Ten Best Bean Recipes

A round-up of the best bean recipes on my site. I’ve cooked a lot of beans over the years, and these recipes are ones I often circle back to.

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Wayne and I (and Polly!) have been camping our way down the California coast this week. It has been lots of shimmering ocean vistas, moody morning fog followed by glorious afternoon sunshine, French press coffee at picnic benches, and visits to two places I’ve wanted to see for a long time: Ganna Walska Lotusland & the Malibu Hindu Temple. I hope to have some pics and a new recipe to share soon! In the meantime, I thought a round-up of the best bean recipes in the archives might be helpful. I’ve cooked a lot of beans over the years, and these recipes are ones I often circle back to. Enjoy!

How to Cook Beans

How to Cook Beans that are Tender, Creamy & Nearly Perfect:

The best way I know to cook beans, and the one I always return to. A version of the much-loved Tuscan bean recipe – fagioli al fiasco. Traditionally, beans were baked overnight in a Chianti bottle placed near the embers of that night’s fire. While not exactly authentic (no fire here), I do a riff on the general idea, using a low-temperature oven and enamel-lined pot. Get the recipe.

Homemade Refried Beans

Homemade Refried Beans:

If you’ve only ever had refried beans from a can, this should be the next recipe you cook. Homemade refried beans are a game-changer. Use just the right amount of olive oil to cook well-minced onions along with the beans and plenty of their broth. Smoked paprika adds a hint of smoky depth you can’t quite put a finger on, my secret ingredient is a finishing splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I think it’s the element that helps keep the beans from seeming too heavy, and the acidity counters the starchiness of the beans. Get the recipe.

Giant Chipotle White Beans

Giant Chipotle White Beans:

A riff on Laurence Jossel’s fantastic NOPA beans – plump, creamy beans baked in a bright, chunky chipotle tomato sauce, topped with crunchy breadcrumbs, plenty of oozy queso fresco, and an emerald drizzle of cilantro pesto. Get the recipe.

Fire Broth Noodle Soup

Fire Broth Noodle Soup:

Soup of the year in our house. It’s loaded with good things like beans, greens, and pasta and the broth is spicy and invigorating with lots of pepper, garlic, ginger, and chiles. Get the recipe.

Fire Broth Noodle Soup

Mung Bean Hummus:

To get the smoothest, creamiest hummus using chickpeas, you have to peel them. For creamy hummus, without the extra effort, I use mung beans instead. They work beautifully. Top the hummus with shallot oil, fresh chives, and za’atar. Get the recipe.

Heirloom Bean and Mushroom “Carnitas” Casserole

Heirloom Bean and Mushroom “Carnitas” Casserole:

A favorite Rancho Gordo heirloom bean casserole recipe. The smell of garlic and herbs baking alongside the beans, simmering tomatoes, and mushrooms will bring neighbors in off the sidewalk. Get the recipe.

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad:

Warm, coin-shaped slices of pan-fried carrots, white beans, and herbs tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing. It tastes good the day you make it, even better the day after. Get the recipe.

Ribollita

Ribollita – The Tuscan Stew you Should be Eating Regularly:

Ribollita, a beautifully thick Tuscan stew made with dark greens, lots of beans, vegetables, olive oil, and thickened with day-old bread. One of my favorites. Get the recipe.

How to Cook Beans

Dried Fava Soup with Mint and Guajillo Chiles:

Easily one of the best, most interesting soups I’ve cooked in years. Adapted from a recipe in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen – a dried fava bean and roasted tomato base topped with a fascinating cider-kissed tangy/sweet quick-pickled chile topping. Get the recipe.

Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale

Pan-fried Corona Beans & Kale:

Love these – white beans pan-fried until they’re golden, with kale, Parmesan, lemon, walnuts, and nutmeg. Get the recipe.

And a little bonus! The lead photo image is these beautiful Giant Lemon Fennel Beans. Enjoy!

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Thousand Layer Lasagna

My favorite and best lasagna recipe. Dozens and dozens of whisper-thin sheets of fresh pasta brushed with the most vibrant red tomato sauce imaginable all intersecting layer after layer of warm, oozy, fresh mozzarella.

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If I told you this was the best lasagna recipe, would you believe me? Let’s give it a try. This is thousand layer lasagna. I first posted the recipe in 2006, and still make it all these years later. Imagine dozens and dozens of whisper-thin sheets of fresh pasta brushed with a simple, vibrant red tomato sauce, threaded with layer after layer of warm, oozy, fresh mozzarella. Where the sauce and cheese and pasta touch the pan, particularly in the corners, everything gets crunchy and caramelized. The corner pieces, omg.
Lasagna on a Table with a Piece on a White Plate
I should say, this isn’t a lasagna path for the faint-hearted. This lasagna takes commitment, patience, and lots of time. Think weekend project. This is in part because you’re using fresh pasta, and, well, there are a thousand layers. That said, I’ve streamlined the process a lot over the years. And will call out those tips in the recipe below.Lasagna in a Glass Baking Dish on a Marble Counter Top

How to Make Lasagna: The Basics

  • Start by making the sauce: the sauce I use for this lasagna is super simple, vibrant, and a wink spicy.
  • Prepare the pasta: You’ll either be using homemade pasta or purchase fresh pasta sheets. No dried pasta noodles for this lasagna. The key will be getting your pasta sheet extra thin before boiling.
  • Assemble the lasagna: You’re on the home stretch.
  • Bake:  Until golden, hot, and bubbly – serve!

