Tuscan Salmon Salad with Balsamic Rosemary Black Beans

Fresh. Fast. Easy. This salad is perfect for a hearty lunch or even dinner when you are short on time and can't be bothered to get out a pan. My mom would make it in Spring and Summer when she didn't want to turn on the stove or oven, which would only have made our kitchen even warmer than it already gets in hot, humid Charlotte. All you'll need is a cutting board and a bowl!

Despite how simple this is to prepare, it makes quite a culinary impression. I attribute this all to the rosemary. It's aromatic, earthy and absolutely delicious, but not a combination I would have come up with on my own. And the colors make it just so attractive and appetizing. If you are feeling extra fancy, like garden party fancy, you can sprinkle pine nuts and violet flowers on top.  This is sure to impress even Ina Garten herself.

Besides looking and smelling wonderful, this meal is also great in terms of nutrition. Healthy fats, high protein and fiber along with a long list of vitamins and minerals.

Wild salmon is one of the best sources you will find for essential omega-3 fats, which your body cannot make on its own. The fats are linked to a long list of health benefits from improved brain function and cardiovascular health to lower triglyceride levels in blood, reduced inflammation in the body and cancer prevention. There is also a long list of interesting articles on this topic, but here are a few: Mayo Clinic, Webmd, Sciencedaily.com, Forbes (with link to UCLA study)

Black beans are packed full of wonderful fiber. The fiber helps you regular blood sugar, stay full longer and prevent spikes in the hormone insulin, which tells your body to store sugar in fat cells. Plus they give you protein!

Celery provides you with a good dose of vitamins and minerals despite containing only 10 calories per stalk. They are good source of vitamin A, C, K and B6, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, carotenoids, folic acid and fiber. Plus they are shown to help lower blood pressure thanks to their phyochemicals called phthalides, which help relax muscles in artery walls and reduce stress hormones. Celery also has cancer fighting properties: Acetylenics and apigenin are shown to stop the growth of cancer cell.

Garlic consumed raw acts as an antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-parasitic addition to the dish. Plus, it's shown to help lower bad cholesterol without bringing down the good high-density lipoproteins we need.

Rosemary contains caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, which are anti-inflammtory and may help reduce inflammation associated with asthma, liver disease and heart disease. It also helps with Alzheimers by preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Tuscan Salmon Salad with Balsamic Rosemary Black Beans

Total time: 20 minutes
Servies: 2-3


15 oz. can black beans, rinsed, dried
2 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (buy it or make it yourself with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper)
1/2 large red pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 green onions, sliced 
Salt and pepper
7 oz. can wild salmon packed in water or olive oil, flaked (OR if you feel like cooking after all, cook some fresh salmon in a pan)
2 carrot, grated
1/2 cup red cabbage 
3 celery stalks, finely diced
Head romaine lettuce, chopped
Optional: pine nuts and violets


1. In a medium bowl, combine black beans, rosemary, celery, red pepper, garlic and onions. 2. Pour balsamic vinaigrette over and toss and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Plate romaine and on top of the bed of lettuce add desired amounts of salmon, carrots, cabbage and black bean mixture. Serve with additional balsamic vinaigrette. 
Optional: Garnish with pine nuts and violets

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