The end of the summer has unfortunately arrived and so has the end of summer vegetable season. I don’t know about you guys but my fridge has the remnants of vegetables here and there. A couple of carrots, one cucumber, a few tomatoes… You see where I’m going with this. There is not enough of any one vegetable to really make a single dish, except maybe throw them in with some lettuce and call it a day. I’ve kind of had my fill of regular old salad though. This is where my delicious Clean Out the Fridge Bean Salad comes in. This bean salad is great because it uses up whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. There are some basic ingredients that I would say are staples of the recipe and the rest is up to you.
Here is what I had in the fridge:
The 1st “staple” ingredient is three cans of 15.5 ounces of beans. However, you can pick whichever beans are your favorite. I chose cannellini, chick peas, and pinto beans. Rinse and drain the beans well.
I LOVE beans and those look delicious as is, but wait until you see what we are going to add to them to make them even more amazing.
Add the beans to a big bowl, this recipe makes a lot, and get working on your vegetables. This is where your chopping skills get put to work. You want to chop them small to be about the same size as the beans. Here is where you use whatever veggies you have.
I started with 3 carrots that I plucked fresh from a friend’s garden.
Next, I used 1/2 of a cucumber. I left the skin on but I scooped the seeds out with a spoon. That is just my personal preference because I am not a big fan of the seeds.
Next up, the tomatoes. As I chop the tomatoes I try to squeeze out just a little bit of the juice so it doesn’t make the salad so wet.
I used a little bit of fresh basil because I have a pot in my kitchen, but you can use whatever you have or even no herbs at all. If you do happen to use basil, only use a few leaves because basil is one of those herbs that can completely overpower a dish. It’s some potent stuff!
Throw all the vegetables and herbs into the bowl with the beans. Yum! It looks so fresh and delicious.
Add a good amount of fresh ground pepper and kosher salt.
The next “staple” is the cheese. You can use any kind of crumbly cheese you like here (queso fresco, feta, goat cheese), but you need a cheese of some sort. I gives the salad great flavor. I absolutely love queso fresco for this salad. It is a mild cow’s milk cheese with a great texture. Use as much or as little cheese as you like. I use about 1 cup.
Add the cheese to the bowl.
I also add a handful of any kind of chopped nuts that I have in the house for some crunch. I used a handful of sliced almonds.
Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to dig in!
Now comes the dressing. You can use any dressing you like. I love Marzetti Simply Dressed Balsamic Vinegarette. It has a little sweetness and it is also a little bit thicker than most dressings so it coats the salad nicely. If you are looking for this dressing, it is in the produce section of the grocery store, not in the salad dressing isle. I start by adding 1/4 cup of dressing and mixing it all up. Taste it and see if it needs more dressing or salt and pepper. I usually add more dressing, about another 1/4 cup.
Give it another good stir and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so the flavors can blend together.