On the Cheap

The Crunchy, Pantry-Friendly Salad That Basically Only Needs a Can Opener

May 10, 2018

Throughout the year 2000, my family ate our way through dozens and dozens of cans of beans. We had received them from my mom’s father—he was convinced computers would malfunction in the transition to the new millennium, sparking riots and food shortages. Canned beans were a cheap, long-lasting provision to help us ride out the storm.

The Y2K bug proved to be a bust, and my grandfather off-loaded his stockpile of beans into our pantry. We had lots of chilis and stews, but I wish we had known about this bright, crunchy salad.

So. Many. Beans. Photo by James Ransom

Made with canned beans, artichoke hearts, and hearts of palm, this filling salad comes from former White House Chef Sam Kass’s newest book, Eat a Little Better.

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“What might seem like a cop-out to dried bean devotees, members of Artichoke-Turners Anonymous, and captains of the health patrol is actually a damn good dish that comes together in minutes and requires zero time at the stove,” Kass says. “It’s also an important reminder that while fresh vegetables are best, eating vegetables of any kind is important.”

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Top Comment:
“I adore hearts of palm. I have been known to eat a can of them while watching TV- yes, plain, right out of the can. I'll be making this again.”
— FrugalCat

To lighten up the canned goods, Kass adds celery, feta, and a generous squeeze of lemon—emphasis on the lemon. Kass recommends squeezing even more than you think you’ll need.

The recipe feeds a crowd: Kass serves it as a last-minute meal when friends pop by. Or, if you’re meal-prep-inclined, it’d make a great low-cost lunch. For me, I can’t help but think it would’ve been a welcome way to use up the fruits, er, beans, of my grandfather’s Y2K paranoia.

Did anyone else stockpile right before 2000? What else should we have used those beans for?


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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • 2tattered
  • Anna Martelli Ravenscroft
    Anna Martelli Ravenscroft
  • FrugalCat
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


2tattered January 25, 2019
Toasting pinenuts = stove time
Anna M. May 29, 2018
Slice an onion into thin slices, top with a can of tuna in olive oil and a can of white beans. Add a splash of lemon juice or white vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy.
FrugalCat May 13, 2018
I adore hearts of palm. I have been known to eat a can of them while watching TV- yes, plain, right out of the can. I'll be making this again.