Antipasto Salad With Beans and Asparagus

Not all salads have to have lettuce – I mean, think about coleslaw!

This salad idea, originally from the very nice folk at foodnetwork, proves that and then goes a step or five beyond, by allowing me to substitute blanched asparagus for grilled broccolini, marinated luncheon meat (OK, I used SPAM) in place of salami, and then was still flexible enough to allow me to add a bunch of stuff that just felt right to me: red onion, English cucumber, crumbled Feta cheese, and fresh Parsley.

•1 can cannellini beans
•1-1/2 cup sliced blanched asparagus
•1/2 cup sliced cucumber
•1/2 cup diced onion
•1/2 cup diced salami or pepperoni
•1/4 cup sliced cherry peppers
•1/4 cup crumbled Feta
•2 tbsp olive oil
•1 tbsp brine (from the cherry peppers)
•1 tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
•1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
•1/4 tsp Seasoned Salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper

A note on the cherry peppers: there are two types, hot and sweet. I used the hot, because that is what we usually keep on hand, and my husband thought the salad a bit too hot. Go ahead and use the sweet cherry peppers, or, if you cannot find them, sliced peperoncini, and one tablespoon of the brine from the jar will work a treat, too.

Making the salad is also almost ridiculously simple; you just tumble it all into a large bowl and toss, no whisking of oil and vinegars together with seasonings before adding to the salad, and, perhaps best of all:

there is no lettuce involved, so you can put this sucker together early in the day, transfer to a covered jar and stash in the fridge until needed; so, no soggy, wilted anything to harsh your salad mellow!

All in all, mebbe my new fave salad.

As a side note, I’ve already mentioned that I had used marinated SPAM in place of the salami (I had totally spaced on the pepperoni in the cheese drawer); but consider your other options…

For vegetarians, skip the meat and mebbe add more beans.

For pescatarians, consider using tuna or even smoked salmon.

Heck, you might could even grill you some broccolini.

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