OUR FAVOURITE PICNIC SALAD

Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!pin it!
Truthfully I do make some version of this salad every time we go on a picnic. This week though, I was motivated to make it because I had some majorly overcooked navy beans. I’ve never in my life enjoyed tuna or tuna salad, but vegan mock tuna-style salads with a lightly mashed/chopped chickpea or white bean base are such a dream to me. I just love the crunchy celery and punchy add-ins like shallots, capers, and herbs. It’s great on a sandwich, but way better with creamy potatoes, asparagus, tangy sherry vinegar, and green beans.

So this particular version of our picnic salad is inspired by those extremely hippie-dip mock tuna sandwiches and mushy overcooked beans. I am seriously in love with the recipe genesis here.

I finally caved and picked up an Instant Pot on sale a couple weeks ago. I’ve made some very fine lentil stews, a tasty batch of broth, and a perfect pot of steel cut oatmeal, but beans have been a journey so far. There are a lot of cooking charts and (slightly differing) pieces of advice online, but the freshness of your beans factor in as well. Always learning! In the meantime, slightly mushy beans are perfect for our recipe as it stands. If your white beans are perfectly cooked, you can still make this salad ;)

If you have some great plant-based Instant Pot recipes that you love or just some resources that are helpful, please hook me up with the links in the comments. I’d be so appreciative! Hoping I can get the hang of this thing in time for next Fall and Winter to share some cozy stewed things. It really is such a cool machine.

Back to our recipe though! Usually when I tote this picnic salad along on a trip, I bring a container of baby arugula as well. We pile the potatoes and veg on top of the greens, and then eat that with a little spread of olives, fruit, maybe a fancy cultured vegan cheese/a dip, some crackers etc. This salad is just as delicious in the comfort of your home as well. Also yes, I totally make some version of this every year. Those spring cravings! See here for a niçoise-ish salad and here for a roasted potato salad—both with a similar flavor and feel.

Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!Our Favourite Picnic Salad - The First Messpin it!
OUR FAVOURITE PICNIC SALAD WITH POTATOES, GREEN VEG & WHITE BEANS
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4-6
NOTES: French lentils would be excellent in place of the white beans. Really, any cooked bean or lentil you have is perfect.
-I like to thinly slice the shallots with a mandoline (affiliate link) so that I can get a solid onion-y bite here and there. If you want this salad to look a bit tidier and have a more even shallot dispersal, you can mince them instead.
-If you have dill lying around/growing in your yard, a handful here would be great.
-If you can’t find sherry vinegar, white wine vinegar is a good substitute.

1 medium shallot, peeled
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
1 ½ lbs mini potatoes
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup cooked white beans
1 stalk celery, fine dice
½ lb asparagus, woody ends trimmed
⅓ lb green beans, ends trimmed
4 radishes, thinly sliced
¼ cup finely sliced chives
¼ cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Mince or finely slice the shallot with a mandoline. Transfer shallots to a large bowl and cover with the sherry vinegar. Add some salt and pepper and stir. Make sure that the shallots are covered in vinegar. Set aside to soften for at least 5 minutes.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover them with water. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and bring the potatoes to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook potatoes until they are just tender, about 13-16 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cooked potatoes to a plate or bowl and allow them to cool slightly. Reserve the cooking water.

To the bowl with the shallots, stir in the capers and mustard. While whisking, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl. Whisk until you have a unified dressing. Once you can handle the potatoes, cut them into quarters and place them in the bowl with the shallot dressing. Add the white beans and celery to the bowl as well. Stir to combine and set aside.

Bring the saucepan of water back up to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Cut the asparagus and green beans into bite-sized pieces and add them to the saucepan. Boil vegetables until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain the vegetables and place them in an ice bath or run them under cold water to shock them and stop the cooking process.

