Wednesday, July 16, 2008

White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad Recipe with Roasted Tomato-Basil Dressing

White Bean and Red Pepper Salad
When I posted how to roast red peppers on a barbecue grill, I promised I'd share the salad I made with the roasted red peppers. This recipe was created with those roasted peppers in mind, but the dressing was inspired by "Hmm, what's in the freezer that I need to use?" I used some of last summer's slow roasted tomatoes and frozen basil puree to start making room for this year's garden surplus, but I'll tell you how to substitute those ingredients if you don't have them in your freezer.

The roasted red peppers added a lot of flavor to this salad, but it was the double basil (as a dressing ingredient and chopped basil in the salad) that makes this a good candidate for Weekend Herb Blogging. I used a lot of basil since I have plenty in my garden, but if you have to buy basil, you can get by with less. Basil is definitely one of my favorite herbs, and something I've been growing from seeds for many years. Wikipedia on basil says it's a perennial in warmer climates, but Utah basil is definitely grown as an annual. There are many types of basil, and it's one of the world's most popular herbs, used in many cuisines around the world. The distinctive flavor of basil will disappear with long cooking time, so it should either be used fresh, or added during the last few minutes of cooking. Weekend Herb Blogging #142 is being hosted by Archana's Kitchen. If you'd like to participate, here's where to send your entry and the rules for Weekend Herb Blogging

Start roasting peppers on the grill, if you're roasting your own. While peppers roast, put two cans of white beans in a colander placed in the sink. Rinse the beans until no more foam appears, then let them drain.

Here are the slow roasted tomatoes (thawed overnight in the fridge) and the still-frozen basil I used to make the dressing. I thawed the basil in the microwave for about one minute.

Using a food processor, blender, or the bowl of an immersion blender, puree together roasted tomatoes, basil puree, white balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, water, and Spike seasoning. Remove processor blade and whisk in olive oil.

By now you have roasted, steamed, and peeled your peppers. Cut the pepper pieces into short strips about 1/4 inch wide.

Combine drained beans, pepper strips, and about 1/2 cup of the dressing. If making ahead, this can be refrigerated for a few hours.

Just before serving stir in chopped basil and chopped oregano, and a bit more dressing. Serve immediately.

White Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Roasted Tomato-Basil Dressing
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

2 cans (15 oz.) white beans, rinsed and drained well
2 red bell peppers, roasted on a grill, or use 1-2 cups roasted red pepper strips from a jar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano (optional)
sea salt, fresh ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:
3/4 cup slow roasted tomatoes (or use 1 can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Organic Tomatoes, very well drained (save the liquid and use to replace water in the dressing)
1/4 cup frozen basil puree (or use generous 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
2-3 T water (or tomato liquid if using canned tomatoes)
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 C olive oil
1 tsp. Spike Seasoning (if you don't have Spike I would use some other type of season salt)

If you're roasting your own peppers, preheat gas or charcoal barbecue grill to high and follow instructions for how to roast red bell peppers on a barbecue grill, or use your own method for roasting peppers.

While peppers are roasting, dump 2 cans white beans into a colander that's been placed in the sink. Rinse beans until no more foam appears, then let drain well. (Sometimes I blot the beans with a paper towel if they still seem wet.)

While beans are draining, combine tomatoes, basil puree, vinegar, 2 T water, garlic, and Spike seasoning in food processor. Puree until ingredients are well combined, then taste to see if you want to add another tablespoon of water. Remove mixing blade and use small whisk to mix olive oil into dressing.

Cut roasted peppers into strips, then put drained beans and pepper strips into a plastic bowl. (If making ahead, use a bowl with a lid.) Mix 1/2 cup dressing into bean pepper mixture. (If making ahead, refrigerate at this point.)

Just before serving mix in fresh chopped basil, chopped oregano, and a bit more dressing. (You will not need all the dressing. See below for ideas for using it.) Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

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South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is a perfect low-glycemic salad for any phase of the South Beach Diet. Serve it as a side dish with something like Carol's Completely Fabulous Grilled Tri-Tip or Grilled Chicken with Lemon, Capers, and Oregano. It could also be a main dish, served with something like Cucumber and Yogurt Salad Recipe with Feta and Dill.

More Bean Salads to Try:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Marinated Garbanzo Beans
Tomato and Garbanzo Salad
Garbanzo, Tomato, And Cilantro Salad with Lime and Chile Dressing
Pinto Bean Salad with Avocado, Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Cilantro
Black Bean and Pepper Salad with Cilantro and Lime
Shell Bean Salad from What Did You Eat
Avocado Halves Filled with Cannellini Bean Salad from Lucullian Delights
Yellow Rice and Black Bean Salad from Canela & Comino
Calypso Bean Salad from Weekly Dish
Warm Chicken and White Bean Salad from I Think I Have a Recipe for That

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More to Chew On:


  1. "Hmm, what's in the freezer that I need to use?" Do you think maybe this is the most often used recipe around the globe ;0))
    LOVE this salad! It bothers me to even think about buying basil - so expensive and so not fresh.
    Even in Dallas, basil is an annual. It will grow long and get huge in summer but I can't grow it outside in the winter.

