Filling Salads

Salads are so versatile: chop up some ingredients, toss them with dressing, and your fresh, one-dish meal is ready to eat. Get salad recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Salads dominate my harvest menu. They’re so versatile: chop up some ingredients, toss them with a bit of dressing, and your fresh, one-dish meal is ready to eat. I start making homegrown salads as soon as spring greens show true leaves and don’t stop until the ground freezes.

Most salads fit the “no recipe required” category. Once you find your preferred ratios, even the dressing can be made on the spot with whatever’s at hand. If you follow @twiceastastyblog on Instagram you’ll find plenty of my daily salads. But I still get enough requests for ingredients and proportions that you’ll find a couple dozen salad and dressing recipes on the blog and can even gather your friends for a workshop. Some of these recipes are traditional, like panzanella, sunomono, and the two American classics in this week’s post. But as you’ll learn, all of these salads can be adapted based on what’s in season and what you have on hand.

Consider Three-Bean Salad: In season, I make it with fresh snap beans, tomatoes, and herbs. Out of season, I make it with pickled beans, frozen cherry tomatoes, and dried herbs. Anything I don’t have freshly prepped at home, like shell beans and mustard, can be replaced with store-bought equivalents.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 5 main ingredients plus some herbs and kitchen staples.
1. Prep the fresh ingredients.
2. Mix the main ingredients.
3. Make and mix in the dressing.
4. Add the delicate ingredients and enjoy.

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Three-Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Print
1/2 pound snap beans in 1-inch pieces
1-1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained
1-1/2 cups cooked cannellini beans, drained
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves roasted or fresh garlic, minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Spicy German-Style Mustard
1/4 cup fresh basil or parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons scallions, onion tops, or chives, sliced
6 ounces Lemon Cheese, crumbled, or Quick Homemade Mozzarella, cubed

In a large salad bowl, combine all beans and the tomatoes. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, tossing thoroughly to mix. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard to a small jar; shake well and immediately pour over and fold into the salad. Top with the herbs, scallions, and cheese, and mix gently to combine. Set in the refrigerator for 1 hour to let the flavors blend before serving. Serves 4–6.

Tips & Tricks
  • Don’t be put off by the ingredient list in this week’s recipes (here and below). If you don’t have something on hand, you can leave it out or find a substitute and still create a delicious salad. Other shell beans, like chickpeas, work well. Bell pepper can replace tomatoes. And a range of fresh herbs can give a different spin on the flavors.
  • Out of season, you can still pull off this salad—and may even prefer its vinegary tang. Swap in a pint jar of Definitely Dilly Beans and 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes or roasted bell peppers, and consider adding 14 ounces of marinated artichoke hearts. Fresh herbs can be replaced by dried or salt-preserved ones mixed into the dressing.
  • If you’re vegan, skip the cheese and add a tablespoon of toasted sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds for fun. If you’re a meat eater, this salad can be served as a filling side or can be pumped up with chunks of precooked chicken or steak.
  • In season, I love the crunch of raw snap beans freshly harvested from the garden. If you’re using older beans or dislike the raw crunch, blanch them in boiling water for a couple of minutes.
  • I have lots of reasons for choosing to cook my own dried beans at home. But commercially canned beans work well if you didn’t plan ahead. A 15-ounce can yields about 1-1/2 cups of beans.


Salads are so versatile: chop up some ingredients, toss them with dressing, and your fresh, one-dish meal is ready to eat. Get salad recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.

Twice as Tasty

Salads are so versatile: chop up some ingredients, toss them with dressing, and your fresh, one-dish meal is ready to eat. Get salad recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.Taco salad was one of my favorite homemade meals as a teenager. Something about the crunch of the chips, the zing of the dressing, and the fresh veg thrilled my taste buds. The original recipe came from a family friend. When my mom put together a family cookbook in 1990, she wrote, “I’ve reduced the recipe for our family plus some leftovers, which Julie always wants to take in her lunch.” My lunch buddies would be eating sandwiches, bagels, and yogurt, and I would be crushing tortilla chips into this salad, soggy lettuce and all.

These days, I’m just as thrilled with the salad but wanted to upgrade it to the ingredients I keep on hand. It’s been nearly 30 years since I ate red meat, so I’ve doubled down on beans instead of the original recipe’s 1/2 pound “dead cow.” My fridge rarely holds mayonnaise and ketchup, but homemade sour cream, yogurt, and salsa are staples.

The biggest challenge is seasonal. I’ve added homegrown corn and tomatoes to the recipe, but by the time my corn is ready to harvest, the only green that hasn’t bolted is kale. Fortunately, kale holds up to this heavy salad as well as Romaine, the original ingredient: Pick the youngest kale leaves you can, pull them from the center rib, and massage them for a couple of minutes with some lime juice and salt. In spring, you can make this salad with whatever greens are ready for harvest if you swap in frozen Grilled Corn, tomatoes, and dried herbs. Leftover Seasoned Pot Beans can be dropped in, and commercial canned beans and other store-bought ingredients can replace any homemade ones you don’t have on hand.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You just need tortilla chips, beans, and some fresh ingredients, plus some spices and kitchen staples for the dressing.
1. Prep the fresh ingredients.
2. Heat the main ingredients.
3. Make and mix in the dressing.
4. Add the delicate ingredients and base layer enjoy.

InstagramMake it, share it. Tag your photos: @twiceastastyblog and #twiceastastyblog

Taco Salad

  • Servings: 4–6
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Print
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves roasted or fresh garlic, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Grilled Corn kernels
1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
1-1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, drained
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon homemade chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup Homemade Sour Cream or Fresh Yogurt
4 tablespoons prepared salsa
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup green olives, sliced
1/2 cup scallions or onion tops, sliced
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
2 cups fresh greens, chopped or shredded
2-1/2 cups tortilla chips, coarsely crumbled
lime wedges for garnish

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, corn, tomatoes, and beans, along with the paprika, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomato cooks down, about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Stir together the sour cream or yogurt, salsa, Worcestershire sauce, and cumin. Add the cilantro, avocado, olives, scallions, and cheese to the bowl of beans; mix gently, and then fold in the dressing. Serve over fresh greens and crumbled tortilla chips, with lime wedges for garnish. Serves 4–6.

Tips & Tricks
  • I love salads with lots of stuff, so as with Three-Bean Salad, don’t be put off by the ingredient list. There’s so much going on in this meal that you can leave things out and still enjoy the flavors.
  • Taco salad makes a fabulous fall meal, but some easy substitutions put it on the table any time of year. In spring, I use fresh greens like leaf lettuce and arugula, garlic scapes, and walking onion tops. You can also mix frozen corn, tomatoes, and cilantro pesto or dried herbs into the beans.
  • Meat eaters can easily revert to the original recipe and add 1/2 pound of browned ground beef—or any other precooked meat. Vegetarians can skip the Worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovies.
  • The bean mixture keeps well on its own for a couple of days, so you can make it ahead or prepare a larger batch for lunches and leftovers. Even the fully dressed salad works well as a next-day lunch, although I suggest adding the avocado, along with the greens and chips, just before serving.

Want to play with more variations? Twice as Tasty is teaching these techniques in a workshop held in your own kitchen, among friends—and with my personal help. Click here to learn more.

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