Mediterranean Three Bean Salad is one of those must-have recipes you need for a hot summer night.
This recipe is ideal for either the person who wants to cut back on meat consumption for health reasons or for a vegetarian who eats beans as a primary source of protein.
Moreover, you can prepare and serve it in under 20 minutes without heating up the kitchen on a hot summer evening.
Of course, you will also enjoy the refreshing lemon dressing!
Why a Lemon Dressing?
When you think of Mediterranean foods, you probably think of tomato-based products, pasta, rice, and rich, meaty comfort foods.
Despite America’s impression of Mediterranean food, it’s a very heart healthy diet. They consume a diet reliant on fish, lean proteins like poultry, beans, fresh vegetables, and fruits…especially citrus fruits.
All the hype about pasta–well, they eat it in moderation and in much smaller portions than we do!
And, did you know that lemons are native to the Mediterranean? There’s so much more to the healthy Mediterranean diet than those dishes we see in served in restaurants.
Lemon is a staple ingredient in Mediterranean cooking.
Lemon certainly does pair well with fish and lean meats–the traditional pairing you’ve seen. But, it also complements herbs and vegetables to perfection.
The bright acidity of a little yellow lemon packs a flavorful punch into any meal. And, the fragrance whets the appetite and turns a simple bean salad into something pretty darn special.
Benefits of Going Meatless Once a Week
While some of my colleagues here at Recipes and Me are vegetarians, and I applaud them for that, I am not. However, I am working on personal health and fitness goals. Those goals include cutting back on meat consumption. Ergo, a new appreciation for beans.
Here are five facts that I’ve learned about going meatless about once weekly:
Improved heart health
Meats contain animal fats. The evidence supporting the fact that meats contribute to heart disease is indisputable.
When you decrease your consumption of animal fats and rely on plant-based protein, you begin to lower your risk of heart disease.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the US each year comes from agriculture. Of that, the cattle industry is a top culprit.
If everyone would go meatless once a week, the reduction could be significant.
Added dietary fiber
Adding plant-based protein provides additional dietary fiber that your body needs.
Because fiber is critical for bodily processes from proper digestion to keeping insulin levels stable, it promotes improved wellness.
You’ll save your hard earned money
Going meatless once a week will save you money. For example, the total cost of ingredients for this three bean salad was under $5. The cans of beans were under a buck each and the lemon was on sale for .50. I pulled the other ingredients from my garden or my pantry.
So, even if you must purchase your herbs for the dressing, it’s still cheaper than a steak dinner.
Creating awareness of eating habits
On days that I go meatless, I rest better at night and feel better the next day. It makes me even more aware of my food choices and reinforces healthier habits.
That’s not researched, it’s just my two cents.
Mediterranean Three Bean Salad
When I came up with this salad, I naturally gravitated towards cannellini beans and garbanzo beans, Mediterranean classics. However, I wanted a splash of color.
The red beans add a lovely contrast to the beige-ness of the other beans. Don’t you think?
And, the herbs in this salad were harvested from my own herb garden. Fresh herbs are always the best, even if you need to purchase them at a local farmer’s market.
A bright, citrusy lemon dressing shakes the beans out of their usual routine!
- 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans
- 15 oz can of cannellini beans
- 15 oz can of red beans
- one medium to large lemon
- 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- a handful of fresh parsley
- large sprig of fresh sweet basil
- large handful of fresh chives
- black pepper
- Open the beans, rinse them, and place them all in a bowl of cold water to soak for 15 minutes. This helps to release the gasses in the beans and helps you to avoid stomach discomfort later.
- While the beans are soaking, wash and chop up your chives, parsley, and sweet basil.
- Zest one half of the lemon into a salad serving bowl. Juice the entire lemon into the bowl. Add the olive oil and whisk until well blended. Drop in the herbs.
- Strain the beans after their soak. Pour them into the salad bowl. And gently stir them into the dressing.
Serving Size1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 295Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 12mgCarbohydrates 42gFiber 11gSugar 3gProtein 15g
Tips for Making Mediterranean Three Bean Salad
Soaking the beans
I like to soak beans because it makes them easier to digest. If you are in a rush, it’s a step you can choose to skip safely.
How to juice the lemon
When you are juicing a lemon, turn it peel upside down. It will form a bowl shape. Apply gentle pressure as you squeeze, and the seeds will remain behind.
Working with herbs
Herbs bruise easily, so you should have the right tools for the job to keep them vibrant and tasty.
Invest in a herb stripping tool like this one on Amazon to pull the leaves off the stems without causing damage. Also, a sharp herb cutting tool makes quick work of prep work.
Enjoy Your Mediterranean Three Bean Salad
That’s it, a recipe so simple–and made with such a simple dressing. However, sometimes the best things in life are the simple things, right? Enjoy!
Looking for another fantastic bean recipe? Check out these Tuscan White Beans.