Friday, April 1, 2011

Provençal White Bean Salad

On warm days I love to build dinner around a hearty salad like the "Provençal White Bean Salad" (page 81) that use simple, yet filling ingredients that don't require a lot of cooking.  In this case, just a few minutes to steam the green beans is all the cooking time required if you use pre-cooked or canned white beans.  Fresh red onion and cherry tomatoes add contrasting colors, and nicoise olives provide tang and chew.  The biggest challenge was keeping the dressing oil free.  The recipe calls for 1/3 cup olive oil, over half the volume of the dressing, so I couldn't just omit it.  Using water in place of the oil would have diluted the flavors too much and made the dressing, dare I say, too watery.  I decided to blend 1/3 cup of vegetable broth with 1/8 teaspoon guar gum (for slight thickening), along with the rest of the dressing ingredients, and it turned out very good, just thick enough.  It makes me so happy when I can enjoy a delicious salad such as this without ingesting an additional 71 grams (gulp!) of fat - the amount found in 1/3 cup oil.

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