Oh to be sitting on a Tuscan veranda, sipping Chianti and dining on Italian cuisine with friends…. Ahhh the memories.
As you can see, I’m still re-living my visit to Tuscany and pining away for a return visit. But alas, I’ll have to settle for this lovely little Tuscan salad and a bottle of my favorite Sangiovese from Tuscany, the DaVinci Brunello. Which isn’t so bad, right?
While traveling the Tuscan countryside last Fall, I sampled a few enchanting versions of this salad. However, I’ve been preparing this particular salad for my family and clients at least ten years now. Hands down, this is one of my favorite salads to whip together for an impromptu dinner party or pair with grilled meats, poultry or fish on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Although my family adores this salad with arugula, I sometimes use baby spinach with a mixture of spring greens and throw in all the little extras from the produce bin. Like the three remaining mini sweet peppers, the lone green onion that didn’t make it into the morning eggs or extra kale or Swiss chard that’s not looking so lively. Then I ladle the beans on top and then sprinkle with the sliced red onion. Last, drizzle with my best balsamic vinegar and my favorite extra virgin olive oil.
If you’re serving the salad immediately season the greens and veggies and dress with the vinaigrette. If it’ll be a while before serving the salad, drizzle the vinaigrette over the top so the greens don’t wilt – and then you’re left with a very sad-looking salad. I speak from experience.
Fresh, fast, flavorful …and beautiful on the table. Perfect for spring and the approaching grilling season! I love this salad as a light lunch or dinner, but I also love it paired with grilled steaks, burgers, chicken, ribs, salmon and shrimp. Grilled lobster might be nice too 🙂
Delicious Wishes and Loads of Love!
Arugula and White Bean Salad with Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 4 but can easily be doubled
1 cup (or more if you like) cannellini beans, cooked and drained. I usually cook my own beans but I always keep a few spare cans of organic white beans in the pantry so I can make this salad in a pinch.
4 cups (packed) fresh arugula, either large leaf or baby arugula
1/2 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons quality aged balsamic vinegar – pull out your good stuff for this salad
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
If you are using full grown arugula, wash the arugula in a large bowl of water to remove all the sand and grit. Dry the arugula well, preferably in a salad spinner, and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. My farmer’s market stocks baby arugula, which I love, so I often use this instead of the larger full grown arugula. The taste and texture are slightly more delicate.
Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, oil, honey and taste for seasoning.
If you’re serving the salad immediately, go ahead and dress the greens by tossing them with the vinaigrette. Ladle the salad onto a platter and top with the white beans. Season with fresh cracked black pepper and a pinch of salt and then top the beans with the thin sliced red onion. Serve immediately.
If you’d like to prepare the salad but won’t serve it immediately, place the greens on a platter, top with the beans, season and then top with the sliced red onion. Before serving drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and serve.
This salad is delicious with grilled steak, chicken, ribs, fish and additional grilled veggies. It’s also great on it’s own for a light meal paired with crusty Italian bread, bruschetta or your favorite crostini. Oh, and a glass of Chianti!