Close up of a Baked Lasagna Unsliced with Cheese on Top

Homemade Pasta versus Store Bought

Originally, I would always make this lasagna with homemade pasta sheets. Eventually it dawned on me that I could buy pasta sheets and shave some time off the production. I’d say it cuts your time in half. The main thing, in either case, is that you want to get your pasta sheets super thin. So, even if I buy pre-made pasta sheets, I run them through my pasta machine at home a couple times to make them even thinner.
Thin Sheets of Fresh Pasta Flat on a Table
I’m using homemade pasta here, but the process is basically the same if you’re using store-bought pasta sheets.
Pasta Machine in Process of making Pasta Sheets for Lasagna

Can I Freeze Lasagna?

Yes! Absolutely. You can store it, assembled, either baked or unbaked.

  • To freeze an unbaked lasagna: Line your baking pan with a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna in the baking dish, allow to cool completely, and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer the frozen block of lasagna from the dish, wrap completely with foil and freeze for up to a month or two. 
  • To finish an unbaked frozen lasagna: Remove all layers of foil, you can decide if you want to leave the parchment or not, and transfer to the original baking dish. Allow to thaw completely before baking as directed.
  • To freeze baked lasagna: If you know you’re going to freeze your fully baked lasagna, line your pan with foil, and then a layer of parchment paper. Assemble the lasagna as directed, and then bake. I tend to undertake a shade here, knowing I’ll be reheating later.Let it cool completely after baking, and then freeze solid. Transfer the frozen lasagna out of the baking dish, wrap tightly in foil, and freeze for up to a month or two.
  • Reheating a baked lasagna: remove the lasagna from the freeze and remove the foil. Transfer to the original baking dish, and allow to thaw completely. Cover with foil and bake as directed until golden and bubbly. 

Assembling Lasagna in Glass Baking Dish with Pasta and Tomato Sauce and Cheese
This is a good photo (above) demonstrating the ideal thickness of your pasta for this lasagna. The photo above shows you the amount of sauce you’re aiming for, as well as mozzarella.
Pre-boiled Lasagna Noodles on Countertop
What you are seeing in the photo above is the pasta sheets boiled and ready for assembly. Because of the olive oil in the cooling water you use, overlapping the pasta sheets here isn’t a problem. They separate relatively easily.
Unbaked Lasagna in Glass Baking Dish
Ready for the oven! This is what it looks like fully assembled and ready to bake. Of course you can experiment with different pans and baking dishes. You can make extra pasta and sauce and go extra deep dish. Once you get the hang here, you can take the general idea and run with it.
Close-up Overhead Shot of Baked Lasagna

Thousand Layer Lasagna Variations

Today I’m sharing the tomato-based “starter” version of this lasagna, but feel free to experiment through the seasons. I’ve done roasted butternut squash + brown butter, or pesto and ricotta – play around, but keep the sauces + fillings simple and (key!) not too chunky. Part of the magic comes from the baklava-like layering of the pasta, one on top of the next. There’s just enough going on between each layer to keep it all moist, flavorful, and feathery-light. Well, as feathery-light as lasagna gets.Individual Shot of Lasagna on a White Plate

This is such a fun lasagna to make. Particularly if you’re not in a hurry. Have fun, it’s worth the payoff when it comes out of the oven! 

If you’re looking for more pasta inspiration, here’s where you can learn to make fresh pasta. Homemade cavatelli is a blast, and I love this pesto forever, especially with this gnocchi

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Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Kim Boyce’s Rosemary Olive Oil cake is incredibly moist, golden-crumbed, flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks.

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This is one of my favorite cakes of the past ten years. It’s a rustic, incredibly moist, golden-crumbed olive oil cake. Flecked with rosemary, and dotted throughout with big and small chocolate chunks you’re looking at a perfect picnic treat. It’s one of those cakes that is both distinctive and memorable in an understated way and a breeze to make. We have Kim Boyce to thank for the recipe, and you might remember it from when I originally posted it here after Kim released Good to the Grain in 2010.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

What Makes this Olive Oil Cake Special?

The rosemary is the wild card factor here. And it’s so good. It heats up in the oven as the cake is baking and  permeates the cake in a subtle but steady way, not at all overpowering. The other thing I love about this cake is that it is such a breeze to make. You’re looking at ten minutes tops to get it in the oven. This is perfect when you’re trying to pull things together for a road trip, or picnic, or flight.

Why are Olive Oil Cakes so Good?

