In my haste to get everything done these days, I've been going just ever-so-slightly batty. There never seem to be enough hours in the day and I'm seriously considering either petitioning for a 48-hour day, or hiring a personal assistant that doesn't mind getting paid in dessert shots (Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?). Granted, I'm busy with GOOD things, like birthdays, possible new writing opportunities, and prepping for this weekend's International Food Blogger Conference in Seattle, so that makes things a little better. But trying to make certain transitions in my professional life is proving to be extremely time-consuming and a little nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, I have good friends, great family (including my furbabies), and a pretty little garden to help me remember to breathe every now & then. The pretty little garden is also doubling as a great source of inspiration and free produce, too. As I posted on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I recently inherited my neighbors' dying fruit & veggie garden and have been slowly bringing it back to life. The herbs were a lost cause, but the peppers, strawberries and tomatoes (3 different kinds! WOOT!) are doing remarkably well, considering how poorly they were doing. The grape tomatoes have been the most prolific and I've been using them in just about everything, marveling at the amazing flavor and convenience having my very own tomatoes.
I've also been taking some time-saving hints from my all-time favorite food blogger, Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks. Though I often cook up giant batches of beans, I tend to use them all in different recipes right then and there, storing & freezing the leftovers as I deem necessary. Why it had never occurred to me to freeze the cooked beans by themselves so that I could use them at a later date, I don't know; but I'm ever-so-grateful for some of Heidi's posts discussing her use of previously frozen, cooked-from-dry beans to finally drive this point home for me. This practice has been an absolute lifesaver for me as of late, and even though the beans I use in this recipe were freshly cooked, their leftover friends have happily gone to hibernate in my freezer until I need to throw together something quick, tasty, and nutritious.
Today's recipe is just that. Much like the Simple Summer Squash Pasta recipe, this easy dish focuses on the beauty & flavors of fresh produce like my tomatoes and some fresh broccoli. Tossed together with some fiber and protein-rich canellini beans and a tangy vinaigrette, this is fast, filling, and perfect for the last sweltering days of summer. There's not much to this at all and it's a great side to serve at picnics or cookouts. The only thing I'd suggest if you'll be serving this at a potluck is to add the broccoli right before serving. That way the dressing won't end up pickling and changing the broccoli's color. If you're not that concerned about the aesthetics, just throw it all together and let it marinate for awhile! It's super tasty either way. :)
Cannellini Beans, Broccoli & Fresh Tomatoes with Dijon Vinaigrette (makes 4 servings; total cost per serving: $1.25)
2 c cooked cannellini beans
1 c broccoli, cut into small florets
1 c halved cherry or grape tomatoes
4 T olive oil
3 T white wine vinegar
1 T Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk together until completely combined. In a large bowl combine the cannellini beans, broccoli florets and tomatoes. Add the dressing and toss together until all the veggies are well-coated. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, serve with greens for an entrée lunch or on its own as a side, and enjoy!
NOTE: For stronger flavors, feel free to let the veggies marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours before serving.