It’s always a toss up whether it’s the end of school or Memorial Day weekend that signifies the official kick off of summer. Regardless-- SUMMER. IS. HERE. ((Cue: Exhale)).
When I think of long, warm days, I think of tomatoes, berries, peppers, and fresh peaches. Summer also means I get to spend more time in my garden. Every year, I plant tomatoes, peppers, varieties of basil, eggplant and, this year, I added lavender.
My favorite of these plants is basil. I throw basil into everything. From popsicles to salads, dressings to marinades. I even put bunches of fresh basil bouquets on my dining room table for decoration and to provide a welcoming fragrance. I can’t get enough!
Many of you will be hosting or attending an outdoor party this Memorial Day weekend and I wanted to share my go-to BBQ party dish, Bean + Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Salad. When I dreamed up this dish, I used my garden for inspiration and I knew basil would be my star ingredient.
I know a bean salad sounds so boring but when it is paired with fresh basil and lemons, it creates a flavor you won’t be able to get enough of. Pairing protein packed beans with simple, fresh ingredients will be a crowd pleaser that fills you up in a good way. BBQ’s are not known for their ‘feel good foods’, so if you bring this, you’ll have a healthy dish to fall back on.
Before we dive into the recipe, I have a few party tips that might help you avoid that post-holiday weekend regret.
Load up on veggies and fruit// You know the drill. Load that plate up with fruit and vegetables and eat them before you eat anything else. After you finish your plate, listen to your hunger cues and make wise decisions next time you’re in the buffet line.
Stay hydrated// I recommend alternating with water in between your cocktails/wine/beer. You will feel sooo much better. Plus, you can save yourself some embarrassment by not overindulging in libations. :)
Enjoy!// If there is a dessert or dish you absolutely love-- go ahead and enjoy it guilt-free! Be mindful and present when choosing your portion size. By allowing yourself to indulge, you save yourself from self-sabotage later.
Bean + Lemon Basil Vinaigrette Salad
Author: Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD
Recipe Type: Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes (not including overnight soak) | Total Time: 20 minutes
Refreshingly cool salad that can be enjoyed as a side or light meal.
1 ½ cup of Cannelllini Beans
1 ½ cup of cooked Red Kidney Beans
½ cup of basil (I used lemon basil from my garden but regular is fine)
½ cup of olive oil
2 tsp of honey (local if possible)
2 tsp of Dijon Mustard
½ fresh lemon
1 cup of whole grains (optional)
Combine all ingredients except beans and place in food processor/blender. Puree until smooth. Toss with beans and serve on a platter. Enjoy!
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Have a safe holiday weekend!