There are a number of reasons people love cakes made with olive oil in place of butter. You tend to get a nice, even crumb with olive oil cakes. But, in my opinion, you really see the difference a day or two after baking. Olive oil cakes tend to stay beautifully moist. Olive oil is fattier than butter with no water factor. There’s a theory that the percentage of water in butter interacts with the flour in a cake batter to form more gluten strands. This results in a more structured and less tender cake. Olive oil cakes are also great for people who forget to plan ahead. With butter cakes you’re often waiting for the butter to come up to room temperature. Not necessary when you’re baking with olive oil.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Tweaks and Variations

I’ve made a few tweaks to Kim’s recipe over the years, and you can see them integrated into the recipe below. Most are stylistic more than anything. I converted the recipe into weights for the scale-based bakers. I also decided I wanted more chocolate visible on top, and a bit of a sugary top crust. What about pan size? I wanted to bake it in a vintage baton cake pan I found in Portland a few years ago (my $1 pan!), and aside from a slightly longer baking time, it was no problem. Feel free to experiment with different pans or muffin tins, but adjust your baking pans accordingly.
Olive Oil Cake Recipe

This  one of those perfect picnic, travel, or lunchbox cakes. I can’t believe it has been over a decade since I originally highlighted it here, but I love that it is still part of my repertoire. Xo Kim & congrats on the much deserved James Beard Award! xx -h

For more cake recipes, be sure to try this flourless chocolate cake, this chocolate pudding, or for a real chocolate jolt, make these chocolate brownies.

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Super Orange Citrus Rice

This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect […]

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This incredible citrus rice is flooded with orange juice, flecked with celery and carrots, and boosted with a packet of French onion dip mix. It’s beautiful, delicious, and if you’re in a rice or grain rut, it’s just the thing to get you out of it. This Super Orange Citrus Rice is also the perfect base for a rice bowl, and I love using leftovers the next day for a citrusy-y take on fried rice.

Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Serving Bowl
I cook rice a couple times a week. Half the time I’ll make it straight and simple – water, rice, and a bit of salt. The other times I like to mix it up with different broths, infusions, and favorite flavors, ingredients and textures. A lot of you know how much I love a good rice situation – I included a whole section of ideas in the back of Super Natural Simple. I also constantly revisit Bryant Terry’s Amazing Green Rice, this Congee with Brown Rice and Turmeric, and this herby rice situation. Recently, this super orange citrus rice has been in high-rotation. Here are the details!Super Orange Citrus Rice in a Kitchen on a Counter

Citrus Rice Inspiration

One of the things I love about flea markets, estate and yard sales is finding and browsing old cookbooks. I come across a lot of community cookbooks, and always have my eyes peeled for books that are special, unusually, and/or regionally specific. Today’s recipe was inspired by a cookbook I picked up a few years ago, published by Sunkist in 1968. It is cover-to-cover recipes that are citrus inspired – note the sub-title: lemons, tangerines – citrus treasures of the west – oranges, grapefruits. 

A few of the recipes caught my attention. In particular, there is an orange rice recipe that calls for “instant minced onions.” I imagined that would add a nice seasoning element to a citrus rice. I tend to keep French onion soup mix on hand to make the French Onion Strata in Super Natural Simple, and have dehydrated onions in my pantry as well.  Today’s recipe evolved from there. I love the way the onion helps counter the sweetness of the orange juice, keeping the whole dish squarely in the savory camp.
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat
Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

What Kind of Rice to Use?

I’ve been using brown basmati rice for this recipe. Short grain brown rice should also work, you might need to adjust the cooking time a bit though. I’ve tested a blend of half brown basmati with half white basmati and it wasn’t great. Unsurprisingly, the white grains really blew out and over cooked while the brown rice grains finished cooking.

The general rule of thumb here is yes, you can likely use your favorite rice, whatever it is. You should simply adjust the amount of liquid and cooking time according to whatever you typically use for 2 cups of rice. So, for example, if you’re using 2 cups of white rice, scale back the orange juice and water called for in the recipe from 4 cups to 3 cups (or 3 1/4 cups total liquid). Hope that makes sense. It’s a long way of saying you can likely make this with success with whatever rice you have on hand.

Super Orange Citrus Rice Surrounded by Plates and Ready to Eat

Make Citrus Rice into a Meal

You can easily add another hearty element to this rice and make a one bowl meal. You see the citrus rice pictured here topped with a bit of simply marinated, baked tofu. It’s just slabs of thinly sliced extra-firm tofu tossed in 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon wasabi paste, and 2 teaspoons soy sauce and baked until golden in a 375F oven. Wasabi paste can be tricky to come by, and when I’m out of it I’ll substitute a favorite curry paste or tobanjan paste. Throw some broccoli or cauliflower florets into the oven with the tofu for some added veg.

Alternately, I like to make a thin omelette with an egg or two, slice it thinly, and use that in place of the tofu. And before I forget, if your celery is extra leafy, be sure to make your own celery salt! It’s really wonderful on this rice, but also on all sorts of soups and salads.

Leftover Ideas

This recipe makes a good amount of citrus rice, and we often have leftovers. It’s SO good the next day, perfect for a quick fried rice for lunch, or easy dinner. The citrus element is really fantastic and unexpected if you aren’t in the know. 

If you’re looking for more rice recipes I have so many ideas. Laugh/cry. Be sure to try this green rice, my favorite mushroom casserole,  and this vegetarian take on paellaI also love cooking with quinoa, cooking with lentils, and on the citrus recipe front, don’t miss this citrus salt – it’s so much fun to play around with a range of limes, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines! Enjoy! -h

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Blistered Green Beans with Walnut Sauce

I’ve been cooking green beans a dozen different ways recently. They’re all over the markets right now, and as a bonus, we also had a good crop at our garden this year. These blistered green beans were the stand-out green bean recipe of the season. Blistered in a scorching hot pan, paired them with a […]

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I’ve been cooking green beans a dozen different ways recently. They’re all over the markets right now, and as a bonus, we also had a good crop at our garden this year. These blistered green beans were the stand-out green bean recipe of the season.

