Challenger School

White Beans and Spring Vegetables Make a Colorful Salad


Sweet sugar snap peas and tangy red radishes are often the first crops in local gardens and first to appear at farmers’ markets in the spring. And while supermarkets truck them in year-round, with many chains also buying more local produce, right now they may even have been grown nearby. Either way, featuring these colorful vegetables feels right for the season, so I have composed a salad that tastes like spring.

Eggs seem springy, too—light and sunny and bright. So thinking about a main dish salad to fit the season, I thought about using eggs as well as sugar snap peas and radishes. Small white beans also came to mind, perhaps because they look light and their size fits with the petite pea pods and radish wedges.

Navy beans rank high among legumes in both protein and fiber. Their mild, slightly nutty taste and creamy texture make them good partners with the crisp pea pods, radishes and hard-cooked egg. I added a creamy dressing to this combination of beans, sliced pea pods and radishes, plus green onion and shallots, their bite a reminder that warm summer days will be here soon.

For a spring look, I mounded the dressed bean salad in the center of each plate and placed the egg, cut into wedges, around it. Between the egg wedges I arranged cherry tomato halves in pairs, making a ring of color around the beans. To complete the arrangement, I slipped in sprigs of feathery dill around the edges of the salad to echo the green of young leaves as the trees leaf out. If you are in a less poetic mood, toss the egg wedges around or over the dressed beans, distribute the tomato halves over them, too, and top the salad by snipping the dill over it.

Spring White Bean Salad with Hard Cooked Eggs

2 oz. sugar snap peas
3 medium red radishes
1 can (15 oz.) no salt added navy beans, rinsed and drained
1 large green onion, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
1 Tbsp. light mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup snipped fresh dill, plus 16 small sprigs for garnish
4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered lengthwise
16 cherry tomatoes, halved

In small pot of boiling water, cook sugar snap peas 1 minute. Immediately drain in colander. Run cold water over peas while tossing until cool. Cut peas into 1/2-inch pieces and place in medium mixing bowl.

Slice radishes, stack slices and cut into quarters making wedges. Add radishes to mixing bowl. Add drained beans, green onion and shallot and toss to combine.

In small bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard and cayenne pepper. Mix to blend and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add dressing to bean mixture, using fork to toss gently until well combined. Add chopped dill and mix gently. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed.

To serve, spoon one-fourth of bean salad in center of 4 salad plates. Place 4 egg wedges around bean salad on each plate. Add 8 tomato halves and 4 dill springs to each plate and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 215 calories, 8 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 22 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 8 g dietary fiber, 127 mg sodium.


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