What to CookSalad

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

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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.
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.

“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.”

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.

Back-Pocket Canned Salad

Back-Pocket Canned Salad

Food52 Food52
Serves 4 to 6
  • 1 14- to 15-ounce can low-sodium white beans or black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
  • 1 14-ounce can hearts of palm, drained and cut into about ½-inch slices
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 4 celery stalks, peeled and cut into about ½-inch pieces, plus some coarsely chopped celery leaves
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 or 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Go to Recipe

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

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Bean, On the Cheap, Books