Garbanzo Bean and Brown Rice Salad with Mint

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.


4 thoughts on “Garbanzo Bean and Brown Rice Salad with Mint

  1. bodanzarama

    First: garbonzo beans are one of my all-time favorite foods. In my family we call them \”ceci\” or \”ceci beans\”. I\’m sure the correct textbook Italian pronounciation wouls sound like CHAY-chee? But in my family it was pronounced \”CHEE-gee\”.

    Second: I cook for two and leftovers are the next day\’s lunch. In fact, I purposely cook with leftovers in mind.

  2. Pam

    On a regular basis, I cook for two. Often my Mom will join us, or I’ll take dinner to her. If I make a large batch of something i.e. soup, marinara sauce, etc., I’ll also deliver to my sister and her family. I love having leftovers in the fridge, and we’ll eat them in one form or another until they are gone. On occasion, the leftovers begin to add up a bit so we’ll have “Little Dab Night!”

  3. Natalie

    Monday to Friday I am generally cooking for me and the wee lad. I always cook far too much for one meal. Sometimes leftovers get frozen or we just keep eating them during the week. This week I made bolognaise which did us for four meals!

  4. Natalie

    This looks great. My mum-in-law has just returned from Greece with a big chunk of feta cheese for me. I think some of it may be heading toward this delicious salad.


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