Three Bean Salad with Walnut Pesto

Walnut Pesto

cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

cup fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs, tightly packed

2 tsp. fresh sage leaves, chopped

cup walnut pieces, toasted (see note)

cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp. orange juice

2 tbsp. water

6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Three Bean Salad

1 (15-oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15 oz.) can black or kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cups fresh or frozen green beans, blanched and drained

cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see note)

Salt and pepper to taste

12 Romaine, green or red leaf lettuce leaves

Prepare the walnut pesto by placing the basil, parsley, sage, walnuts, cheese and garlic in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add juice and water, and then with the motor running, slowly add oil and process until the mixture is thick and emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Prepare the salad by tossing the beans together in large bowl. Add pesto and toss to combine and coat evenly.

For best flavor, prepare the salad four to 24 hours before serving and refrigerate. This allows the flavor to intensify. Place a lettuce leaf on each plate, top with a cup of salad and serve.

Makes 12 servings.

Per serving ( 1/2 cup): 214 calories, 14.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 3 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 8 g protein, 55 mg sodium.

Note: To toast walnuts, spread them in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet and place in a preheated, low oven (about 200 degrees) for about 20 minutes. Stir every 4-5 minutes or so to toast them evenly and check so that they don't burn.