Beans, tortilla chips and a punchy vinaigrette make this salad something special

Joe Yonan

THE WASHINGTON POST – I learnt that beans are great in salads from a very young age. My mom made something she called Texas Salad when I was growing up, and red kidney beans starred in it, along with iceberg lettuce, crushed Fritos, shredded cheddar and bottled French dressing. I loved it on the first day – not so much on Day two, three or four, if it lasted that long.

Many years ago, I celebrated her by updating it, using romaine, tortilla chips, feta, slow-roasted or sun-dried tomatoes, and a delectable cilantro vinaigrette. And I switched from kidney to black beans. More recently, I’ve been making it with pintos instead. But all along, I’ve known the truth: With all that other great flavour and texture going on, the kind of beans here is possibly the least important thing.

Chickpeas would be swell, white beans would be good – and any number of less-common heirloom beans would bring their own special something to this party. Make it with what you have.

Nutrition | Calories 465; Total Fat: 27g; Saturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 408mg; Carbohydrates: 44g; Dietary Fiber: 13g; Sugars: 6g; Protein: 13g.

Pinto Bean Tortilla Salad from Joe Yonan’s book ‘Cool Beans’. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST