Sometimes cancelled flights and changed plans are a blessing. Last week I was supposed to attend a conference in Princeton, NJ. I was taking my father with me for a special weekend in New York and my husband was to meet us there. Mother nature intervened. A newsworthy blizzard arrived, our flights were cancelled, the conference postponed and the three of us were sitting in my kitchen in Los Angeles (where else?) packed suitcases in hand, with the babysitter enroute and paid for. Much to my husband’s surprise I said – “why don’t we get in the car and drive to Vegas?” Any of you who know me will realize spontaneity is not in my vernacular, it’s a wonder I even know how to spell it. Perhaps the moon was in the proper alignment, or some such thing – and in a matter of 15 minutes we had hotel reservations, tickets to Cirque du Soliel’s “O” and a multitude of meals planned.
Our three-day spontaneous Vegas holiday was way beyond fabulous. We ate great food, talked for hours, saw the Hoover Dam, shopped, took in “O,” and lost a teeny-tiny bit of money playing black jack. My kids and I are huge fans of Iron Chef Bobby Flay, so we made a point of eating at Mesa Grill. The food was excellent. To start the meal we shared a chopped salad that was a combination of a traditional four bean salad and a chopped salad, with a slight Southwestern flair. It wasn’t as sweet as most 4 bean salads (my Grandmother made such a salad in her day – I’ll post her recipe soon). I came home and set to work recreating the dish. The light, fresh flavor of this salad with a hint of citrus makes a great pairing for a spicy main course. Let me know what you think is the right dish to serve.
Two Bean Chopped Salad
- 1 can red beans
- 1 can garbanzo beans
- ½ red onion, thinly sliced (optional)
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons lime juice
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups chopped Persian cucumbers
- 2 heads Romaine lettuce, exterior leaves removed, washed and coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup finely chopped chives
Drain and rinse the beans. Mix the beans together in a medium bowl. Add the red onion.
Beat together the oil, sugar, vinegar and limejuice. Pour over the bean and onion mixture. Allow to sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, strain the beans and onions and reserve the salad dressing.
Just before serving add the tomatoes and cucumbers. Toss with the chopped Romaine lettuce, and chives and enough dressing to coat the salad. Serve.