$20 grocery week & italian two-bean salad

Welcome back!

For me, the inspiration for joining my partner in crime M in creating this blog was founded in the necessity to start following a weekly grocery budget. Now that I am [nearly] four weeks into my dietetic internship (during which I “work” 40 hours/week without pay) I have a limited store of monetary resources on which to rely.

As a foodie and dietetic student, I love to cook. If I could afford to, I would be cooking a new recipe or trying a new cuisine every night. Given my aforementioned condition, this isn’t a luxury I can afford [yet].

Luckily, the going (thus far) has not been so rough. Last week I visited the Clintonville farmer’s market and Kroger with only $20 to feed me for the week. At the farmer’s market, I obtained a bunch of radishes, a bunch of Chiogga beets (unfortunately I do not have a picture – google it!) and a bag of purple green beans for $9. Admittedly…this was not the best use of my resources.

I ventured to Kroger with the remaining $11, hopeful that I could stretch each dollar. I ended up under budget at $9.63! Included in my grocery bag were 1 container basil ($1.50 – could have been less if I used my own potted basil!), 2 lemons (.69 each), 1 lb Roma tomatoes ($1.12), 1 head garlic (.50), 1 lb great northern beans ($1.09).

While this doesn’t sound like much to eat – I was able to make a delicious salad using a few ingredients that I already had and those which I bought at Kroger! This salad is a great combination of textures with the crunch of the raw green beans and silky mouthfeel of (slightly overcooked) white beans and tahini. The flavors of the dressing – acidic, nutty, garlic-y – really bring the salad alive. Plus – it’s very nutritionally balanced: the beans provide protein, tomatoes and green beans add a serving of veggies, and tahini adds healthy fats.


(unfortunately no pictures this time!)




1 cup dried (or 1 can – I used dried) great northern white beans

1 lb roma (or other in-season) tomatoes, seeds removed.

~1 cup green beans or purple green beans

8-10 leaves basil, chiffonaded or chopped (optional but recommended)

~1/4 cup tahini

Juice of 1 1/2 lemon

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1-2 cloves garlic

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pine nuts as desired (optional)


If using dried beans, soak and cook according to package directions. I find that it is easiest for me to soak my beans during the night while I’m sleeping and in the morning, drain, rinse, and put into the crock pot with the appropriate amount of water, cooking on low for 8 hours while I’m interning.Remember to REFRAIN FROM ADDING SALT at the beginning of the cooking process to keep the beans from developing a chewy texture.

Chop green/purple beans into 1″ pieces. Chop tomatoes. Drain and rinse cooked white beans. Combine both varieties of beans, tomatoes, and basil  in medium-sized bowl. Set aside.

In food processor, blender, or simply in a bowl, combine tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper (if using bowl with whisk to combine, you will need to mince the garlic or use garlic powder). Blend or whisk until completely integrated. If you’re using a bowl and whisk, you will likely need to dedicate a bit more time as it takes effort to create an emulsification between the fatty tahini and watery juice & vinegar. Modify to taste.

Pour dressing over vegetables (when ready to serve & enjoy) and toss to coat. If using, top with raw or toasted pine nuts.


That was last week’s success story. This week I have been enjoying a new rendition of my favorite homemade burrito bowl that I look forward to sharing with you this weekend! Until then –



One response

  1. Sounds great, Jena!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: