White Bean and Red Pepper Salad with Pine Nut Dressing

  • Servings: 8

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  • 1 1/2 cups dried large white beans, such as white Aztec, gigantes or limas (9 ounces), soaked overnight in cold water and drained
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt
  • 2 large red bell peppers—halved lengthwise, cored and seeded
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 1/4 cup water
  • One 4-inch square of crustless white bread
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup black olives, such as NiÇoise

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large saucepan, cover the beans generously with water. Add 1 garlic clove and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over low heat until the beans are almost tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and simmer until the beans are tender, about 20 minutes longer. Measure out and reserve 1/4 cup of the bean cooking liquid.

  2. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Flatten the red peppers with your hands and brush the skins with oil; arrange skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from the heat for about 8 minutes, or until the skins are blistered and charred in places.

  3. Transfer the peppers to a plate and stack them to steam and cool. Remove the skins and slice the peppers lengthwise into 1-inch strips.

  4. In a shallow bowl, pour the water over the bread and set aside for 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the 1 remaining garlic clove. In a food processor, combine the bread with the garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of warm bean cooking liquid and puree until the sauce is smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.

  5. Drain the beans thoroughly. Add them to the sauce along with 2 tablespoons of the parsley; fold them into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the red peppers, olives and the remaining 1 tablespoon of parsley and serve.

Make Ahead

The salad can be prepared through Step 3 and refrigerated overnight. Chill the beans and peppers separately. Rewarm the beans before continuing and serve the salad at room temperature.

Suggested Pairing

White beans, roasted peppers and a nutty dressing give this salad plenty of substance. A flavorful white wine with enough acidity to cut the richness would work particularly well. Try one from Spain.

Contributed By Photo © Beatriz Da Costa Published December 1999

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