Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fresh Flavors: Lebanese Bean Salad

I've recently been working my way through a cookbook titled, "Ethnic Cuisine: How to Create the Authentic Flavors of 30 International Cuisines," by Elisabeth Rozin.  I tried her baba ghanouj recipe the other day -- which I'll add to this blog soon -- and it turned out wonderfully.  I'm going to try to make her hummus recipe in the next few days.  Another recipe, Lebanese Bean Salad, looked inviting since it combined very fresh flavors -- tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint -- with kidney beans, providing a great way to make my diet a bit more healthy.  (Gotta balance those chocolate chip cookies out!)  The salad turned out really well, and it was definitely best after the flavors were allowed to sit and meld together for a few hours.  I feel healthy just writing about it.

That said, on a related note, a news story about Lebanon's government collapsing this week caught my eye.  (Associated Press story:  I don't hear much about Lebanon normally, nor do I hear much about governments collapsing (I cannot imagine that happening in the USA), and so this post is dedicated to the people in that country who are living through this tumultuous situation.  I'm praying for the Lebanese people and hope you'll join me.

Lebanese Bean Salad
(Courtesy of Elisabeth Rozin, "Ethnic Cuisine: How to Create the Authentic Flavors of 30 International Cuisines")

2-2 1/2 cups cooked or canned red or white kidney beans, drained
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped, or 3-4 scallions, finely chopped
1 T. fresh mint, chopped, or 2 tsp. crushed, dried mint leaves
1 large ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Combine beans, parsley, onion, mint, tomato, and cucumber in a bowl.  Combine olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl and beat together.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and stir together.  Refrigerate the salad for at least 2 hours.  Mix again before serving.

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