If using a cooked vegetable, it’s OK to use just one. If using a raw vegetable, use a mix of 2 or even 3. You can substitute 1/3 cup of your favorite homemade or store-bought vinaigrette for the oil and vinegar or lemon juice.

Serves 4 as a main course and 6 to 8 as a side dish

2 cups canned beans, drained (white, black, pinto, chickpeas, kidney, black-eyed peas)
2 cups cooked grains (white or brown rice, barley, bite size pasta, couscous, quinoa)
3 cups bite-size cooked and/or raw vegetables (see note above)
1/2 cup extras (toasted nuts, dried fruit, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives)
1/4 medium red or white onion or 4 thin-sliced scallions
1/4 cup soft fresh herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, or mint)
Dressing: 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and ground black pepper, and 4 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice or 1/3 cup your favorite vinaigrette

Prepare beans and following package instructions, cook grains; place in a large bowl. Meanwhile, prepare cooked and/or raw vegetables; add to bowl. Prepare extras, slice onions, and chop herbs; add to bowl.

When ready to serve, drizzle salad with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste; toss to coat. Add vinegar or lemon juice; toss to coat again. Adjust seasonings and serve. Or, simply add your favorite vinaigrette (see note above) and toss to coat.

 

Here are some of our favorite variations:

Sharon’s Black Bean and Rice Salad with Corn, Tomatoes, and Cilantro
Bean: 2 cups black beans
Cooked Grain: 2 cups cooked white rice
Cooked/Raw Vegetables: 1 1/2 cups each thawed frozen corn and halved cherry tomatoes
Extras: 1/2 cup crumbled feta or queso fresco cheese
Onion: 4 scallions, sliced thin
Herb: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 teaspoons lime juice

Maggy’s Quinoa, Chickpea and Broccoli Salad
Bean: 2 cups chickpeas
Cooked Grain: 2 cups cooked quinoa
Cooked/Raw Vegetables: 3 cups steamed broccoli
Extras: 1/2 cup toasted almonds
Onion: 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
Herb: 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Dressing: 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 teaspoons lemon juice

Pam’s White Bean and Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Bean: 2 cups white beans
Cooked Grain: 2 cups cooked orzo
Cooked/Raw Vegetables: 1 1/2 cups each steamed or broiled asparagus and raw red pepper
Extra: 1/2 toasted pine nuts
Onion: 1/4 sweet white onion, sliced thin
Herb: 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
Dressing: 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette