Beans are a staple in my diet. They’re incredibly satiating with a great combination of protein and fiber. They are high in protein, have a low carbon footprint, and they provide both types of dietary fiber. In particular, the presence of soluble fiber lowers the glycemic index of the dish as whole and can support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Beans also provide a variety of vitamins and minerals. I’ve been making lots of recipes lately using these heirloom royal corona beans from Rancho Gordo (you could use any white bean though) and loving them as a side dish or as the main course tossed with greens. This white bean, arugula, and pesto salad is fresh and bright with lots of kick from homemade pesto.
White Bean, Arugula & Pesto Salad
1–2 cups Rancho Gordo Royal Corona beans, cooked and drained (or sub out white bean of your choice)
5 ounces wild arugula
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
fresh lemon wedge
Optional toppings: halved cherry tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1-3 garlic cloves (go with your taste preference)
1 loosely packed cup fresh basil
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
generous pinch sea salt
grind of fresh cracked black pepper
Cook your beans
Soaking your beans overnight will greatly speed up the cooking process. Place one cup of beans in a container and cover with 4 inches of water.
Add the beans and their soaking water to a large pot. Make sure that the beans are still covered by 2-3 inches of water (you may need to add additional water) and bring to a nice rolling boil. Keep on a boil for 15 minutes. After this you can reduce to a simmer, add a pinch of sea salt, and place a lid on your pot slightly off center, leaving a little room for water to evaporate. Continue cooking until beans are tender and creamy throughout. If soaked overnight this will take a little over an hour, but check them for consistency.
*if your water ever reduces below the beans, simply add additional boiling water from a kettle or boil in another pan and add to beans
Salad & Pesto
Start by making the pesto. Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust as needed with sea salt and cracked pepper.
In a large saute pan, add the pesto and cooked beans and warm over medium heat. Sauté the together for just a couple of minutes, until warm. In a medium mixing bowl, add your wild arugula with a squeeze of lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil. Fold in the warmed pesto and beans. Top with option of toasted pine nuts, fresh pomegranates, or even fresh halved cherry tomatoes.
Makes a great solo bowl, salad, or side.