Don’t waste those odds and ends left over in the refrigerator. Use them in this cool summer salad with rice and garbanzo beans.
I’m sort of like the leftover police, always scanning my refrigerator for fugitive bowls of cooked beans hiding behind the condiments, half-bunches of cilantro going quietly bad in the vegetable drawer, or that all-too-common situation: small containers of leftover cooked rice that have been forgotten, in an unsavory huddle on the bottom shelf.
These are the hazards of cooking solo meals, but the leftovers don’t have to end up in the compost bin if I stay vigilant.
Sometimes I plan ahead for several meals. Other times I start yanking bits and pieces out of the fridge, line them up, and stare hard until inspiration strikes. This salad came about by the latter method. It’s really a riff on the Farro Salad with Preserved Lemons that I made a few weeks ago. In fact, I suppose that half container of crumbled feta I found was left over from that recipe. But the garlicky oil and vinegar dressing and the mint give this salad its own unique fresh, tart, summery flavor.
Scale this up or down depending on how many servings you want, or the amount of ingredients you have to work with.
I have a clump of mint growing near my back door, so I can go out and clip a few leaves at a time. If you buy a package of fresh mint at the grocery store, I recommend using the rest for icy summer drinks like Pimm’s Cup. Waste not, want not, after all.
Readers, I’m curious: How many people do you usually cook for each night? And how do you manage leftovers?
Garbanzo Bean and Brown Rice Salad with Mint
- 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 2 tbsp each oil and vinegar
- ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tomato, diced
- ½ tsp Za’atar
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Taste for salt, but it probably won’t need much–if any. This salad improves after sitting in the refrigerator for a while to allow the flavors to blend.