White Bean & Bacon Salad

Well, here we are in the dead of winter. Nothing to do but hole up at coffee shops and watch Netflix in bed, right? Wrong. As much as I really need to finish watching Orange Is The New Black, I’ve got a serious case of cabin fever. This past weekend, I think it spread to my roommates, too.

In Boston, as I’m sure is the same everywhere during this polar vortex, any temperature above 20 degrees means it’s T-Shirt weather. Well, it was 40 on Saturday, which means it might as well have been summer vacation. And what’s everyone’s #1 summertime activity? No, not Slip-N-Slide. Grilling!

Our charcoal was waterlogged and frozen solid, so we were thankful when our charming corner store still had plenty of their summer supply left. For the record, by “charming” I mean filled with porno mags and paraphernalia…and, luckily, charcoal.

That night we huddled around the barbecue and grilled more bratwursts than we could eat. As fresh corn is hardly in season, we decided to concoct this here white bean and bacon salad as our side dish. It was one of those recipes that is less of a recipe and more of a bowl filled with a bunch of stuff that you hope tastes good.

Well, it was amazing. The cannellini beans are crazy creamy, the homemade tomato sauce is smoky, the parsley and lemon lend a fresh flavor, and the bacon adds an always welcome dose of umami crunch. Yum.

Ingredients (serves about 10)

  • 2 16 oz cans cannellini beans

  • 8 oz. can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme

  • Black pepper

  • Salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 bacon strips

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  • juice of ½ a lemon

1. In a small saucepan, bring tomatoes, thyme, garlic, and a bit of salt and pepper to a simmer. Stir occasionally until fragrant. 2. Cook the bacon until crispy. Let cool on a paper towel lined plate. 3. Drain and rinse the beans. Place in a large serving bowl. 4. Crumble bacon into bowl and add tomato sauce, parsley, and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Add extra salt to taste. 5. Refrigerate if you prefer a chilled side or serve immediately.