Blistered Green Beans with Walnut Sauce on a Platter

Blistered in a scorching hot pan, paired them with a favorite garlic-spiked walnut sauce and topped with extra toasted walnuts and a bit of grated cheese. Simple and incredibly good. You can make the sauce ahead of time, and then, when you’re ready, you’re literally under ten minutes from green bean perfection.
Walnuts in a Mortar and Pestle

Do I need to Trim the Green Beans?

This is basically up to you. I often don’t bother with topping and tailing each bean, particularly if the beans are still fresh and tender. You’re cooking these quite intensively, so keep that in mind. That said, trimming any stems, or tough spots is recommended.
Green Beans in Copper Skillet

Some Variations

There are a number of alternate directions you can take this! For a spicy version, you can finish the green beans with a drizzle of chile oil, or toasted sesame chile oil. If you love herbs shower the green beans with chopped basil, mint, chives, and/or marjoram after you’ve finished cooking. Or, make a meal of it. I enjoyed these over a bowl of pasta noodles with extra walnut sauce. So good! The blistered green beans and walnut sauce are also A+ over simple brown rice.
Blistered Green Beans with Walnut Sauce on a Platter

More Green Bean Recipes

If you’re looking for other ways to cook green beans there are some really special ones in the archives.

The simplest: Vibrant Tasty Green Beans

Wildcard favorite green bean recipe: Anna Getty’s Feisty Green Beans

This green chile-spiked Yellow Bean Salad

This nut-studded, slaw-like Green Bean Slaw
Grating Parmesan Cheese over Bowl of Blistered Green Beans
You can see the blistered green beans here over pasta tossed with the walnut sauce. Enjoy!

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How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The gnocchi recipe taught to me by Francesca’s mother. A platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto.

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This gnocchi recipe was taught to me when a friend came to visit from Genoa, Italy. Her mother came with her, and one night, alongside a small mountain of beautiful, fragrant basil, she taught us her homemade gnocchi recipe. I posted about the pesto we made to go with it in a separate post, and as promised the gnocchi as a followup. You ready!?

How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

Gnocchi takes Patience

Gnocchi recipes aren’t for the faint of heart. Many, many things can go awry. I’m not trying to scare you off or dissuade you, I just want you to know what you are in for. Gnocchi-making takes practice, patience, and persistence. At their best, potato gnocchi can be light and delicate. At their worst, dense, rubbery, and/or soggy. The very worst are the gnocchi that come apart in the boiling water before they even reach your plate.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

The Simplest Ingredients

The platter of petite, potato pillows coated with glistening flecks of basil pesto that Francesca’s mother made us that night was beautiful. The gnocchi recipe she taught us had just three ingredients – boiled, starchy russet potatoes combined with a minimal amount of flour (too much flour and your gnocchi are going to be heavy), and a bit of salt – no eggs. I’ve tweaked her version to be a little more user-friendly here, because to be honest, eggless gnocchi are very tricky to get the hang of, very delicate to handle. I’m afraid if I post the eggless version here, there will be a number of you who will try it, get frustrated, and curse me. So, a bit of egg it is.
How to Make Gnocchi like an Italian Grandmother

This Gnocchi Recipe: The Details

In the version here, I incorporate just enough egg to act as a bit of a binder for the gnocchi. We still aren’t using an excessive amount of flour, and the resulting gnocchi are deliciously light. They can also stand up to a toss with your favorite sauce. You can see them pictured at the top of this post, tossed with this favorite pesto.

Gnocchi with Egg, or No?

If you are committed to trying an eggless version, try this version first. After that, perhaps the next time around, use half the egg, and the time after that go for no egg. By that time, you should have all the other steps figured out and you’ll have a better vantage point and level of experience from which to work You’ll also have a better sense of how to handle and work with the dough.

So, here it is – the long awaited gnocchi recipe. Give it a go, and let me know what you think. If you know how to make pesto, this is the time to do it! A simple toss is perfect. And if you haven’t tried making your own homemade pasta, or cavatelli – one of those should be next on your list! You can also find the complete list of pasta recipes here.

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A Tasty Frittata

The tastiest, super adaptable frittata recipe. Made with potatoes, onions, and eggs drizzled with a cilantro chile sauce.

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I make a lot of frittatas. They fill your belly, allow you to put neglected ingredients in your refrigerator to good use, and deliver a one-pan meal that is nutritious and filling. Breakfast, lunch, dinner – if you’ve got a six-pack of eggs on hand, a simple, satisfying meal is never more than a few minutes away.
“Frittata Recipe

Frittata Inspiration

This particular frittata recipe was inspired by a few things – a small bag of little potatoes I picked up at the market, and some delicious vegetables that came courtesy of a nutrient-packed mystery box I picked up regularly from Mariquita Farm when I lived in San Francisco. That’s what great about knowing how to cook a great frittata. You can switch it up using all sorts of different ingredients. And they’re great for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. 

