Two Salads and A Soup?

I was wondering what I could do with these two main ingredients I had. I wanted something simple. I was still busy and needed to make up something. I knew I still had one arugula and some red beans I hadn’t used and I needed to go shopping. So I scrounged around in my kitchen to see what else I could come up with to make supper. I wasn’t as completely out of food as I thought I was after all. As I found several other perfectly good ingredients in the frig. As a matter of fact I had two arugula and a whole beat. Wasn’t sure how that was going to help, but I love raw beats. I could just have that for a salad I I would be fine. But I don’t fix food for just me. So I started pulling things out onto the table, as I do sometimes, to see what I would come up with. Well I had all the making I needed for three recipes. Darn, I didn’t even need to get creative. Although as tired as I’ve been lately, I haven’t been very creative. So I took a look at all three. You take a look and I’ll bet you can figure out which one I fixed. Remember, I’m running on fumes lately from working all hours building the new site. So easy peasy is the name of the game for me right now.

(1) Arugula and Kidney Bean Salad

We know that eating beans is a great way to insure you get enough fiber without having to munch 10 cups of lettuce for the same benefit. Beans are also a good source of protein with very little fat. And that kidney beans are usually dark red and if you have a choice, I like the way the red beans look with the green arugula and red onions. Besides that’s what I have. But if you only have pink or white kidney beans, don’t let that stop you from making this salad. The taste is much the same.

Serves 4

2 cups cooked or drained, canned red kidney beans (see my Note)
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons olive oil or grape seed oil
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper ( don’t use salt I ad some lemon juice)
4 cups stemmed arugula
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese, optional

In a large bowl, combine beans, onion, basil, and oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary.

Arrange the arugula on a serving platter. Spoon the beans on top. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and serve.

Per serving: 18 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 7 grams fat

Note: I have dry beans at my house. Not canned beans. To cook beans rather than use canned. First, I rinse them well and then soak them in cold water, covered about an inch over the beans, for at least 6 hours or over night. Rinse the beans in cold water twice before cooking. Drain and put the beans in a large pot,  or crock pot, with enough cold water to cover by a few inches. Add a piece kombu, which is a seaweed that helps break down the enzymes in the beans and makes them easier to digest, and remove it before serving the beans. Kombu, a dark green sea vegetable, is easy to find in health food stores. Cook kidney beans and kombu at a simmer for an hour to 90 minutes, or until soft enough to squash between your fingers but not until they are mushy. Check the water level during cooking and add more to keep the beans completely covered. Discard the kombu before serving.


(2) Arugula and Bean Salad with Cumin Dressing

For the salad:
1/2 pound arugula
1 can black beans, rinsed well and drained
1 can kidney beans, rinsed well and drained (again see the Note above about the dry beans)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 orange pepper, coarsely chopped
3 mediterranean (small) cucumbers or 1 English seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 avocados, halved, pitted, and coarsely chopped
small block of feta cheese, cubed (optional)

For the dressing:
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno chile
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons date honey (regular honey will work, too)
juice 2 limes
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil or grape seed oil (you can also mix the two)
salt to taste (I omit the salt and ad a small bit of lemon juice)

Combine all salad ingredients in large, shallow bowl.

In medium mixing bowl, combine lime juice, red wine vinegar, diced onion, and jalapeno. Let macerate while you prepare the oil.

Heat olive oil and cumin seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook about 3 minutes, monitoring closely to make sure oil doesn’t burn or smoke; you want the oil just hot enough to bring out the fragrance in the cumin seeds. When the oil becomes aromatic, remove from the heat and set on the counter to cool for about 3 minutes.

Add date honey to onion mixture, and add salt to taste (I don’t add salt). Add oil, and whisk to combine. Taste again and adjust salt level as needed. Just before dressing the salad, add cilantro leaves to dressing and stir to incorporate. Serve.


(3) Tuscan Red Bean, Potato & Arugula Soup

Surprisingly bright for a bean-ish dish, this Tuscan soup has plenty of flavor to complement the meatier textures of the beans and potatoes. Warm arugula adds a little extra zing and a fancy, restaurant-style flair without getting things too insanely weird.

1 cups chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced red potatoes or  other if you don’t have red
1/2 sprig fresh rosemary (about 4 in long – or 1-2 Tbsp dried); either include whole sprig, or remove and break/rub/crush/mince the leaves. Discard stalk.
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt (I omit the salt)
1 14-oz can of small red beans, drained (again, my Note about the dry beans)
1/4 c white wine, or 2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 oz arugula (about 4 cups)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and black pepper (I omit the salt)
lemon wedges (optional) (I use 1 tsp of lemon juice)
grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (or cheese substitute, if you’re vegan)


1. Put oil, onions, and garlic in bottom of soup pot and sauté until garlic is fragrant but not burnt, about 2 min. Add potatoes, rosemary, broth, and salt; cover, and bring to a boil. Add the beans and the wine (or lemon juice), then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

2. While the potatoes cook, rinse and drain the arugula. Remove any large or tough stems, and coarsely chop any large leaves. Set aside.

3. When the potatoes are tender, add the basil. Salt & pepper to taste. Remove and discard the rosemary sprig – some leaves may stay behind in the soup, and that’s fine. Put a handful of arugula into each bowl and ladle the hot soup over it. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and/or cheese.


OK which one do you think I decided on?

Besides having the red beans and the arugula, I found an orange bell pepper, avocado, a few cherry tomatoes, and of course some Romain lettuce. The only thing I didn’t have was a cucumber. I did have that beat however, which I could still slice up and have on the side for my self. My son just doesn’t like beats. I keep telling him how good they are for him when he sees me eating them. He doesn’t care.  A nice salad was easy and quick, once the beans were done. And we have beans for several another meals, because when I make up beans I do a whole pot. It stores in the frig and he likes to make burritos. So they get eaten! Hope you enjoyed this addition. It’s been a while since I was relaxed and wrote something here. But now that the new site is up and going I should be able to get back to more like normal. For me that is. 🙂

 Download the Arugula and Kidney Bean Salad Recipe

 Download the Arugula and Bean Salad with Cumin Dressing Recipe

 Download the Tuscan Red Bean, Potato & Arugula Soup Recipe


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