This warm leek and cannellini bean salad was inspired by best friend, Chloe, who has a knack for making really tasty food with seemingly little effort. When I was in New Orleans a month ago (my my, how time flies), she whipped up a dish that had my name all over it: cannellini beans and leeks, sautéed and served in Boston Lettuce cups. She was working from a recipe, but did it quick and gracefully, the way she does everything culinary. I’m always inspired by the ease with which Chloe glides to the market, selects ingredients, and then concocts dinners without breaking a sweat. My kitchen habits are much more chaotic.
I wasn’t sure that my rendition of this dish would stack up to Chloe’s, and it’s probably a little less refined than hers was. Still, I really loved how it turned out: a cross between a salad and winter legume stew: warm, filling, and grounding, but with a touch of fresh lemon and the versatility to be eaten cold, too.
I often shy away from purchasing leeks because every cookbook I’ve ever owned warned me how sandy they are, and how much I’d have to wash them. I don’t even like having to rinse off an apple before I eat it, so this was discouraging.
Ya know what? Washing leeks is not that big of a deal, especially if you chop them first, then let them soak in a big bowl, then rinse them, and then dry them, just as you might with salad. And leeks are great alternatives to onions, which is good news for the onion-shy, like me!
This dish is nice and speedy, once you have the leeks prepped. If you’re very busy, you can try prepping the leeks a day in advance, and then cooking the following day. I often find that stepwise cooking like that makes me more encouraged to cook when I’m crazed.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large leeks, ends trimmed, cleaned well, and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (homemade, or BPA free and canned)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add tje leeks, sauté for a minute, and then cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, or until leeks are tender, translucent, and soft. Add a few tablespoons of water if they start to get overly dry. When the leeks are tender, add the garlic. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the cooked beans, the lemon, the dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Give everything a stir, until it's uniformly warm. Add a drizzle more of oil, if desired. Serve salad in lettuce leaves, with whole grains, on a salad, or however you like!
Tasty, wholesome, simple.
This dish is good over salad, over rice, served as an appetizer in lettuce cups, or as filler for a wrap. If you do add it to a salad, I think avocado would be a nice compliment (but of course I think avocado is a nice compliment to everything…)
I enjoyed half of the dish two nights ago, and packed up the other half for a campus lunch today. I served it over zucchini noodles and cherry tomatoes, with some veggies on the side! Along with it, I brought yet another batch of my simple, creamy raw dressing (which is a busy student staple for me). It was delicious, and the flavors “married” pleasantly in the leftovers.
Hope you like it–and let me know if you make any cool tweaks! Have a great start to the weekend, folks.