It had been quite some time since I'd made some sort of random meal at work; I'd kinda been relying on my old standby, the HSAT, or simple salads with the only cheese I've allowed myself to eat for a few weeks, low-fat feta. When I was packing up for work today, I noticed I had a lot of random veggies, all cut in half. I remembered I had a can of beans at work and knew I could come up with something over my lunch hour.
I don't normally cook with the smaller canned white beans (though I'm a huge fan of dry cannellinis for soups & stews), but I'm not one to waste food so I thought I'd give them a try today. After draining the brine and rinsing them well, I tried a couple and found their flavor to be very smooth & pleasant, perfect for the avalanche of other vegetables that would soon be joining them. I'm fairly certain you can make this dish with any combination of fresh, crunchy veggies, but this particular combo was just lovely. A simple dressing of olive oil and freshly squeezed key lime juice was all this salad needed to lightly enhance the flavors of all the vegetables. Served on a bed of baby lettuce, this has spring & summer written all over it.
But the very best part – aside from the fact that this cost about $1.15 per serving – is how incredibly healthy this is! I walked away feeling ridiculously energized and a bit smug about how low-cal my lunch was compared to my coworkers who were having a heavy Ceasar salad. I did a quick calorie count look-up online and found that this is just a mere 200 calories per serving! I couldn’t believe it, even though I was aware that this sort of meal wouldn’t be too high in calories. And the amount of fiber & vitamins you get out of each serving is another reason to celebrate. Who says you can’t eat healthy food for under $2?
White Bean & Veggie Salad (serves 3; total cost per serving: $1.15)
2 c cooked white beans (cannellini or Navy beans work great for this)
1 medium carrot
½ red bell pepper
½ medium cucumber
2-3 green onions
2 c baby lettuce mix
3 T olive oil
Juice of 4 key limes (lemon or regular lime will do if you don’t have access to key limes)
Salt & pepper to taste
Chop all the veggies into small cubes and place in a bowl. Add the white beans. Whisk together the olive oil, key lime juice, salt, and pepper and pour onto the salad. Toss together gently so that everything is uniformly coated. Serve over a bed of crispy baby lettuce, and enjoy!