Plant Based 411
Musical Fruit Salad
By Nancy Eisman
“Beans, beans – the musical fruit…” is a cute little ditty many of us learned as kids. Of course it wasn’t actually referring to beans as fruit, but it rhymed with toot which was the music the song was really about. Although we know that beans are not really a fruit, we also know that they sure are healthy, delicious, and especially great in salads. Three beans, four beans, five beans, or six, the more the better when tossing up something tasty, nutritious, fiber-filled, and satisfying.
While the classic bean salad is made from beans (3), onions, and a vinaigrette, I was inspired by that classic song to mix in some real “fruit” and up the bean count a bit. For the bean portion of our salad I’m using Melissa’s Shelled Edamame, Steamed Black Eyed Peas, Peeled and Steamed Fava Beans, Peeled and Steamed Garbanzo Beans, and Steamed Red Kidney Beans. If you want to simplify this list, grab a few boxes of Melissa’s Steamed Six-Bean Medley which includes white kidney, cranberry, white navy, red kidney, black eyed peas, and black beans for your culinary convenience.
For the fruit portion of the recipe/assemblage we’ve got Melissa’s Veggie Sweets (mini bell peppers) and Melissa’s Mini Heirloom Tomatoes, because they are not only botanically “fruit” (because they have seeds), but because their vivid colors and juicy flavors complement the beans very nicely. Aromatics like Melissa’s Perfect Sweet Onions (available year-round) or Melissa’s Torpedo Onions (only available June-August), fresh chives, fresh parsley, and a vinaigrette with a fresh orange juice base to up the fruit factor, round out the salad.
Add some fresh Celery and Fennel for extra crunch if you want, or not. Serve over seasonal salad greens. Mix with cooked quinoa for more protein and substance. Heat and serve on top of rice. Definitely add avocado, because it’s also a fruit and because avocado makes everything taste better.
It’s hard to go wrong when you start with great ingredients, so whether you follow my recipe or just use it as a road map, think colors and textures when crafting your next salad and you should be very happy with the results. And although the song says “the more you eat, the better you feel, so eat your beans with every meal”, at least once a day, wrapped in a tortilla, in a salad, as a side, a dip, a fritter, or in soup, it isn’t such a bad idea.
1 package Melissa’s Steamed Black Eyed Peas
1 package Melissa’s Peeled and Steamed Garbanzo Beans
1 package Melissa’s Steamed Red Kidney Beans
½ package Melissa’s Shelled Edamame
1 cup Melissa’s Perfect Sweet Onions, diced
1 cup Fresh Fennel, diced
1 cup Fresh Celery, diced
¾ cup Fresh Parsley, minced
½ cup Fresh Chives, snipped
10 Melissa’s Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
5 Melissa’s Veggie Sweets, diced
¼ cup Fresh Orange Juice
¼ cup Seasoned Rice Vinegar
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Teriyaki Sauce
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Whisk the dressing ingredients together until emulsified. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Combine all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat. Eat now and/or store in the fridge for maximum marination.
Makes 6-8 servings.