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     This week’s recipe combines my very favorite components of two salads at a local Mediterranean joint to make what may be my very favorite new salad.  One of the original recipes has a heavily-herbed dressing that I find overpowering; the second is made of mixed greens, which aren't offensive, but tend to bury all of the savory Mediterranean toppings.  This salad has a lot going on without being fussy, confusing, or difficult to make.  Creamy white beans, sweet grape-tomatoes, salty feta cheese, and earthy artichoke hearts make each bite different and still delicious.  With an ingredient list like that, you barely require a dressing at all, so a little fresh lemon juice and quality olive oil add just the right touch.  The result is a wonderfully bright salad that's perfect for dinner at home or a summer barbecue.

     Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz. jar quartered artichoke hearts (I like the marinated version, but you can use either), cut in half lengthwise (to make eighths)
  • 1 c. grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3/4 c. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. red onion (optional)
  • 2-3 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

     Start with your lemon juice in a medium to large bowl.  While whisking vigorously, drizzle the olive oil into the juice, making a creamy-looking emulsion.  Add all of the remaining ingredients and toss well.  Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld before serving.

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