Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Veggie Butter Bean Salad

This time of year, summer vegetables are plentiful, generally affordable, as well as readily available, either from your garden, your farmer's market or your local grocery store.  If you have a small garden plot, like I do, you probably have an abundance of tomatoes and zucchini right now, so I developed this recipe with a pile of both sitting on my kitchen counter. 

Butter beans, if you're unfamiliar, are also known as lima beans.  They're a wonderful source of protein without any fat. Their high fiber content helps to regulate blood sugar and they prevent heart disease by moving cholesterol out of the body.  A cup of butter beans contains about 25% of your daily requirement of iron.  These wonderful little beans have been around since 2000BC when they were first domesticated in the Andes.  Later, when they were exported to North America and Europe, they were named Lima beans because "Lima Peru" was printed on the shipping boxes as the place of origin.

They come in many sizes, but I prefer these large "buttery" textured ones.  You can buy them in cans rather than as dry beans to save preparation time.

I grilled the zucchini first, because I love the flavor of grilled squash.  It's my favorite way to eat them.  I cut an average size squash in half and brushed it with some olive oil before I grilled it cut side down first before turning it over to grilled the skin side.

I cooked them over a medium low heat for about 8 minutes on each side before cutting them into chunks.  I like to turn them after 4 minutes to give them those nice grill marks. You could also grill them on your BBQ.  Do this first so they have time to cool while you make the rest of the salad.

I also added some fresh corn, right off the cob, and some pine nuts.  I dressed the whole thing with a lemon basil pesto style dressing.

Summer Veggie Butter Bean Salad
Makes 2 main coarse or 4 side dish servings

1 medium sized zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil + more to brush the zucchini and the grill
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 15 oz can butter beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 ear corn (white or yellow)
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Heat a stove top grill over a medium low heat
Trim the ends off the zucchini and slice it in half lengthwise.
Brush the grill and the zucchini halves with some olive oil.
Grill the zucchini for about 4-5 minutes and turn them slightly to the right.
Grill it for 4-5 more minutes before turning them over.
Grill them for another 8-10 minutes or until tender.
Remove the zucchini from the grill and cut in half lengthwise and then into chunks.
Set aside to cool.
In a small food processor or blender, combine the 2T oil, basil, parsley, lemon juice, salt and garlic.
Process until smooth.
Drain and rinse the beans.
Husk the corn and cut the kernels off the cob.
In a bowl, toss together the beans, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, and pine nuts.
Pour the lemon basil pesto over the salad and toss.
Serve immediately or you can refrigerate until you'll ready to serve it.

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