The Special Sauce

I’ll let you in on a little secret, the magic touch in this particular frittata is the vibrant cilantro chile sauce I drizzle over the top of it. Drizzle the sauce over the eggs just before the frittata goes into the oven, then layer the potatoes and onions on top of the sauce – everything melds together into a color-flecked pan of deliciousness. The pumpkin seeds add just the right amount of crust – playing off the creaminess of the eggs and goat cheese. The cilantro sauce would also be delicious on Lori’s Skillet Smashed Potatoes or these oven fries.
“Frittata in a Cast Iron Pan

What is the Best Frittata Pan?

The main thing to think about when choosing a frittata pan is making sure it is oven-safe. I always reach for my well-seasoned cast iron pan. A lot of people like to use non-stick pans any time they cook eggs, and that is fine. For this recipe just be sure whatever you choose can handle a few minutes in a very hot oven. I love finishing my frittatas in the oven because they puff up, the eggs set up nicely, and the whole frittata comes together beautifully.

“Favorite Frittata Recipe with a Wedge Cut Out

Favorite Frittata Variations

I switch up my frittatas a thousand different ways. Some favorite ways: add a big dollop of green or red curry paste to the whisked eggs. Sriracha is also fair game. You can switch up the cheese, or nuts, or top them with just about any pre-cooked vegetables. I love broccoli, or asparagus, or mix chopped kale into the egg mixture.

Give this a try! Other favorite egg recipes include: deviled eggs, egg salad sandwich, this skinny omelette, and pickled turmeric eggs. If you’re looking for more brunchy breakfast recipes don’t miss this healthy granola, or the best waffle recipe, these homemade cinnamon rolls, classic pancakes, tofu scramble, Herb Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs, and the baked oatmeal is always popular!

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Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

Warm, coin-shaped slices of pan-fried carrots, white beans, and herbs tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing. It tastes good the day you make it, even better the day after.

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I bought a single bunch of bushy-topped carrots the other day. At first glance it was a good looking cluster – bright orange in color with vibrant greens still attached. But it was on second glance that I noticed the tiny carrots nestled beside their larger brothers and sisters. Some of the smallest carrots were no thicker than a knitting needle, not much longer than my pinky finger. I snacked on those after a quick rinse. The bigger guys I put to work in this skillet-tossed, herb-flecked white bean salad.
Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad Recipe

A Simple Skillet Bean Salad

This recipe isn’t complicated. Warm, coin-shaped slices of golden, pan-fried carrots, white beans and chopped herbs are tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing. It tastes good the day you make it, even better the day after. And although it’s certainly not as pretty, in my opinion, it might taste best on day three as the shallots infused the beans and the lemon mellowed.

Carrots and beans in a cast iron skillet

The Details

  • Carrots: When shopping for carrots, look for young carrots with their greens still attached. This is one way you can get a good sense of whether the bunch is fresh or not. Can you use standard grocery store carrots? Sure! Look for bunches with smaller carrots if possible. Or if those aren’t available, trim your carrot coins into half moons.
  • Beans: On the bean front, I tend to cook the beans from scratch. I like a creamy, smallish white bean for this salad. Alubia beans,  Peruano beans, and cannellini beans have all worked great. And yes! You can use well-drained canned white beans if you want to throw this together on a whim.
  • Herbs: I starting making this bean salad with dill. I like how dill is always a bit unexpected, and it works beautifully to cut the creaminess of the white beans, while maintaining an ability to stand up to the shallots and lemon juice. Basil is a nice alternative if you’re out of dill. Cilantro is great. I mean it’s hard to go wrong with your herb component. Use what you have.

Baby carrots and white beans

Make a Meal of It

This recipe has now been in our repertoire for a few years. One of my favorite things to do is make a double batch. It can hang out in the refrigerator for a couple days, no problem, and makes a great side to many meals. That said, I often turn it into a favorite dinner. Tossing the bean salad with any short pasta like penne, radiatore, or rigatoni and a bit of goat cheese is fantastic. To get a bolt of green into in the mix I often add broccoli florets, or asparagus segments to the pasta water at the last minute. Re-season with salt and lemon juice if needed.

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad in a Pink Bowl border=

Variations

There are so many different ways to re-mix this bean salad. Once you have the base of skillet beans and carrots, playing around with the dressing can take it in dramatically different directions. For example, you can skip the lemony-shallot dressing and use a thinned out pesto instead. The crushed walnut sauce I use here is another option.  I’ve also done a roasted red pepper puree thinned out with olive oil and boosted with cayenne for another twist.

Rachel D. mentioned in the comments, “…I added fava beans that I found at the UN Plaza farmers market (I thought fava season was over but I guess not!) and some preserved lemon. Also added less than the 2 tb sugar and it was sweet enough.” Love this idea.

Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad on a Table with Two Glasses

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Pluot Summer Salad

A pluot-centric fruit salad with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro.

