Summer Fest: Beans, Beans

By: Michelle Buffardi

We're teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we'll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you're harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart, the more you eat, the more  you . . . Improve your cholesterol. What'd you think I was going to say? Seriously, studies have shown that beans lower cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus they're high in fiber and fill you up so you crave less bad-for-you foods.

So why do these little heart-helpers often get a bad rap? (At least at picnics anyway.) It seems that one guest always ruins the party by bringing a lame 3-bean salad, so tangy you're not sure if it's intentional or spoiled. I've even suspected some of my family members of bringing canned 3-bean salad. So gross. Don't let this happen to you. Here are 7 spectacular bean salads that will, along with the Garden Bean Salad pictured above, not only save your next picnic, but beans' reputation as well.

Smitten Kitchen's Mixed Bean Salad, inspired by Mario Batali's NYC gastropub, The Spotted Pig:

Bal Arenson's Coconut Bean Salad, which, I might add, can be made in seconds:

Potato-Green Bean Salad With Lemon and Basil from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (note the inventive use of potatoes in the pesto instead of oil):

Warm Green Bean Salad With Tomatoes from My Gourmet Connection:

So there you go. The more you eat, the better you feel, so eat your beans at every meal.

More Greens, Beans and Herbs with Friends and Family:

Don't forget to join the conversation on twitter, and check out our thoughts on zukes and cukes and corn.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Summer Produce: Beans and Greens

Savor summer produce like fresh cukes and zukes, fresh from the farm stand.

Summer Fest: Plum Good Sweets

Get Cooking Channel's best plum dessert recipes, including Plum Upside Down Cake, Kelsey Nixon's Berry Crisp with Plums and more.

Summer Fest: Savory Watermelon Recipes

While simply slicing up your melon and eating it straight from the rind is one of the staple desserts of summer, watermelon is a great option for savory recipes as well.

Summer Fest: Fresh Corn Muffins

Week five of our season-long garden party Summer Fest 2011 welcomes food and garden bloggers to feature garden-to-table recipes and tips. We’ll help you to enjoy all that this season has to offer. So far, we’ve delved into eggplant, peaches, cucumbers and cherries. Now we're on to a new crop: corn. Yes, I turned on my oven. It was worth it though to work sweet summer corn into a classic corn muffin recipe. These savory corn muffins are a great accompaniment to any summer dish but since I prefer to snack all day, I made them miniature. You can pick up corn right now from your local farmers' market, but there should also be plenty in stock at the supermarket.

Summer Fest: Very Cherry Sangria

In season summer fruit is so sweet and juicy, you don't even need to think about adding sugar to your favorite drinks, you can just add succulent fruit. One of the best ways to drink cherries this summer is in a classic fruity cocktail: sangria.

Summer Fest: Easy Tomato Galette

I grew up picking tomatoes straight from the garden and eating them like apples, warm from the sun. Since then, I've had a hard-and-fast two-tomato-a-day rule every summer. Sure, I love tomato salads, BLTs, and simple, garlicky sauce, but this summer, my favorite way to reach my daily quota is a slice of tomato galette.

On TV

Siba's Table

7:30am | 6:30c

Siba's Table

8:30am | 7:30c

Siba's Table

9:30am | 8:30c

Unique Eats

10am | 9c

Unique Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Unique Eats

11am | 10c

Unique Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Eats

12pm | 11c

Unique Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

1:30pm | 12:30c

Brunch at Bobby's

2:30pm | 1:30c

Man Fire Food

3:30pm | 2:30c

Man Fire Food

4:30pm | 3:30c

Man Fire Food

5:30pm | 4:30c

Man Fire Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Man Fire Food

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Man Fire Food

8pm | 7c

Man Fire Food

8:30pm | 7:30c

Man Fire Food

9:30pm | 8:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Man Fire Food

12am | 11c

Man Fire Food

12:30am | 11:30c

Man Fire Food

1am | 12c

Man Fire Food

1:30am | 12:30c

Big Bad BBQ Brawl

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Sundays 8|7c

Pick a Side!

The Snackdown

In our new animated series, we debate the most-pressing food matters of our time, like is cereal a soup?

So Much Pretty Food Here