Cauliflower, Bean and Feta Salad

In the back of my pantry I had a can of kidney beans, just sitting there.  I bought them by mistake for some chili I was making, but ended up not using them.  I do not usually cook with kidney beans; instead I prefer black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas and cannellini beans.  But there sat the can of kidney beans that snuck into my cart when I wasn’t looking.  I didn’t honestly know what to do with them.

Enter into the picture my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen.  I went searching for a way to use those kidney beans and I stumbled onto this recipe.  It sounded really, well, weird, but my husband had been inquiring about a cauliflower dish and I wanted to use the beans, so I figured why not try it.  Smitten Kitchen usually doesn’t let me down and it came through again.  This dish sounds like a strange combination, but it is truly delicious and slightly addictive.  It’s also healthy, so you don’t feel bad about having that second portion.  Best of all, it’s easy to put together and only takes 30-45 minutes.  Finally, it’s perfect for the summer when you want a simple salad that won’t weigh you down.

Cauliflower, Bean and Feta Salad

from Smitten Kitchen 
1/3 cup and 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets 
1 15-oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 heads of endives, trimmed and halved, then thinly cut crosswise*
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
3-6 oz (1/2 cup) of feta, crumbled
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped**

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim and cut cauliflower into florets.  Place the florets onto a baking sheet and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, stirring them after 15 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine 1/3 cup olive oil and the rosemary.  Steep the rosemary until it is fragrant, 2-3 minutes.  Then remove the oil from the heat and set aside.

In a bowl whisk together the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  While whisking slowly stream in the rosemary olive oil.

In a large bowl combine the still-warm roasted cauliflower, beans, endives, parsley, walnuts, feta, and the lemon, red wine vinegar, rosemary olive oil dressing.  Toss to coat.  Serve and enjoy.  I eat this as a main dish, though I’m sure it would be a nice side or first course.

*If you aren’t sure about finding or using endives you could swap those out for some cabbage (maybe 1-2 cups worth), just make sure it’s fresh and of good quality.

**You should toast the walnuts if you have time.  I didn’t and the salad still turned out wonderful and delicious, but I’m sure toasted walnuts would only make it better.


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