Recipe: Beans In Your Salad Dressing Add Protein - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures Recipe: Beans In Your Salad Dressing Add Protein
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Recipe: Beans In Your Salad Dressing Add Protein

Salad Hummus Dressing
[1] A Mediterranean salad with hummus added to vinaigrette (photo courtesy Bush’s Best).

Cannellini Beans
[2] Cannellini beans (photo courtesy Food To Live). Beans vary by size and flavor nuances.

Marrow Beans
[3] Marrow beans (photo courtesy Veggie Belly).

Navy Beans

[4] Navy beans, the smallest of the white beans (photo courtesy Gourmet Food World).


If you dine at Japanese restaurants, you likely have come across a carrot-ginger vinaigrette on your salad—a recipe so good we don’t understand why we don’t find it everywhere.

But salad dressings have advanced in another direction. Both hummus and tahini have become popular additions to vinaigrettes (see the tahini dressing recipe below).

Chickpeas, the base of hummus, are beans: garbanzo beans. Now that the bean barrier has been broken, anyone who likes a creamy-style dressing (photo #1) can use bean purée instead of dairy products to make it.

According to Flavor & The Menu, salad chains are leading the charge.

Sweetgreen, for example, offers a cucumber tahini yogurt dressing and a carrot chili vinaigrette.

“Salads have seen a renaissance [of ingredients], so it makes sense that the most integral component—the salad dressing—should see the next area of culinary innovation,” says Rob Corliss, consulting chef for Bush’s Best.

He suggests three ways to add bean purées to salad dressings:

  • Add hummus to Caesar dressing for a creamy hummus Caesar dressing.
  • Add a purée of cannellini beans (photo #2) to a tomato-Parmesan dressing.
  • Make a Green Goddess‡‡ dressing with a base of blended Great Northern beans and Greek yogurt.
    We suggest: Use white beans so the dressing looks creamy white—unless you want a red color (kidney beans), black color (black beans), or other shade.

    White beans include the Boston bean, cannellini (a.k.a. white kidney bean), great northern bean, marrow bean (photo #3), navy bean (photo #4), and Yankee bean.

    The different varieties are different sizes but can be substituted for one another in a purée. Each variety has a slightly different flavor. The marrow bean, for example, has a subtle flavor of bacon.

    A bonus: beans add protein and some vitamins* to the dressing.

    Here’s a template using a hummus salad dressing. Substitute puréed beans of choice for the hummus.

  • 1/2 cup hummus or bean purée
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon za’atar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    1. WHISK the hummus with the other ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

    2. SERVE or refrigerate. If the dressing separates, just whisk it.


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or substitute
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning†
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons honey‡

    1. BLEND all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a container, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour or longer so the flavors can meld.

    Here’s how one cook created hummus salad dressing in three different ways.

    Get a can of beans and head to the food processor: You’re ready to purée.

    Add the purée to taste to a vinaigrette (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar or lemon/lime juice).


    *Per tablespoon, beans have 2.6g protein plus hits of calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C. Typical salad dressings are carbs and fats, with zero protein.

    †You can purchase an Italian seasoning blend or make your own: Combine two tablespoons each, of basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Store in an airtight container away from light and heat.

    ‡Personally, we don’t like a sweet dressing. We use 1 teaspoon of honey for balance, but that’s it. You can also add 1/2 teaspoon of agave or a large pinch of sugar.

    ‡‡Green goddess is a salad dressing, typically containing mayonnaise, sour cream, chervil, chives, anchovy, tarragon, lemon juice, and pepper.

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