Legumes are being heralded as a super food. They’re high in fiber so they’re filling, but they’re low in fat. Some studies have shown significant health benefits to consuming legumes four times a week.
White beans are one of my favorite varieties, as they’re packed with fiber but are lower in calories than some others. This week, I’m turning a few cans of white beans into a delicious ham and white bean salad.
Canned white beans come in several varieties: cannellini, which are large, Italian white beans; Great Northern beans; and navy beans. I usually use cannellini beans in this salad because I love their soft, creamy texture.
Canned chickpeas or lima beans, rinsed and drained, can be used instead of white beans.
The ham and beans are tossed with a quick vinaigrette that has a hint of sweetness from a little sugar and a kick from fresh minced garlic.
Some chopped green onions and minced fresh sage leaves add earthy brightness to the flavor of the salad.
The combination of ham, beans and vinaigrette is flavorful and filling – perfect for a packable lunch at the office or for a picnic in the park.
HAM AND WHITE BEAN SALAD
8 ounces lean ham, cut into small pieces, about 2 cups
2 cans cannellini, Great Northern or white beans, rinsed and drained
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon minced garlic, about 1 small clove
½ cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage or ½ to 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place the ham and beans in a medium bowl. Combine the vinegar, olive oil, sugar and garlic in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 45 seconds, stir and microwave 30 seconds more, until warm. Toss with ham and beans. Fold in the green onions and sage and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature. Makes about 6 servings.