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?

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?”

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.

Print this!

Lemon Basil Bean Salad

vegan, gluten-free // 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
  • 1/3 cup basil, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons avocado
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard
  • 1.5 teaspoons honey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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!