In certain parts of the country, a good three-bean salad is almost always the anchor to a potluck or picnic, the kinds of gatherings where sturdy, crowd-pleasing, portable — and, frankly, inexpensive — food is wanted. Countless variations are made with nothing more complex than the beans and bottled vinaigrette.
Some people with wheat intolerances can eat spelt, but it is a type of wheat, so it’s not suitable for people with serious aversions.
In this version the addition of spelt and canned hearts of palm adds tons of interest. A generous amount of fresh herbs provides brightness. Spelt is a whole grain that has been around since ancient times, but now that whole grains are back in the spotlight, it’s becoming popular again. Spelt is quite chewy and nutty, with large, fat, rice-shaped grains.
When cooking the spelt for this recipe, consider making extra. It’s nice to have later in the week for tossing into pilafs, soups and stews.
- 1/2 cup uncooked spelt
- 1-1/2 cups water or broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can hearts of palm, drained and rinsed, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 (15-1/2-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-1/2-ounce) can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
- 1 (15-1/2-ounce) can black beans, drained, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Soak spelt grains in enough water to cover overnight.
The next day, bring water or broth to a simmer in a medium pot, drain spelt and add to pot. Simmer 1 hour or until spelt is tender. Drain and let cool.
In large serving bowl, mix hearts of palm, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans and cooled spelt.
In small bowl, combine dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over bean salad and toss to coat evenly. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled. Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis, per serving: 240 calories, 5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, no cholesterol, 610 mg sodium, 38 g carbohydrate, 13 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 13 g protein