This post is sponsored by USA Pulses & Pulse Canada.
White beans! They really are AMAZING little things. What other food packs such a nutritious punch with so little cost and prep time, and can easily go well with so many flavors and recipes?
You may have heard that the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses – which includes dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. The reason these little guys are getting so much of the lime light is because they are nutritious, sustainable, versatile, and affordable. Small but mighty!
If you aren’t already accustomed to cooking with pulses, adding white beans to soups or salads is a great place to start. My favorite way to cook dry white beans is the “No Soak Method” – simply cover them by an inch of water in a dutch oven, bring the water to a boil on the stovetop, and then transfer the pot with the lid on to a 300 degree oven for a little over an hour. This way the beans simmer gently, and you don’t have to babysit them on the stove. In the end, the beans are soft and creamy and ready to use in recipes, or portion out and freeze for later use.
Different size and types of beans may take longer to cook and require a good soaking, but I’ve found that for these white beans (or Great Northern) this method works perfectly!
For this White Bean Couscous Salad with Lemon and Dill, I used the white beans and Israeli couscous as a protein packed topping over baby greens with cucumber, red onion, pepitas, feta crumbles and fresh dill. I have an abundance of fresh lemons falling off the trees in my neighborhood right now, so I added a simple lemon dressing with just the right amount of tang. You can make it in your blender or food processor! It’s light and fresh and easy. My kind of dressing!
For an even more filling salad, you can reverse the ratio of the greens to couscous and white beans, and chop the baby greens into bite sized pieces. This kind of salad is great for making ahead for lunches to take to work, or on-the-go.
If you are aiming to make healthy decisions in 2016, and want to be inspired with lots of ways to include more pulses in your life, join me in taking the Pulse Pledge and commit to eating one serving of pulses every week. We CAN do this!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #lovelylittlekitchen
Can't get enough?
- 2 cups cooked white beans (Great Northern)
- 3 cups Israeli couscous
- 2 cups baby greens
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup pepitas (salted, roasted pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup English cucumber chopped or sliced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice*
- zest from half a lemon
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon feta crumbles
- No soak method: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place two cups of rinsed dried white beans in a Dutch oven (or other oven safe pot) and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a gentle boil on the stovetop over high heat, and then cover and transfer to the oven for 60-75 minutes. When beans are soft and creamy in the center, they are done. If beans are still firm in the center, add 10 minutes and recheck. Drain excess liquid and cool. This will yield about 5 cups of cooked beans. Refrigerate or freeze unused portion for later use.
- In a medium size pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Toast 8 ounces of couscous in the hot oil, stirring it around for 3-4 minutes. Slowly add 1 3/4 cups chicken broth, bring to a boil, and the cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- This salad is very versatile. You can assemble the salad with a bed of baby greens and the white beans, couscous, red onion, pepitas, feta cheese, cucumber and dill as toppings, or you can make the white beans and couscous the base with the baby greens and other toppings chopped into bite size pieces and mix all together as the last two images above show. Make it to your own preference, tasting as you go. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Add to salad to taste.
** These amounts will lightly dress the salad, feel free to double if you like more!