A Vegan Take on Caprese Salad

Tomato-and-White Bean Salad with Lemongrass and Basil Photo © Kristin Donnelly
By Kristin Donnelly Posted September 10, 2014

The Caprese salad is a cliché for a reason—when tomatoes are in season, there is no better way to serve them than with milky mozzarella, spicy basil and fruity olive oil.

These healthy recipes are all created to pair with wine (which has 120 to 150 calories for a 5-ounce glass)—all for 600 calories or fewer.

The Caprese salad is a cliché for a reason—when tomatoes are in season, there is no better way to serve them than with milky mozzarella, spicy basil and fruity olive oil. This version, made with an olive-oil rich bean salad, was originally intended for the vegan (or dairy-free) friends in your life, but it’s so good that omnivores will love it, too.

If you have the patience, you will be rewarded with a tastier salad if you soak and cook dried beans, but let’s be honest: Who wants have something bubbling away on the stove for an hour during the last few weeks of summer? To vastly improve the flavor of canned beans, simmer them for a few minutes with garlic and bay leaves.

The keys here are using great tomatoes (of course) along with a healthy amount of olive oil and salt. Inspired by a salad I found while paging through Patricia Wells’s The Provence Cookbook, I added a little lemongrass to the beans (before you scoff, she says lemongrass grows well in the south of France). The dish is still delicious without it.

There are lots of wines you could drink with this end-of-summer, Mediterranean-inspired salad but a rosé seems most fitting.

Tomato–and–White Bean Salad with Lemongrass and Basil
Active: 15 MIN; Total: 40 MIN
2 Servings

One 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained, or a scant 2 cups cooked beans
2 peeled garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemongrass (from 1 stalk, optional)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium tomatoes or 3 large tomatoes, sliced into rounds or wedges
Basil leaves, torn, for garnish

1. In a medium pot, combine the beans with the garlic and bay leaves. Cover with water and simmer over moderately low heat until the beans lose some of the canned flavor, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and discard the garlic and bay leaves.

2. In a bowl, gently toss the beans with the lemongrass and the olive oil. Season generously with salt and a few grinds of pepper.

3. Arrange the tomatoes on 2 plates. Spoon the bean salad in the center of each. Garnish the salads with basil and a few more grinds of pepper and serve. Make ahead The bean salad can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

One serving 443 cal, 28 gm fat, 3.8 gm sat fat, 46 gm carb, 17 gm fiber, 14 gm protein.

Wine A pale pink French rosé, such as 2013 Domaine la Colombe Coteaux Varois Rosé.

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: 23 Summer Salads
24 Recipes with Basil
25 Ways to Cook with Herbs

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