Red Chard & Chickpea Salad

Chickpea and Chard salad
I made a quick salad using the stems from red chard the other day. I had a bunch of red chard and had removed the leaves and washed them for a soup I was planning to make and though tossing the stems would be a complete waste, so I chopped them up, chopped up 2 radishes, 1 carrot, half an onion, 3 dill pickles and added a can of chickpeas (strained). I adde dome salt, pepper and about 1/2 cup of the pickle juice and then let it marinate in the pickle juice overnight. It was easy and delicious.

Red chard can be very earthy – sort of like beets, but unlike beets they still taste good – and the pickling brine from the dill pickles made a huge difference in mellowing the flavor of the stems. The whole salad was fresh, lovely and crispy. This made about 4 servings.

Baja Bean Salad

Baja Bean Salad

This is a variation on my Cuban Bean Salad. I decided to call it a Baja Bean salad because I used limes and red peppers instead of lemons and tomatoes. It’s fresh, delicious and full of protein.

To start rinse and drain 1 can each of black beans, garbanzo beans and red kidney beans. Toss them in a large bowl. Clean and chop 3 stalks of celery, 2 red bell peppers and 8 baby dill pickles. Add and mix well. Set aside while you make the dressing in a separate bowl.

Crush 3 garlic cloves, sprinkle with salt and let rest while you add the other ingredients to your dressing in a small mixing bowl. Clean and finely chop one serrano chili and put in the bowl with 3 TBSP of olive oil, 1 TBSP white vinegar, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp cayenne and the juice of 2 fresh squeezed limes. By now the salt will have made the garlic very juicy. Mince it and add to the dressing. Mix well and pour over salad. Put a lid and shake to distribute the dressing throughout the salad.

Now clean, strips the leaves and chop of 1/2 cup of fresh cilantro.

The salad tastes good right away, but it’s heavenly the next day. This is subtly spicier than the Cuban salad, with a bright, fresh flavor that’s addictive. This makes way more than a single serving, but it keeps its flavor, freshness and texture well. It’s a real win at potlucks.

Chicken Melt Sandwich & Cuban Bean Salad

Chicken Melt Sandwich and Cuban Bean Salad

This is a slightly modified version of the vegan Cuban Bean Salad I make quite often. First I opened a can of black beans, kidney beans and chickpeas and rinsed and drained them. I then chopped up a yellow onion, two red peppers, three roma tomatoes, three stalks of celery, a bunch of cilantro and about 10 small baby dill pickles and mixed them altogether. In another bowl, I mixed a small can of diced jalapeños (I usually use 2 fresh ones but forgot to buy them when I went grocery shopping) with juice from 3 squeezed lemons, and 1/4 cup of olive oil, 2 tsp of cumin, 1 tsp of oregano and salt and pepper. I mixed all that together and dressed the salad and let marinate for a day before serving.

For the sandwich, I heated 2 tsp of olive oil in a small saute pan. I cut off a 1/4 inch slice from a medium onion and chopped it fine and minced on small garlic clove and sauteed them until brown. I cut off 1/4 of a red pepper and 1/2 of a large crimini mushroom and chopped them up and added them and let them cook until nearly done. Then I added some cold chicken that I had reserved from making chicken soup, chopped into small pieces (about 4 oz) and about 2 oz of pepper jack cheese shredded up. I just heated them long enough for the cheese to melt. Meanwhile I toasted a ciabatta bun and spread it with a little sandwich spread I make ahead that is 2 parts mayo, 1 part, mustard and 1 part chopped dill with a dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper all mixed together.

The sandwich was rich with a hearty umami flavor that was beautifully balanced with heat from the pepper jack and garlic.  The salad is a luscious, fresh tasting mix of tart, spice and veggie freshness.

Cuban Bean Salad

Okay, this is not my recipe and not a single serving. I use the Kraft Cuban Bean Salad recipe and just cut the dressing in half. They make too much dressing and it’s a bit oily with all the olive oil. By cutting the sauce in half, I get a tasty salad that is not overdressed.

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup  chopped cilantro
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp.  white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1   fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups  chopped Dill Pickles
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can  (15 oz.) pinto beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed
  • 1 stalk  celery, sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
  • 2   green onions, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
Mix oil, cilantro, lemon juice, vinegar, cumin, jalapeno pepper and oregano in large bowl until well blended. Add the other ingredients, stir and refrigerate. You can serve in a couple hours, but it gets better and better. Makes about 3 pounds of salad. You can double the beans and still have a tasty salad.