31 Days of Healthy Deliciousness, Day 1: Tuscan Bean Salad

Happy New Year!

The beginning of a new year is always a great time to pause and reflect upon our hopes and goals for the future, and many of us include eating a healthy diet among our resolutions.

Good health is essential to a quality lifestyle, and yet finding easy, affordable and delicious recipes can often be a challenge. If a recipe isn’t full of flavor, or tastes “too healthy,” chances are we won’t make it again. I know I won’t.

So, today I’m kicking off our 31 Days of Healthy Deliciousness with one of my all-time favorite big-batch recipes:  Tuscan Bean Salad.

Low in fat and calories, beans are a terrific source of protein and fiber which help boost energy, promote good digestive health and keep us feeling full. We enjoy this salad as a main for lunch, as an appetizer in spoonfuls or atop crostini, and as a side dish with lean proteins like fish (see walleye cakes below) and chicken.

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This simple salad showcases ingredients that are available in the winter months like white beans (like Cannellini, Great Northern or Navy), sun-dried tomatoes, celery and red onion, tossed with balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s amazing how you can make just a few ingredients sing with the right combination of flavors.

Versatile and easy to make, Tuscan Bean Salad is a hearty dish packed with nutrients that satisfy the requirements of a healthy diet. But more than that, it’s just delicious. Buon appetito, 2020!

Stop by tomorrow for Day 2 of Healthy Deliciousness!

Tuscan Bean Salad

1 15 oz. can of Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
*(Great Northern Beans or Navy Beans may also be used)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut lengthwise into strips
*(use either oil-packed or good quality dried variety)
1 stalk of celery, sliced into half-moon pieces
¼ red onion, diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespooon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Seasonal option: *Kernels from 1 ear of corn, grilled or raw, cut from the cob

Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and mix well, being careful not to break the beans. Refrigerate for at least one to two hours. For best results, allow the salad to come to room temperature before serving.

To Store: Cover leftovers with plastic or store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 to 3 days.

Tip: This salad can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance, just wait to add the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper until about one to two hours before serving to preserve the crispness of the vegetables.

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