Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Black Bean and Feta Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Several years ago, The Other Adult in the family made up a salad recipe that has since become a staple in our house. This salad is so versatile and easy to prepare that we can serve it with nearly everything, but most especially we like eating it with pizza. I started making my own vinaigrette about a year ago. The dressing recipe is adapted from Emeril's recipe on the food network website, because it was the first thing that popped up online when I googled "vinaigrette recipe" and it was a recipe I had all the ingredients for.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
  • 1/4-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar, optional
  • 1-2 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
I use an old salad dressing bottle and put all the ingredients in through a funnel, dry and chunky ingredients first, liquids last (the liquids push the rest through the funnel). Screw the cap on and shake. I don't always add the same amount of balsamic vinegar or olive oil--in fact, I eyeball all the ingredients. The original recipe called for 3/4 C olive oil, which was just too oily for me.

Black Bean Feta Salad
  • mixed greens or butter lettuce leaves
  • black beans
  • chopped walnuts
  • crumbled feta
  • balsamic vinaigrette
I put together the ingredients in whatever proportions I feel like and it turns out deliciously every time. A word about the ingredients: I use canned beans rather than dried then rehydrated beans. I know that most foodies look down on this practice, but I rarely know the night before when I'm going to prepare a meal with beans. It's just not practical for my lifestyle at the moment.

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