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White Bean, Tomato, and Chard Salad

July 26, 2010

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I never really thought to eat chard raw, but the stuff I’ve been getting from the CSA is so tender that last week, I decided to give it a shot. Admittedly, this isn’t entirely raw: The bean and tomato mixture was hot, and wilted the chard a bit when they were tossed together. But it still held onto some crunch, and with the addition of cabbage, this salad has a great combination of textures. And the flavor was pretty amazing. In fact, I hadn’t intended this to be a blog dinner. It was just a quick weeknight meal, thrown together from what was in my pantry, but I was so pleased with how it came out, I had to share.

This isn’t particularly innovative or creative or special. It’s simple, uses only one pan, and might even be termed a little rustic. But it’s all the better for it’s simplicity. And this was the first meal I cooked this summer using tomatoes. I haven’t received any from my CSA yet, but I couldn’t wait for them any longer. When I saw shiny, bright grape tomatoes at the supermarket, I had to pick them up. And they did not disappoint. They are cooked just long enough in this dish for a few of them blister and burst, and the tomatoes that don’t explode in the pan do almost as soon as you put them in your mouth. I’m thinking it’s probably about time to head to the farmer’s market and stock up on tomatoes.

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White Bean, Tomato, and Chard Salad

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • about half a pint of grape tomatoes
  • 1 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste (I use the concentrated kind; use a bit more if you have canned)
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • about 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cabbage, chopped
  • a small handful of fresh basil, chopped

I have been trying a new trick for cooking garlic lately: I have a tendency to burn garlic, but I’ve been having luck lately with putting the garlic and oil together in an unheated pan, and letting them heat together. This also seems to infuse the oil with garlicky flavor a little more. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and stir well. Cook over medium heat until the onion and garlic are soft. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Cover the skillet and let the tomatoes cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes, or until they are soft and a few of them have burst. Stir in the beans. I drain the beans most of the way, leaving a little thick bean liquid in the can, which helps the bean and tomato mixture get stewy. Stir the beans and tomatoes together well, then stir in the tomato paste and oregano. Add a bit of vegetable broth, to de-glaze the pan and add some moisture.

Cook the tomato mixture until the broth is thickened a bit, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix the cabbage and chard together in a large bowl, and then stir in the tomato mixture. This will wilt the chard just a little bit, and coat the chard and cabbage with tomato bean sauce. Garnish with basil, and perhaps some parsley, if you have some on hand.

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If you want to make this a bit more substantial, it would be terrific with some garlicky croutons. Chopped roasted chicken wouldn’t hurt. And I ate the leftovers the next morning with a fried egg, which was pretty darn terrific. I must say, though, this is quite substantial and filling on its own. The combination of textures and flavors is great, and the cabbage, though seeming perhaps a bit out of place, is a great addition, both for the crunch and the sharper rawness it provides. This is a great, flexible, and fast summer dinner that I can’t wait to have again.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. Kayla permalink
    July 26, 2010 1:26 pm

    That looks refreshing and delicious. Perhaps my CSA will surprise me with chard soon!

  2. July 26, 2010 2:18 pm

    My trick for garlic is to not add it first thing. A few months ago I was reading something somewhere and they mentioned that garlic is frequently given as one of the first things to go in a dish, when really you want to add it later. Depending on what I’m making I’ll sometimes add it after the onions get going, or even later in the process for something saucy. But I like the idea of starting it out with the oil in a cold pan. I’ll have to try that next time I’m brave enough to turn on the stove in this weather!

    • July 26, 2010 3:30 pm

      I usually add it fairly late in the game, too. When I read that starting it all up cold can infuse more garlicky flavor into the oil, though, I was intrigued. I’m not sure it really does anything, but…

      I’ve also found cold-starting the garlic works better if the garlic is sliced than if it’s minced.

  3. July 27, 2010 12:33 pm

    When its so fresh, I think its best to lets the flavours come through naturally and do as little with it as possible. This salad looks absolutely scrummy and the colours are inviting too.

  4. August 12, 2010 11:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing your White Bean, Tomato, and Chard Salad experience & the recipe! This really looks delicious plus the colors that are inviting! ;)

  5. September 2, 2010 12:33 pm

    this looks great, add a piece of chicken or fish and it would be a full meal. So yummy

    • September 2, 2010 12:45 pm

      For me, this was a full meal! Beans are a good source of protein, especially paired with the greens. Some rice would make it a complete protein. But I bet it would be delicious with chicken, or some seared tuna.

  6. November 2, 2010 10:25 am

    i think When its fresh,
    its best to lets the flavours come through naturally and do as little with it as possible. This salad looks absolutely scrummy and the colours are inviting too.

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