  2. Tanna, isn't that "Hmm, what's in the freeze?" just about the best recipe ever! I agree, I can't imagine buying basil when it grows like a weed here (and I bet even better in Dallas!)

  3. Oh I love having a little something in the freeze to add to a new meal! This looks so delicious Kalyn! I think I'm going to have to get aboard your WHB train! :)

  4. I love your slow roasted tomatoes! They have so much flavor! I can't wait to try the dressing for the salad!

  5. I know I should most likely roast my tomatoes but we have such crappy ones unless you grow them yourselves and Muir Glen does make a good product.

    I'm going to hold this recipe until my neighbor's tomatoes ripen. He promised some and can hardly wait.

  6. Ooh, can't wait to make this! I have a love affair with cannellini beans of late and have also frozen some basil per your instructions. Great recipe!

  7. Great looking salad!! I love fresh oregano and basil with roasted red peppers! Will have to try this one!

    I have an award waiting for you in my blog! Come pick it up! : )

  8. Since I began growing my own basil, I've not been able to buy it in the market at all. So I go through the winter with whatever I've frozen, as puree or as pesto, during the summer. And I'm a huge fan of slow-roasted tomatoes, too!

  9. Yum! I enjoy white beans in salads and this looks terrific! That dressing sounds great and I bet it smells terrific with all that basil!

  10. This looks beautiful. I often make a salad like this and add canned tuna if I'm really hungry and a tiny bit of goat cheese.

  11. Gabi, do join in for WHB. It's fun to see what people come up with each week.

    Maria, I love the dressing. Now I'm experimenting with other ways to use it.

    Moon, I'm always partial to home grown tomatoes, but you're right, the Muir Glen ones are pretty darn good.

    Sharon, hope you like it.

    Aggie, thanks for the award!

    Lydia, we have become a couple of homegrown basil snobs. Also, I hate to pay $3 per small bunch for something that is so cheap when you grow your own.

    Paula, thanks. I did love it.

    Amber, tuna and goat cheese both sound good in this!

  12. what a great dressing. i love the idea of freezing basil.

  13. Hi Bee,
    I do need to update my post on how to freeze fresh basil with new photos, but the method is great and the frozen basil is so wonderful in the winter for soup or pasta sauce! Hope you will try it!

  14. OK, Kalyn, I think you have just included every one of my favorite ingredients in this salad. I haven't started my roasted peppers yet as it's family tradition to do it in August. But when I do, this is first on my list of recipes. :)

  15. Looks delicious! I've been craving some sort of bean salad, and alternating in my head between wanting white beans vs. garbanzos. This looks so hearty and flavorful! Hard to believe it is also good for you...

  16. Since I also have roasted red peppers in the freezer, this is a three way winner! And a few days of almost hot weather make a big bowl of salad in the frig very enticing. I'm glad I started a bunch of basil early in pots, the rest has been very slow to grow in a cool summer.

  17. Mr. and Mrs. SoundJuly 17, 2008 at 7:24 AM

    Thanks for the share kalyn. I've read your post on grilled peppers and wanted to see the next recipe out of it:) Thanks for the share!

  18. mmm-mmmm Great salad Kalyn!

    Made something similar to this (more garlic) for vegan friends while camping. We mashed it slightly. Then served atop olive oil brushed, grilled bread.
    It, like your version was a big hit!

    I L.O.V.E. your cooking style, the way flavors compliment each other. And now that I've got another big bunch of basil from the garden.......

  19. You can not beat white beans and roasted red peppers. That looks amazing.

  20. roasted tomatoes and basil thats definitely gorgeous!! i love it

  21. I love the sound of this, Kalyn. And it looks so beautiful as well. This would be the ideal picnic food! (No fear of anything going off in the heat)


    P.S. Lucky you that basil grows like a weed!

  22. Reading your blog is like peering into summer right now Kalyn. I'm loving it.

  23. look delicious, but im never try to eat before

  24. Just discovered your blog. I love your bean salad. Looks very yummy.

  25. Yum Yum. Every time I see your slow roasted tomatoes I fell jealous!

  26. Gorgeous salad, Kalyn! I love white beans with anything... but add in basil and tomatoes... and peppers... sigh....

  27. Hi Kalyn, thanks for the link! I am really enjoying eating white beans at the moment.

  28. This salad is just packed with flavour!

  29. What a great, healthy summer salad.
    I am always looking for tasty ways to get beans into the family.


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