A customer came up to the pastry case at the Teahouse Kuan Yin once and scanned the attractive offerings dubiously. She asked, “What do you have that doesn’t have wheat…or sugar…or fat?” Frank, my partner in the business at the time, looked over the bountiful pastry case and answered brightly, “Napkins.”
This is my version of a salad I had at Tavolàta in Seattle’s Belltown district. The original doesn’t include the fennel, but I had some on hand and it is an excellent addition to a simple bean salad. The original uses golden raisins, and very few of those, but I’ve raised the proportion and use ordinary raisins and also dried cranberries.
It is quite easy to put together, full of good-for-you fiber, no added sugar, and it is light & delicious. It is gluten-free and vegan, for those of you to whom that matters. I like it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Garbanzo, Celery & Fennel Salad
Canned garbanzo beans are handy and inexpensive, but you don’t control the amount of sodium in them and some even have sugar added, which is ridiculous. With a little forethought, you can use dried beans and it is both cheaper and better. I boil up a big batch of dried beans till just done — not mushy — and freeze them, unsalted, in 16oz bags. Certainly as handy as canned. Six cups of dried garbanzo beans will cook up into 5 x 16 oz packs, by volume about 3.5 cups each.
- zest of one small lemon
- juice of 2 small lemons (about 1/4c)
- 1/2c extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2t salt
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3.5c /16 oz cooked garbanzo beans
- 1c sliced celery
- 1c thinly sliced fennel bulb (about 1/2 a bulb)
- 1/2c chopped parsley
- 1/3 c raisins &/or 1/3c dried cranberries
- Make the dressing by zipping the lemon zest & juice with the olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender, or whisk it by hand.
- Mix all the other ingredients together and add the dressing, stirring as you go. You probably won’t need all the dressing.
- Let it sit for a bit. Adjust salt and lemon to your taste.
Well, that was easy, wasn’t it?