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Recipe Blog

We want to help you enjoy ALL of the diversity of produce that can be grown in the Willamette Valley and strongly believe that most everyone can enjoy most every vegetable by finding the right preparation!

Hearty Cook-With-What-You-Have Salad with Beans

Jacob Bailey

From Katherine Deumling of Cook With What You Have

I am a bit of a bean evangelist (delicious, inexpensive, shelf stable, etc.) I love adding whatever cooked beans I have in the fridge to salads made of whatever I happened to have around. This is my favorite lunch or quick addition to dinner. This is less of a recipe and more of a general guide for you to use with what you have on hand and your tastes. You can use most any kind of bean and any salad green or tender, raw kale.



  • 1 cup cooked, cooled beans (chickpeas, black beans, pinto or white beans or lentils—see bean cooking instructions below), well-drained
  • 4 cups chopped lettuce(you don’t want huge pieces of lettuce so chop it a bit smaller than you might normally and that way the beans and all the other treats in this salad don’t fall to the bottom as readily)
  • 2 tablespoons very thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped green garlicor a bit of minced regular, mature garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • About a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar (red wine, champagne and sherry vinegar are my favorites)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 hardboiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds


Put beans and lettuce in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix garlic, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt, pepper, honey and olive oil. Toss everything together well. Taste and adjust seasoning and then gently toss in egg and seeds, if using. Serves 2-4 depending on whether it’s a side or main dish and of course how hungry you are. I can easily eat half this salad myself.


Basic Dry Bean Soaking/Cooking Instructions

If you aren’t in the habit of soaking and cooking dry beans here are the basic steps. The flavor of the beans is very good this way and they are much, much cheaper than cans. Once in the habit, it’s not much work at all. And I always soak and cook more than I need for any given recipe and freeze the rest in some of the cooking liquid. I also rarely cook beans for use in the moment. They improve so much if you can let them sit in their cooking liquid for an hour or so, or up to 8 hours. I usually cook them while I’m doing something else in the kitchen and then have them on hand for the next few days and/or freeze them for later use. 

3-4 cups dried beans (garbanzo, white, black, pinto. . . ) Rinse beans if they look dusty and pick out any stones. Usually I don’t find anything like that. Place in a large bowl covered by about 4 inches of cold water. Soak over night or 6-8 hours. Drain and rinse beans.

Place soaked beans in a large pot and cover with cold water by several inches. Add a few whole, peeled garlic cloves, a bay leaf and a big chunk of peeled onion. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let cook covered until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally (this helps prevent some beans from softening before others.) If your beans are old (hard to tell!) salting them at the beginning can prevent them from cooking properly, so salt mid-way through or at the end. When you do add salt, be generous, as in at least 3 teaspoons kosher salt to start if you’re cooking 4 cups or so of dried beans. They’ll probably need more still. The time it takes for the beans to cook will vary depending on the kind of bean and the freshness of the dried beans. Garbanzos take the longest, usually about 45 minutes.  Black, white and pinto can be done in 20-40 minutes. Let beans cool in their liquid (if you’re not in a rush) and then use, freeze, etc. If you’re freezing some, fill your container with the beans and then ladle in the cooking liquid until the beans are almost covered. Cooked beans also keep in the fridge for 5-6 days and for several months in the freezer.