Think of grilled tomato white bean salad as the summer version of a hearty bowl of bean and veggie soup. Beans and vegetables are two things I can’t live without, so I had an idea to turn them into a satisfying warm weather dish. My garden is a battleground for the tomatoes between the squirrel’s and me, so I grabbed the ripe ones, and gave them a good char on the grill. That and white beans, fresh basil, Parmesan shavings and a balsamic reduction and I’m in heaven until it’s time to make soup again.
Going the extra mile with beans: Sure you can buy a can of beans and be done with it, but dried beans are so much tastier and they don’t need much attention at all, just a little planning. In fact, you can make a big batch and freeze them in 1-cup portions. Then, you’ll have all the convenience of a can but homemade. Grilled tomato white bean salad is simply a marriage of two great ingredients, so feel free to pile on the beans (for a satisfying meal) or scatter a few here and there for a simple side.
Why balsamic reduction?: Just what it sounds like, straight up balsamic vinegar that’s reduced to a concentrated syrup. Sweeter and full of flavor, it’s perfect to drizzle over just about anything! You don’t need to buy an expensive bottle of vinegar to make it either, but make sure you have your kitchen fan on because the vinegar is quit pungent as it reduces. Worth it though, especially on grilled tomato white bean salad.
- ½ cup dried small white beans
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 basil sprig
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 small/medium ripe tomatoes (local if possible)
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper
- 1-cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
- ½ cup fresh basil, loosely packed and sliced
- For the beans: Place beans in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight. Drain, then, add to a medium pot with garlic, basil sprig, 1-tablespoon olive oil and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, stir, and reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer 1 hour until beans are soft. Drain and remove garlic and basil. Season to taste with salt and set aside.
- For the balsamic reduction: Place vinegar in a small saucepan and simmer until reduced to ¼ cup (15 minutes) and the vinegar is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool.
- For the salad: Pre-heat the grill (or a grill pan) to high. Slice the tomatoes horizontally and brush the cut side with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Place on the hot grill and cook undisturbed about 5 minutes just to soften the tomatoes and get char marks. Remove to a serving platter and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the beans over the tomatoes, followed by Parmesan and basil. Drizzle remaining olive oil and balsamic reduction over the tomatoes and beans and serve.
Please allow overnight soaking for beans