Beans and Greens Salad

Wait…you didn’t think I preserved ALL of my greens, did you? Of course not! I’m managing to eat some, though hardly as many as I probably should. Besides sauteed in garlic, this is probably one of my favorite ways to eat them. This particular version was made with the greens of yellow beets. Yellow beet greens taste remarkably like chard, but pretty much any of the sturdy greens would work: spinach, chard, beet greens, and kale are all good. Collards might be pushing it. Because it’s vegan and doused in vinegar, it travels well and makes a great summer potluck contribution. And last but hardly least, it’s a a good pantry salad: it uses last year’s dehydrated cherry tomatoes, and I’ve successfully made a version of this with frozen greens, minus the fresh basil.

Serves 4 to 6, depending on your fondness for beans.

Beans and Greens Salad

2 c. dried navy or Great Northern beans, or 4 c. cooked
1/2 c. dried tomatoes
1/2 lb or so fresh greens (beet greens, spinach, chard, kale, etc.) or 1 c. frozen
1 clove garlic, minced
handful of basil leaves, chopped or chiffonaded
1 T + 1/2 c. olive oil
1/4 red wine vinegar
salt and pepper

1) If using dried beans, cook via your preferred method. I like to soak them, then cook 5 minutes in a pressure cooker at 15 pounds of pressure. Rinse. If using canned beans, be sure to rinse them well to remove excess salt.

2) Rehydrate your tomatoes. Cover the tomatoes with boiling water. Let them steep for about 10 minutes. Drain, saving the delicious tomato water for another purpose.

3) If using fresh greens: Wash in several changes of water until the water is clean. Remove large stems, if necessary. Give the leaves a few big whacks with the knife to make them more manageable. If you’re using chard, save them stems and dice them. If using frozen greens: remove from the freezer bag and chop them up to ensure a more even thaw in the pan. Heat up the 1 T oil in a large pot and add the garlic and chard stems (if using). Cook carefully for about 5 minutes, making sure to not let the garlic burn. Turn down the heat, add the leaves, stir to coat with the oil and garlic, and cover. The remaining water on the leaves should be sufficient to steam them, but add more if necessary. Just cook until wilted or tender, depending on the heartiness of the green. Frozen greens won’t need much time at all—the goal is basically to warm them up.

4) Make your vinaigrette. Whisk the remaining oil into the vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5) Toss everything together. If time allows, let the flavors marry for at least 20 minutes before adjusting the seasonings.

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