Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Low(er) Fat Three Bean and Potato Salad

There's a very simple reason why I have a tag just for potatoes: I love 'em. In the summer, especially in blazing hot NC, my favorite way to eat them is in a salad. About a month ago, I shared a variation of my go-to potato salad recipe (and another chapter of the anti-mayo chronicles). The salad is delicious, in no small part thanks to 1/3 cup of olive oil, or 1 1/4 tablespoon per each serving. I don't know about you, but that's honestly not enough fat to make me think twice. That's why I hadn't considered making a leaner dressing until about a week ago, when I came across a recipe on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen for a (not surprisingly) fat free potato salad. I thought I'd give it try because, after all, it is bikini season.

My version of the salad does have some oil (couldn't part with all of it, sorry!), but only 3 tablespoons, or 1/2 tablespoons per serving. That's less than half of the fat in the potato salad I mentioned earlier. So, what's the secret? How does one make a creamy dressing without the extra oil? Blended potatoes! When combined with a bit of oil, vinegar, some herbs, garlic, salt and spices they form a thick and tasty dressing. Is Susan Voisin a food magician or what? Using a potato-based dressing will obviously yield a lighter salad, but I'd say one that's just as enjoyable.

Low(er) Fat Three Bean and Potato Salad
Makes 6 servings
Adapted from Susan Voisin's Potato-Green Bean Salad
  • 1 3/4 lbs / 795 g new red potatoes (another variety will work too), scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 lb / 455 g green beans, ends trimmed and washed
  • 1 15 oz / 425 g can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz / 425 g can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider (or other) vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon parsley
1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and add the potatoes. Cook them for about 8-13 minutes or until a little under done. Add in the green beans and continue to cook for another 3 or so minutes. Drain the potatoes and the green beans by pouring the contents of the pot into a colander. Quickly rinse the vegetables in cold water and then plunge the colander into a big bowl filled with ice and water; this will stop the cooking process. Once the potatoes and green beans are cool, pull them out of the ice bath and let them drain.

2.  Combine the garbanzo and kidney beans, bell pepper, celery and onion in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and green beans. Take about 1/2 cup of potatoes and toss them in a small food processor along with the olive oil, garlic, vinegar, miso, salt, pepper and parsley. Process until smooth. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Take a few test bites and adjust the dressing to your taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.