I love a good salad, but sometimes I want something a little heartier. This is when salads boosted with beans, grains, or rice come to the rescue. They’re cool and refreshing, don’t take much time to put together, and they are indeed filling.

When my fancy friend Colleen mentioned that she was making dinner with white beans, something clicked. I had no idea what I was going to eat, but white beans sounded delicious, so I went straight to my nearby Whole Foods and picked some up along with a few other ingredients that inspired me. (All organic, of course.) Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Recipe: White Bean and Kale Salad with LemonWhite Bean and Kale Salad with Lemon

  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 bunch green kale
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans (I used cannellini), or 2 (15-ounce) cans, drained
  • 8 plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large shallot, or 1/2 medium red onion, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill, or parsley
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Finely mince the zest of 1/2 of your lemon. Prepare the kale by removing and discarding the tough, thick ribs running down the center of each leaf. Coarsely chop the leaves into bite sized pieces. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the kale with the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a healthy dose of black pepper. Massage and squeeze the kale firmly so that the leaves begin to soften as the fibers break down. Let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the white beans, tomatoes, shallot, dill, and chia seeds along with the juice of the remaining 1/2 lemon, the reserved lemon zest, and the remaining 2 1/2 tsp olive oil.

After the kale has rested, give it a few more firm squeezes to ensure that it’s nice and soft. Toss with the bean mixture, and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. You can eat this right away, but the flavors improve if allowed to sit for at least an hour. This recipe will keep for up to 5 days if stored in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Makes 4 to 6 servings