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Fruit salad this time of year is often sweet. Juicy, ripe, fragrant fruit tossed with sweet dressings. It’s summer salad bliss, bite after bite. That said, I often feel compelled to snap these fruit salads out of dessert-land and lead them over to the savory side of the neighborhood. And that’s what we’re doing today.
Pluot Summer Salad

Savory, Fruity Summer Salads

One of the more popular examples of this genre of salad is the (always popular) combination of watermelon, feta, and mint. You probably know it well. You get sweetness from the melon, salt from the feta, and the tingly herbaceous-ness of the mint. That’s one example, but there are many other ways to explore this realm. And there are many ways to accent and play off the soft sweetness of summer fruit. I thought we might work through some other ideas on the path to today’s recipe. Let’s brainstorm!
Sliced PLuots on a Marble Counter
Summer fruits are often tender, so bringing crunch and texture to a preparation can be good. You might use fried onions, shallot, or toasted nuts. I think we can agree, few things aren’t improved by introducing deeply caramelized shallots – they’re a favorite component in this salad (or many salads, really). Beyond that, the introduction of a medley of green notes is often welcome and you can use a wide range of herbs, sprouts, or salad greens. 
Ingredients for Pluot Summer Salad Recipe

Today’s Pluot Summer Salad

This salad is all about the pluots. They are peak in the markets right now, so this recipe centers around them. If you can’t find great pluots, you might try a version with another stone fruit, or a blend of them. Plums, cherries, nectarines and the like are fair game. Here the fruit is set off with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – mint, basil, and cilantro. Also, lots of toasted peanuts.

It’s also super adaptable. Bri noted in the comments below, “…right now, asian pears, persimmons, and pomegranates are in season, but no pluots or plums. I made a substitution with those three, minus the dried fruit, and it turned out wonderfully…”

A Couple of Notes

Make an effort to source good ginger. I can often find organic Hawaiian ginger, or locally grown ginger, and tend to stock up on that.

The recipe below features a soy sauce/shoyu dressing here, and I love it, but you can make the dressing substituting salt instead. The flavor of the fruit will come through more directly. It’s just a slightly simpler take. In that case, add the honey to the lime juice, as called for, then whisk in sea salt until the dressing tastes balanced and delicious to you.

Pluot Summer Salad Recipe
Here’s where you can find more salad recipes. On the summer salad front, be sure to check out the Summer Melon Salad, this Simple Red Fruit Salad, and forever these Slushie Cocktails!

Continue reading Pluot Summer Salad on 101 Cookbooks

50+ Best Salad Recipes

A list of fifty of the best salad recipes I’ve prepared over the years. You’ll see a mix of green salads, chopped salads, grain and pasta salads. They all have an emphasis on fresh, whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients.

Continue reading 50+ Best Salad Recipes on 101 Cookbooks

Having a repertoire of great salad recipes is key. This is a list of many of the best salads I’ve prepared over the years. You’ll see a mix of chopped salads, green salads, plus grain and pasta salads. They all have an emphasis on fresh, whole, seasonal, plant-based ingredients. Enjoy!

Chopped Salad Recipes

One of my favorite genres of salad. Chopped salads tend to be intensely flavored, varied in texture, and packed with ingredients. They often feature a strong dressing, and are a great way to use up odds and ends in your refrigerator.

  1. Lime & Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

    This feather-light, mayo-free, coleslaw recipe uses blistered peanuts, cherry tomatoes, and lime vinaigrette and is perfect alongside fajitas, or whatever you have coming off the grill. Lime & Blistered Peanut Coleslaw

  2. Spicy Rainbow Chopped Salad with Peanuts

    Everyone loves this beautiful rainbow chopped salad made with blood oranges, crispy shallots, peanuts, and a creamy, red curry dressing. Give it a try! Spicy Rainbow Chopped Salad with Peanuts

  3. Cucumber Salad

    A refreshing chopped cucumber salad loaded with peanuts, spices, toasted coconut, and chiles. Cucumber Salad

  4. A Good Shredded Salad

    A shredded salad with lots of cabbage and scallions, tossed with soy sauce, honey, and cilantro, and amount of crunch toasted peanuts, and celery.
    A Good Shredded Salad

  5. Heirloom Apple Salad

    The sort of hearty apple salad I love – heirloom apples, shaved celery, and toasted nuts of your choosing. The dressing is creamy and spiked with rosemary, garlic and champagne vinegar.Heirloom Apple Salad

Green Salad Recipes

The key to great salads is buying fantastic salad greens. Or even better (and less expensive), grow your own if you have the space. For the best salad foundation, look for vibrant leaves that aren’t sad or wilted, and pass on bagged and packaged lettuces.

  1. Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

    A delicious, crisp grilled wedge salad topped with a spicy ranch dressing, chives, and nuts. An all-time favorite summer salad.Grilled Wedge Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

  2. Anna’s California Miso Avocado Salad

    A California-inspired Miso, Avocado, & Lima Bean Salad from A Modern Way to Eat, by Anna Jones. Seasonal greens and beans are tossed with an assertive, creamy miso dressing. Anna’s California Miso Avocado Salad

  3. Genius Kale Salad

    There is a special kale salad recipe in the Food52 Genius Recipes cookbook. A single kale salad that ran the gauntlet, beating out all others, for a slice of limelight.
    Genius Kale Salad

  4. The Greenest Salad

    A shredded green salad bulked out with blanched broccoli, avocado, pistachios, a bit of feta, and tossed with a tarragon balsamic vinaigrette.
    The Greenest Salad

  5. An Ideal Lunch Salad

    Chickpeas, celery, black olives, pepitas, avocado, blanched broccoli. Full of crunch & substance, it’s a salad that can stand up to a few hours in a container without collapsing. An Ideal Lunch Salad

  6. Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad

    A base of finely shredded Lacinato kale to which and abundance of toasted pecans, pecorino cheese, and shredded Brussels sprouts are added. A strong lemon-tahini dressing is leveraged to brighten things up and take the raw edge off of the kale. Lacinato Kale and Pecorino Salad

Summer Salad Recipes

Arguably peak salad season, summer salads feature all the magic coming out of backyard gardens and local markets. These salad recipes help you work through tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn, and beautiful stone fruits. Many are meal-worthy, helping to keep your kitchen cool during the hottest weather.

