Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Quick And Easy White Bean Salad With Radishes - Vegan And Gluten Free

Use Cannellini, Great Northern or White Kidney for this
simple-to-make White Bean Salad with Radishes.

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Beans - the Perfect Meat Substitute
I attended a beautiful luncheon this weekend at Hafner Vineyard in Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California. They are a family owned and operated vineyard and winery. And when I say family owned and operated, I mean it. We were wined and dined by the 87 year old patriarch who founded the winery. Every key job is filled by a family member including the winemaker and head of sales. Even their granddaughter, who recently joined the staff, was pouring wine.  The entire family is so passionate about their business that each of them choked up as they gave their welcome speeches.  They truly love growing and making wine and really show their customers their gratitude. Something that is quite rare these days.

Besides their incredible hospitality, I was very impressed with their menu. When you go to lunch in wine country, you can pretty much expect it to be meat and cheese heavy but I was shocked and delighted that their was so much on the menu that I could enjoy. Yes, there was meat and cheese, but they also served a delicious green salad, grilled asparagus and a large platter of white beans! This white bean salad inspired me to create a recipe as soon as I got home. I thought it would be a wonderful dish for anyone to serve, especially if they happen to be entertaining vegans for lunch. White beans are a wonderful source of protein and are a great substitution for meat. Today I will share my quick and easy version of white bean salad that gets some extra crunch and spice from fresh radishes.

Canned Beans and BPA
I often use canned beans when I'm in a hurry. They are a great convenience. Not many of us have the extra hours in the day to cook beans. But besides being careful to select canned beans with low sodium, there is another thing to look for - BPA.

BPA, or bisphenol-A, is an industrial chemical used in food and drink containers.  It mimics estrogen and is an endocrine disruptor because it can act like the body's hormones. It is linked to an increased risk of infertility, obesity, breast and reproductive system cancer and more.  Much of the focus has been on BPA in plastic bottles and, in fact, it is now banned in baby bottles and children's cups. But the FDA still allows its use in cans and their testing indicates that 90% of popular canned foods show the presence of BPA.

Surveys by the CDC found BPA in the bodies of every person over 6 years of age - and in 90% of babies in the womb!

So if you are buying canned beans and want to avoid BPA, look for "BPA-Free" on the label. Eden Foods has been the trail blazer with respect to providing BPA-free cans. 

Look for BPA Free Lining when buying canned food.

Eden Foods has been a pioneer in this area.

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White Bean Salad with Radishes
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 6 servings]

2 (15 oz) cans Eden Cannellini beans, drained
1/4 cup diced red onion
6 radishes, cut in half, thinly sliced
2 packed teaspoons fresh thyme (see Note)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon cold-pressed hemp oil
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
Greens (optional)

Mix beans, onion, radishes and fresh thyme in a bowl.

Mix lemon juice and oil in a cup and stir to combine. Pour over the bean mixture.

Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over greens.

Per serving: 162 calories, 6 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 423 mg omega-3 and 1,646 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 7 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 6 g dietary fiber and 243 mg sodium.

Note: Fresh thyme is far better than dried thyme in this recipe. But if you have to use dried thyme, use it very sparingly (maybe 1/4 teaspoon to start) and rehydrate it in the dressing before putting it on the salad.

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