Recipe: Summer Main Course Salad with Beans and Basil

It might seem strange to start a salad recipe by talking about a sausage. But when a friend gave us some beautiful homemade links, we immediately thought of the classic Tuscan sausage and cannellini bean soup. Since the warm weather wasn't so conducive to soup, it became a light and flavorful composed salad.

And, though the sausage was fantastically delicious, don't hesitate to make this if you don't have one or if you don't eat meat (or are just eating more vegetarian meals). It stands beautifully on its own as a main course salad, full of Mediterranean flavors of summer.

Recipe: Main Course Salad with Beans, Olives, and Basil
Serves 2 to 4

2 italian sausages
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
1 cup basil, washed and stems removed, torn into medium-sized pieces
1 15 oz can cannellini beans or other small white beans, drained and washed.
1 jarred roasted pepper
12 kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts

Heat grill to medium high and cook sausage until rich golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon, and black pepper, then add greens and basil.

Spread dressed greens on a dinner plate, then add washed and drained beans.

Finely chop each of the remaining ingredients separately, then plate on top of beans and greens in concentric circles.

When sausage has finished cooking, let rest for a moment, then slice and add to top of salad. Serve.

Related: Recipe: Mixed New Potato Salad with Sweet Basil and Shallots

(Image: Nina Callaway)

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