Marinated grilled chicken and cannellini bean salad
I’ve only just discovered cannellini beans and they are a revelation. They are a lovely creamy-textured bean that works in salads or as warm sides to meat dishes and they absorb any flavour you can throw at them. I’ve only tried the tinned variety so far and I’ve found them excellent and so convenient. In my first culinary encounter with them I roughly mashed them to accompany a seared salmon fillet and I thought I’d try them in a salad for a light Saturday lunch before we traipsed off to the museum for an afternoon of education. This dish is very easy to prepare. The chicken can be marinated and forgotten about (for at least 2 hours) until about 15 minutes before you want to eat.
600g chicken breast, cut into strips
2 400g tins cannellini beans
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
2 red onions
Couple of handfuls of baby spinach and rocket, washed
For the marinade
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
For the dressing
1 garlic clove crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine the marinade ingredients and chicken in a bowl, mixing well to get the chicken evenly coated. Cover and place in the fridge for a least 2 hours.
2. Drain and rinse the beans and place in a large bowl. Cut the tomatoes in half and add to the beans. Slice the onions into 1cm-thick rounds so that you have intact rings; do not separate the rings. Coat lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. To make the dressing combine all the ingredients in a clean jar, closing the lid tightly before shaking. Adjust flavourings after tasting.
4. Put you grill pan or barbecue on a high heat. Wait until it is really hot before carefully laying down the onion rounds. Grill until lightly charred on both sides. Chop roughly and add to the beans.
5. Grill you chicken for 2–3 mins each side and put aside on a warm plate.
6. Add the dressing and salad leaves to the beans and mix well. Serve salad with warm chicken.