My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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the week of the iPhone | beans + light

If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m doing a little study this week on using my iPhone camera instead of my dSLR.  My goal is to try and use the iPhone to its fullest potential, by taking just a little more time to think about the shot before clicking away.  Point + shoot cameras are great for capturing a moment in an instant, but what happens if we take a few extra minutes to compose the shot + edit the photo?  Can such a small + simple tool actually create art? 

Today’s recipe + post focus on two things.  Beans + Light.  Maybe you already guessed that, though.

I have an undying love for beans.  Most of the time however, beans seem like a cold weather food.  Chilled beans anyone?

photo 1

I’ve put leftover cold beans on salads before, but I think this is my first cold-bean recipe.  The basil lemon dressing really lightens + livens things up.  The creamy beans and crunchy radish provide a lovely contrast to one another and allow the creamy dressing to shine.

In the photo below, I was standing at my little photo table with light coming in from one window directly to the left.  [called: sidelight]

The light was a bit harsh at this time.  The white of the radish was catching more light than I like.  I took a few more shots and then thought, “what if I just turn the bowl and myself 90 degrees to the right?”

photo 2

I’m now standing facing the window with the light hitting the back of the bowl.  [called: backlight] 

Such a small change really made a noticeable difference.  The colors aren’t as washed out, the radishes aren’t overexposed, and the shadows add a little more drama to the photo. 

This is a small lesson to note no matter what camera you’re using and it’s one I often forget.  If you’re not liking the way the light is hitting your subject, just move!  I didn’t move across the house.  I didn’t even move the table.  I simple turned the bowl and took a few steps to the right.

photo 4

Print this!

Lemon Basil Bean Salad [serves 6-8 as a side]

  • 4.5 cups mixed beans [= 1 can of each garbanzo, kidney, white]
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 3/4-1 cup radishes, sliced
  • 1/3c basil, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp avocado
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • 1.5 tsp honey*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pepitas
  1. In a large pan over medium heat add 1/2 Tbsp oil and once hot add the chopped onion.  Cook for 6-8min until it starts to soften, stirring frequently.
  2. Add the drained + rinsed beans, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper to the pan and cook for 3-4min, stirring frequently.
  3. Place in a large bowl and chill in the fridge.
  4. In a high speed blender or magic bullet add the oil, lemon juice, basil, avocado, minced garlic, mustard, honey, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper.  Blend until fully combined. 
  5. Taste and add more salt/pepper/honey if desired.
  6. Toss about 2/3 of the dressing with the bean mixture and radishes until well coated.  Add more dressing if desired.
  7. Top with pepitas and serve chilled. 
  8. Store the extra dressing in a sealed jar for up to 1 week in the fridge.

notes:  Feel free to use sliced carrots instead of radishes if desired.  *Use agave or maple syrup to make vegan.

This is a fabulous + super simple side dish for the 4th of July or anytime at all.  If you don’t feel like a big bowl of beans, I encourage you to at least make the dressing.  I’m absolutely addicted to making my own salad dressings and have been for the past few years.  No bottled dressing comes close in comparison.  Enjoy!

Has anyone given their point + shoot or iPhone camera a little extra time yet this week?  Let me know!


Reader Comments (17)

It is very fine and useful post. I like this so much.
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBotox NY
What a perfect summer side dish! I think I know what I'm brining to my next picnic.
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Ever since I got my iphone its usually the only camera i use unless I'm making and photographing a recipe. That's both good and bad for me, because I feel like I'm neglecting my "nicer" camera, but its also just too convenient not to use the iphone all the time. Plus the camera quality is stellar in my opinion. Do you know you can turn on the HD capability to save an additional version of the picture in higher quality?

Ashley--> Yes, I have seen the HDR option. Pretty cool!! I just tell myself I'm extending the life of my nicer camera letting it rest once in awhile. :)
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie @KatieDid
I love this. It really is a concept so simple but I'll often never do it it. I really need to go back through all your old photography posts and just do some good learning. :)

Ashley--> It's crazy how taking just a few steps can make such a difference!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCait's Plate
yum! this recipe is perfect timing, I just soaked chickpeas and black beans! I think I'm going to try a raw version of the salad :)

I downloaded the app you suggested, Snapseed, and I'm loving it! Great tool to learn more about editing at a 'dumbed down' pace ;) will try to post some soon...

Ashley--> Soaked raw beans? You are brave! Glad you're liking the photo app!
This recipe is perfect! I've been looking for a Basil recipe since I have so much from the garden! :)

Ashley--> The avocado adds such a nice creaminess and summery basil is the best! Hope you enjoy!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie
love these photography posts as they are so helpful to a newbie like me! beans are wonderful! coming from the south, we eat beans at least once a week. not just red beans & rice, but all kinds of beans. my fav is black beans! i also love that you can create so many different recipes using beans.

Ashley--> I think my favorite beans are chickpeas and then probably black beans.
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarissa@ohhhsolovely
I happened to be looking at the couscous bake recipe this morning possibly to make later today and what are the chances that I read the post about your birthday celebration on your actual birthday?! Happy day to you!

Your graham cracker recipe is amazing. I tried it out yesterday.

Ashley--> That is TOO funny! I'm so glad you liked the graham crackers. That is one of my favorite recipes, although I still need to make a GF version so I can eat them again!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaige
I really would like to get better at taking iphone pictures, for when I just don't have my DSLR with me!
I love beans and making my own dressing! I try to eat beans every day even in the summer. This salad looks like a good way to accomplish that in this crazy heat!

Ashley--> Crazy heat is right!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! hope it's nothing less than wonderful <3

Ashley--> Aww, you are too sweet! Thanks so much! Celebrating later with friends. :)
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate
I'm so glad you're doing these photography posts with your iPhone! I'd really love to learn more about the basics of photography and more, so these posts are great :) I'm going to try out that Snapseed app you mentioned too!

Ashley--> Thanks for the feedback on these types of posts. It's been a fun challenge and definitely still quite challenging! Have fun playing with Snapseed!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLauren T
Happy Birthday! :)
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
Happy Birthday Ash!!!
I love that you are using your phone camera this week. I find I get so frustrated with my camera phone, but it's so handy at times. Your shots look's amazing that you can still pull from your own style into a camera phone shot. I actually like the side lit photo the best, but both are lovely.

Ashley--> Thanks so much, Ang!!
July 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngela
What a great post! I love the idea of taking full advantage of the iPhone... I get soo caught up in busting out the fancy camera when I could make my life so much simpler by just taking a quick shot with the handy phone in my pocket :)

Ashley--> Thanks, Erin. It's really fun to experiment with the iPhone. It definitely presents its own set of challenges as well!
July 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin Motz
There was an article in the WSJ about the iPhone camera being the only camera you need. (you can read it here:
I got a DSLR about 6 months ago and am currently taking a photography class; I love it so far. I'm interested to learn how your study turns out!

Ashley--> Hey Sara! Thanks so much for sending along this link. I'm going to check it out now. Good luck with your adventures in photography!
July 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara @ sarasmiles
I'm eating this salad right now for lunch. Made it in advanced last night and tossed it with the dressing this morning. I subbed the radishes with carrots - still super yummy!! Thanks for the recipe - the next one i'm trying is the cauliflower steaks with polenta!
July 11, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereileen

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