Dry the asparagus and green beans with a kitchen towel and add them to the bowl with the potatoes, white beans etc. Add the radishes, chives, and parsley as well, and toss everything to combine. Check the salad for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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  • Marta02/05/2018 - 5:41 am

    This looks dreamy and fresh! I’ll be trying this as soon as spring settles here :)
    As for some instant pot recipes I believe Heidi from 101cookbooks has some great ideas as she too bought one a few months ago and has been adding some lovely recipes :)ReplyCancel

    • Marta02/05/2018 - 5:42 am

      P.S. I think there is a tiny error with your link for the vegetable slicer ;)ReplyCancel

      • Laura03/05/2018 - 11:18 am

        Yes, Heidi is the queen of higher vibe IP resources right now! Thanks for catching the error too, Marta. All fixed ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jackie02/05/2018 - 8:24 am

    Reminds me of how much we adore your Niçoise-ish salad – in fact, I think I’ll make it tonight! I’m sure this one will be fantastic as well.ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/05/2018 - 11:19 am

      They definitely have a similar “salad spirit” hehe. So glad you love the niçoise too!
      -LReplyCancel

  • Laura02/05/2018 - 9:23 am

    Amy Chaplin’s instructions for pressure cooked beans in her At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen has never steered me wrong for beans in the instant pot! This looks delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/05/2018 - 11:19 am

      Ah of course! Amy’s book is such a resource and I knew that she was a pressure cooking advocate. Perfect. Going to go pull that one from the library ASAP.
      -LReplyCancel

  • Shannon Murphy02/05/2018 - 6:37 pm

    This salad looks like everything I want to eat this time of year. Re IP recipes, I’m sure you’ve seen it but Heidi Swanson has done a whole run of IP recipes over the past few months.ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/05/2018 - 11:20 am

      Thank you so much Shannon! Appreciate the recommendation, and I hope that you get to try this salad soon :)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Patricia Scarpin03/05/2018 - 7:35 am

    Give me anything with asparagus and potatoes and I am a happy camper! This looks so delicious!ReplyCancel

    • Laura03/05/2018 - 11:29 am

      I feel the same way! Honestly just anything potatoes is a win hehe. Carb love :D
      -LReplyCancel

  • Morgan Balavage03/05/2018 - 11:59 pm

    101cookbooks has a handful of truly wonderful Instant Pot recipes. The congee has become part of my weekly meal prep. https://www.101cookbooks.com/instant_pot_recipes/ReplyCancel

  • courtne06/05/2018 - 2:00 pm

    could you post some kitchen must havesReplyCancel

  • Shauna | Linden & Lavender06/05/2018 - 8:03 pm

    I just made the recipe this weekend. It was delicious (and pretty)! The capers in it really bring this dish to the next level. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • The Modern Proper10/05/2018 - 6:19 pm

    What a gorgeous salad! I definitely am going to try this out this summer.ReplyCancel

  • Jocelyn Beatty11/05/2018 - 1:12 pm

    I have had a lot of luck with the “Vegan Under Pressure” cookbook charts. I agree, I found a bit of a learning curve with beans but it is so worth it! I have gotten to the point where I have completely eliminated the need for canned beans because dried can be prepared so quickly!
    Also, I would love a “stock in the IP” recipe!ReplyCancel

  • […] oh boy this picnic salad from The First Mess looks tasty. Mother’s Day menu addition, perhaps? After all who […]ReplyCancel

  • Cassie Thuvan Tran17/05/2018 - 5:22 pm

    YES to tri-colored potatoes in a salad! Japanese sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes are my favorites. I have never tried actual vegan tuna, not even chickpea tuna-style sandwiches, so I wouldn’t know how it tastes! I really do want to try it though. The combination sounds heavenly!ReplyCancel

  • Theresa19/05/2018 - 12:31 am

    This recipe was delicious. Made it with French lentils. Turned out very well. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Susan Shores01/06/2018 - 5:54 pm

    I’m new with the Instantpot, too. I would love for you to post your successes with the Instantpot. Thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany24/06/2018 - 12:31 pm

    This is fabulous!!ReplyCancel

  • Kim M08/07/2018 - 11:44 am

    Just sampled a portion ahead of sharing at a cookout this afternoon. I hope everyone loves it as much as I do. Such a colorful and delicious dish. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • A10/07/2018 - 9:33 am

    I didn’t have asparagus but made this last night anyway and loved it! Tossed the beans in with the potatoes during the last 5 minutes of cooking just to be faster, and used the entire can of white beans to avoid leftovers. Delicious!ReplyCancel

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