury, thyme and oregano, but any number of herbs would be great)
In a large bowl, combine the cooked beans, grilled vegetables, vinegar and fresh herbs. Allow the mixture to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight will bring together the flavours even more. Serves 4-6 depending on serving size.