Sunday, September 13, 2009

Post-Feast Repast: A Simple Mediterranean White Bean Salad

The morning after my husband cooked a delicious three course feast for my birthday, we both woke up with sore, tired, and still-full bellies.  Our stomachs were not happy that we had stuffed them past capacity, and our bodies were punishing us for being gluttons. (Having said that, I'd eat that meal again in a heartbeat.)

It seemed as if we'd never be hungry again.  Breakfast was unthinkable - I barely had enough room for coffee.  I began to worry: Would I ever feel like cooking again? Would my blog suffer a premature demise? And most importantly, would my stomach ever be (sort-of) flat again?

By lunchtime, I was able to manage small cup of yogurt; meanwhile, Poppa Trix choked down a few bites of dry cereal. Things were looking grim.

But then, around mid-afternoon, I felt it: a tiny stirring of hunger. It was very small indeed, but it was enough to give me hope that we would in fact live to (happily) cook and eat again. I even began to plan dinner! Needless to say, I didn't want anything filling. That meant no starch, no butter, no sauces, and nothing hot.

The bean salad I made turned out to be the perfect dish for the day after after a heavy meal.  It's light, flavorful, and simple. Try it the next time you overindulge - or any time you're craving a healthy no-fuss meal.

Simple Mediterranean White Bean Salad
serves two adults with a food hangover

  • 1 can cannellini or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bulb roasted garlic
  • 1 tsp capers
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1- 1/2  tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/12 tbsps fresh chopped parsley
  • small handful of chopped roasted red pepper (from a jar)
  • 1/2 -1 tsp za'atar spice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
To roast the garlic, just trim off the top of the bulb, drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle a pinch of salt over it, wrap it up tight in tinfoil, and stick it in a 400 degree oven for 45 min- hour. It's pretty forgiving. When it's cool, you can squish out all that sweet garlicky goodness.
Mash said goodness with a fork and whisk with the olive oil; add this to the beans and mix gently.
Now just add the rest of the ingredients and season until it tastes right to you.

If you're not familiar with za'atar spice, it's actually an herb blend used in Arab cuisine and parts of the Mediterranean Middle East. It's often mixed with olive oil and baked on flat bread. There are some variations as far as the spices used - it generally contains some mixture of thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, oregano, and salt. If you can't find any in a local market, you can make your own.

I served my bean salad on a bed of tomatoes,  thin-sliced provolone, and red onion, with a drizzle of olive oil and salt. It would have worked on a green salad, pumpernickel bread, or just by itself.


  1. A white bean salad sounds delightful, a great light meal!

  2. Thanks! Sadly for my stretched-out tum, it's all true ...
    But I think we've recovered!

  3. I love white beans and Mediterranean flavors. Thanks for the post. You just gave me an idea on what to eat if I over ate.

  4. Oh that looks soooo good and healthy! Plus, that's a gorgeous presentation!