Memorial Day marks the official yet unofficial start of summer so last week I started thinking about making some cooler dishes instead of soups and stews. This simple salad fits the bill beautifully. Sweet yellow peppers, tiny tomatoes, roasted red peppers, dark red kidney beans with a compliment of fresh basil and parsley and a no-fat dressing make for a hearty meal for two or a side salad for four.
If you have a sunny window or a little outdoor spot that gets sun you can easily grow your own basil and parsley in small pots. Buy the plants already started at your local nursery, a little potting mix and some medium sized pots and you'll have fresh herbs all summer!
Sweet Pepper Bean Salad
Serves 2 as an entree or 4 as a side salad
1 cup chopped yellow pepper (about one whole yellow pepper, seeded)
1 15.5 oz can dark kidney beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 7.25 oz jar roasted red peppers, well drained and chopped
12 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 cups of arugula or other green of choice (spinach or lettuce are also nice)
In a large bowl combine yellow pepper, beans, roasted red peppers and tomatoes. In a jar with a tight fitting lid combine vinegar, worcestershire, maple syrup, and garlic. Shake well. Pour over vegetables; toss gently. Tear the basil into small pieces or snip with herb scissors. Carefully fold the basil and parsley into the salad. Cover; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or refrigerate 2 hours. To serve, divide arugula (or other greens) on individual plates; top with pepper-bean mixture. This salad gets better the longer it marinates. For peak flavor make it the day before you want to serve it.
Basil bruises easily so wash it gently and just pat it dry. It is best to tear it rather than chop it or if you have herb scissors, use those to get beautiful little ribbons of bright green basil.