Lunchbox Idea – White Bean and Arugula Salad

I first made this salad for my book club.  When I saw how easy and good it was, I added it to the lunchbox repertoire.

White Bean and Arugula Salad, adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1 can cannellini beans (for my book club, I used 2 cans)
  • arugula or baby spinach (I used both)
  • walnuts
  • goat cheese, or another crumbly cheese (I used feta this time)
  • vinegar (I used orange muscat champagne vinegar from Trader Joe’s – it sounds fancy but it’s not expensive.)
  • olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

1) Toast the walnuts.  It is perfectly Good Enough to buy pre-toasted walnuts, in which case you can skip this step.  But I hate having open bags of nuts in my pantry, so I buy just the amount I need from the bulk bins and toast them myself.  They taste so much fresher and crunchier than the pre-toasted ones.

2) Drain and rinse the beans.

3) Make the vinaigrette.  Combine the vinegar, Dijon (just a small dollop), olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk.  I like my vinaigrette tangy, so I use almost half and half oil to vinegar.

4) Pour the vinaigrette over the beans and stir.  A note on portion size: one can of beans will make 2-3 servings.

5)  The secret to not having soggy greens and not having to pack the dressing separately (I hate it when the dressing leaks out onto my lunchbox!) is in the assembly.  Put the dressed beans at the bottom of your reusable lunchbox container.  Put the greens (I used about half arugula, half spinach) on top of the beans.  Add the toasted walnuts and crumbled cheese.

6) At lunchtime, mix everything together.  The dressing from the beans will coat the greens.

Make sure your co-workers or classmates ooh and aah over your awesome homemade salad while they’re stuck with a boring turkey sandwich or PB&J.

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