Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Waiting for Vegetables: Grain and Bean Salads

We stopped by the Davis Square farmers market (first day of the season) today but were disappointed not to see many vegetables yet (blame the rainy/cold weather). Lots and lots of happy vegetable plants, though -- the tomato starts looked especially vigorous, and I would have bought some if I weren't on my bike.

Our weekly potluck (everyone's invited! bring your friends!) is predicated on the idea that we'll have a surplus of CSA vegetables to share, so I've been reworking the model for these less-vegetably months. Mark Bittman's Easiest Bean or Grain Salad on the Planet turns out to be a pretty good empty-refrigerator meal for a crowd.

I've done it with quinoa (cooks in 15 minutes) and canned beans when I was in a hurry, and I've done it with wheatberries and dried beans when I had the presence of mind to start the night before. (It's possible that the wheatberries came in our Enterprise CSA last, um, fall or so.) I've been using red wine vinegar instead of the lemon the recipe suggests (more bare-cupboard friendly), and I think adding it while the grains or beans are hot makes a difference. I've made the salad with as few vegetables as half a red onion and a handful of parsley, but it's nice with cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, or anything else you have.


  1. I've been packing a ton of bean salads for lunch lately, and I plan on doing some wheat berry ones for next week's lunchbox. I can't wait for the fresh veggies to start making appearances at the farmers markets. For now, I'll just have to wait patiently.

  2. Another variant: Felafel Pilaf, made by frying the fryable spices in the Moosewood felafel recipe Indian-style, adding half a chopped onion and sauteing until soft, stirring in 2 cups of rice (I used short-grain brown) to coat with oil and spices (not dripping, just a sheen) and toast a little bit, throw in 4 cups water or broth and cook like normal rice, then throw in a can of chickpeas and a tablespoon or two of lemon juice. Turmeric and cumin smell AMAZING fried together.

    I will have to do some of these with my own leftover Enterprise wheatberries... thanks for the reminder/inspiration!

  3. ...and with the lemon juice, the parsley and cayenne and anything else flavor-imparting in the recipe I forgot.

  4. Sounds amazing, black.of.the.woods!