Every few months we get together with my extended family for a dinner and game night. We usually choose a theme. We have done: campfire, where we cooked dinner over the fire, usually hot dogs and s’mores. We have done homemade ravioli. We have done Mexican food night, Chinese food night, and pierogi night. In April, we will be christening my uncle’s new smoker. One of our most popular themes is pizza night. Whoever hosts will prepare the pizza dough and toppings and then we all make the pizzas together. We made 6 pizzas this year. 1 sausage, onion and green pepper, 1 sausage, 1 pepperoni and garlic, 1 hawaiian with pineapple and bacon, 1 bbq with chicken, bbq sauce, and red onions, and 1 veggie with artichokes and black olives. My cousin Cristina is always in charge of cheese. She has a knack for covering every millimeter with cheese. It might take her ½ an hour to cover the pizza but she doesn’t miss any of it. She is truly talented.
So, you might be wondering why I am going on about pizza when this post is supposed to be about beans. My one cousin is a very healthy eater. We try to tempt him with pizza, and cake, and hot dogs but he is very diligent about what he eats. In fact, he said he will never eat pizza again. Personally, I couldn’t go on living knowing I would never eat pizza again, but whatevs. Usually he will eat a salad or someone will cook him a hockey puck of a veggie burger. We knew there would not be a lot of options for him to eat besides pizza so we made him this bean salad. Let’s just say it was a hit. That, or he was desperate for food. You never know. My extended family are big beet eaters so they were pretty excited about the addition of beets to our usual bean and veggie salad. This is a great salad to make if you have healthy eaters or vegetarians coming for dinner. We roasted our beets in advance but I know they have already roasted beets in the produce section of our grocery store so that would save time.
1 cup roasted beets, diced (canned or pre-cooked will work too)
1 can kidney beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can cannellini beans
2 baby spinach
1 small zucchini, diced
1 lemon zested and juiced
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
Drain and rinse the beans and add to a large bowl. Season the beets and zucchini with salt and pepper. Add the diced cooked beets and diced raw zucchini to the beans. Add the spinach and toss. In a separate bowl whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, maple syrup, minced garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad; coat well. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but not overnight.
Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis