We were out of town this weekend for a birthday. Between grabbing food at the airport, snacking on whatever options were available on the party spread, and forgoing actual dinner to grab a slice of pizza, I was beyond ready for a real, hot meal with visible nutritional value.Do you get hungry for vegetables when you go too long without? I sure do. I was actually considering a salad, but I wanted something hot as well. Soup and salad? Is that too snacky?
I was paging through The Passionate Vegetarian, which is the first vegetarian cookbook I ever got, and was drawn to two recipes: first, there was a simple salad dressing from pureed cannellini beans and vinaigrette. Second, there was a recipe for what calls killed greens, which are greens (lettuce, spinach, other greens) that wilt under a hot, thin dressing. I decided to put those two ideas together and make a hot veggie salad.
For vegetables, I grilled two big portobello caps along with some leftover red bell pepper. When they were close to done, I added a few cherry tomatoes and some French green beans. I like my green beans crisp and my tomatoes only warmed through, whereas I wanted the portobellos grilled and tender.
I made a dressing from a drained, rinsed can of cannellini beans, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Go easy on the vinegar as the beans are so mild you might wind up with too much of a kick. I pureed this in a food processor and heated in a small saucepan. I tasted it as I went, but I think that vinegar intensified after some time. The recipe I saw in the book actually mentioned pureeing beans with some store-bought vinaigrette, so I figured I was on the right track.
Here’s where the killed part comes in: I filled my plate with uncooked organic baby spinach and put the hot mushroom cap on top, then some other veggies, and poured the bean dressing over everything. The heat from the mushroom and beans wilted the spinach, and some of the outer pieces were still raw. This made for a delicious salad meal, and one that I would certainly do again. I might work on tweaking the dressing, but I love white beans and the beany dressing really rounded out the meal and made it filling.
Have you ever had killed greens? Do you have another name for hot salads?