  1. Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

    A bread salad made with torn pieces of toasted multi-grain bread, grilled zucchini, chickpeas, and a simple, garlic-forward ponzu dressing.
    Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad

  2. A Really Great Coconut Corn Salad

    Butter a skillet add corn, fresh thyme, red onions, toasted almonds and coconut, and finish with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice…
    A Really Great Coconut Corn Salad

  3. Heirloom Tomato Salad

    My favorite tomato salad this year – made with roasted and ripe tomatoes, capers, mozzarella, almonds, and chives. Heirloom Tomato Salad

  4. Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

    A summer fruit salad – berries, peaches and pluots drizzled with a citrusy lemongrass and honey dressing, topped with toasted walnuts, and lots of mint.
    Fruit Salad with Thai Herbs

  5. Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

    Pasta salad extraordinaire – tomatoes & pasta in an A+ one-bowl meal. Whole-grain pasta, baby kale, basil, and the best tomatoes you can get your hands on. Easy Tomato & Pasta Salad

  6. Joshua McFadden’s Cucumber Salad

    A ringer of a cucumber salad. The main players: cucumbers, ice-bathed scallions, toasted walnuts, mint, rose, and a vinegar-spiked yogurt dressing.
    Joshua McFadden’s Cucumber Salad

  7. Na’ama’s Fattoush

    A beautiful fattoush recipe and a preview of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s new book, Jerusalem. Na’ama’s Fattoush

  8. Pluot Summer Salad

    This salad is pluot based, with toasted ginger, garlic, and shallots. It is drizzled with a simple lime soy sauce dressing, and is generously flecked with herbs – in this case, mint, basil, and cilantro. Pluot Summer Salad

Pasta Salad Recipes

A handful of favorite salad recipes featuring pasta, noodles, fresh ingredients and super bold flavors. 

  1. Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

    This is a noodle salad you’ll crave every day. A radiant, color-flecked tangle of noodles, cabbage, shredded carrots, pickled sushi ginger, and an abundance of cilantro, basil, and scallions. Sriracha Rainbow Noodle Salad

  2. Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

    Plump raviolis tossed with toasted hazelnuts, lemony chard, and caramelized onions are at the heart of this ravioli salad recipe.Hazelnut & Chard Ravioli Salad

  3. Classic Macaroni Salad

    A fresh take on classic macaroni salad. It hits all the notes of your favorite old-fashioned macaroni salad, but gives you a few nutritious options to explore as well. Classic Macaroni Salad

  4. Pomelo Noodles

    Being nice to your future self & and simple lunch salad made with noodles, edamame, greens, ponzu dressing, peanuts, and pomelo.
    Pomelo Noodles

 Great Picnic Salad Recipes

These are the salad recipes to turn to when you need something that can travel. The kinds of salads that can handle a picnic or potluck.

  1. Tempeh Taco Salad

    All the things you love about a taco, in salad form. Tempeh taco salad – crushed tortilla chips bring the crunch, black beans and crumbled tempeh coated with taco seasoning brings the substance, and a strong, smoked paprika-apple cider dressing pulls everything together.
    Tempeh Taco Salad

  2. California Barley Bowl

    I made this Megan Gordon’s beautiful California Barley Bowl for a family brunch last week. From her inspiring new cookbook, Whole Grain Mornings.
    California Barley Bowl

  3. Mung Yoga Bowl

    The kind of bowl that keeps you strong – herb-packed yogurt dolloped over a hearty bowl of mung beans and quinoa, finished with toasted nuts and a simple paprika oil. Mung Yoga Bowl

  4. Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

    Not a salad per se, but a lot of my favorite salad components at play here. Ginger and garlic tempeh rice, folded into lime-spiked lettuce wraps with lots of herbs, cucumber, and carrots. Garlic Lime Lettuce Wraps

  5. Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts

    An herb-packed rice salad recipe with peanuts, toasted coconut, and a strong boost of fresh lime. Herbal Rice Salad with Peanuts

  6. Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad

    Warm, coin-shaped slices of pan-fried carrots, white alubia beans, and chopped dill tossed with a tangy-sweet lemon shallot dressing.
    Carrot, Dill & White Bean Salad Recipe

  7. Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad

    A beautiful cauliflower salad from the new Bar Tartine cookbook – a crunchy, hearty mixture of cauliflower, seeds, chiles, radishes, chickpeas, and green onions slathered in an enveloping garlicky yogurt dressing. Bar Tartine Cauliflower Salad

  8. Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

    Lightly cooked cauliflower is chopped, then tossed, with turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and a touch of ghee. Then you add sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted seeds, rainbow chard stems, lettuces. It’s beautiful and delicious. Rainbow Cauliflower Rice Bowl

  9. Last Minute Everything Bagel Noodle Bowl

    A perfect one-pot meal. Noodles, tofu, and broccoli boiled in one pot, drained, tossed with splashes of olive oil and ponzu, plus a generous showering of everything bagel seasoning to finish it all off. Last Minute Everything Bagel Noodle Bowl

  10. An Exceptional Salad with an Unusual Coconut Oil Dressing

    Coconut oil dressing was just one of the brilliant ideas that jumped out at me from the pages of Julia Sherman’s new Salad For President cookbook.
    An Exceptional Salad with an Unusual Coconut Oil Dressing

  11. A Maximalist Potato Salad

    Tender potatoes are loaded with chiles, chopped herbs, garlic & whatever bright, fresh vegetables you have on hand. A Maximalist Potato Salad

  12. Spring Roll Salad

    Imagine a spring roll without the wrapper and you’ve got this salad. A familiar chorus of flavors – sweet, sour, tangy, hot, and nutty all projected onto a mound of serpentine rice noodles and seasonal vegetables with a peanut dressing and lime splash. Spring Roll Salad

  13. Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

    A peanut noodle salad recipe featuring soba noodles punctuated with spring onions, tofu, peanuts, and asparagus. Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad

  14. Asparagus Panzanella

    A simple asparagus panzanella – a quick, mustard buttermilk dressing accents good asparagus, alongside crusty shards of toasted bread, and a dusting of sesame seeds. Shred a hard boiled egg over the top for a more substantial meal.
    Asparagus Panzanella

  15. Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

    The bean & artichoke salad I made to take to Easter this year – pickled celery, chopped kalamata olives and toasted walnuts, along with tender artichokes, and lots of the white cocagne beans I picked up at my neighborhood farmer’s market. Cocagne Bean & Artichoke Salad

  16. Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad

    A wintery bean salad made with gorgeous Rancho Gordo ayocote negro beans, and pan-fried hedgehog mushrooms. Ayocote Bean & Mushroom Salad

  17. Coconut Quinoa Bowl

    A quirky, unique bowl of quinoa, with a couple of secrets. And the next time you have leftover quinoa (other other favorite grain) give it a try – coconut, garlic, almonds, kale, topped with salted yogurt and avocado. Coconut Quinoa Bowl

  18. Zucchini Agrodolce

    A pretty, summer-centric zucchini agrodolce – shredded zucchini doused with a garlic infused agrodolce splash of vinegar, honey, and olive oil, tossed with toasted coconut and walnuts for crunch, red onion for bite and assertiveness, a couple of chopped dates, and tiny greens or herbs threaded about. Zucchini Agrodolce

  19. Blue Kale Studio Salad

    A vibrant spring salad – butter lettuce, saffron almonds, blue kale micro greens. Blue Kale Studio Salad

  20. Shredded Egg Salad

    Shredding hard-boiled eggs on a box grater makes a light, fluffy, bright egg salad, and I must say, a nice alternative to chopped, heavily dressed versions of the classic. Shredded Egg Salad

  21. A Good Winter Salad

    A simple salad made with crunchy lettuces, a garlicky, melted lemon butter dressing, and shaved endives, delicata squash, avocados, and pepitas.
    A Good Winter Salad

  22. Avocado Salad

    Thinly sliced avocado arranged over simple lentils, drizzled with oregano oil, toasted hazelnuts, and chives. Avocado Salad

  23. Cilantro Salad

    Simply cilantro leaves and stems tossed with a simple shallot-forward soy sauce dressing, plus peanuts, and asparagus. If you’re at all a cilantro fan, you have to try this. Cilantro Salad

  24. Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

    Simple side – asparagus tossed with a garlicky buttermilk dressing, perky radish sprouts, lots of fresh cilantro, and a handful of cooked posole.
    Buttermilk Asparagus Salad

  25. Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

    A beauty of a carrot salad – tricked out with chickpeas, chunks of dried pluots, sliced almonds, and a toasted cumin dressing. Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Fave Salad Boosters & Dressings

  1. An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

    Blender dressings are great, in part, because they’re fast. Everything into one container, puree, and you’re set. This one is great – carrots, turmeric, coconut milk, shallot, and ginger come together into a dressing perfect for everything from green salads to grain salads.
    An Exceptional Ginger Carrot Dressing

  2. Five Minute Avocado Dressing with Herbs and Spinach

    If you love a good avocado dressing, you’ve got to give this one a try. It is fragrant with fresh herbs, seasoned with miso, and boosted with spinach.
    Five Minute Avocado Dressing with Herbs and Spinach

  3. Salad Booster

    I often carry a small vial of this spiced kale and nori medley in my purse, refilling it every few days. Nutrient-dense and delicious, you use it as a healthful seasoning for salad, vegetables, stir-fries… Salad Booster

  4. Seven Great Blender Dressings to Keep on Hand

    Use these dressings on salads, grain bowls, inside spring rolls, spread on sandwiches, and spooned onto tacos. Seven Great Blender Dressings to Keep on Hand

  5. Shallot Vinaigrette

    A shallot vinaigrette made with rosé wine in place of vinegar. Shallot Vinaigrette

Enjoy the salad recipes! I hope there are a few here that make their way to your table through the year. I have a special fondness for the Spicy Rainbow Chop Salad. And this Cilantro Salad shifted how I think of cilantro. And this is the best bean salad with a tangy-sweet lemonade-ish dressing. Don’t miss the favorite salad dressings that are listed at the bottom as well, and give the wedge salad below a go with any of them in place of the spicy ranch!

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