Pesto Bean Salad with Almonds and Cranberries

Pesto Bean Salad with Almonds and Cranberries |

And I’m back! Well back to the usual grind after a really awesome conference and a little vacation in Asheville, North Carolina for my birthday. More on Asheville at a later date but let’s just say that I’m in love. Complete and utter love.

But. I’m also incredibly happy to be home. Particularly for my bed. Because oh goodness gracious did I miss it. The only problem is that I don’t want to get out of it. Instead I just want to hibernate under my soft blankets and on my awesome mattress because after a few days on a lumpy uncomfortable one (although in a super adorable little cabin) … well, it’s just pure bliss. As well as lay on top of my two pillows (because sleeping on one is just no fun). Happiness. Pillow happiness.

And now it’s time to get back to the food, which is the most important matter at hand.

Pesto Bean Salad with Almonds and Cranberries |

So with it being back to school time and all that jazz, I thought it would be fun to talk about a few lunch ideas. This coming from the lady without kids.

But, us adults need fun and new lunch ideas too. I’m more of a whatever leftovers I had from dinner last night become my lunch type person, but I decided I should try to think about lunch a tad bit more. Give it the attention it deserves.

And so I give you pesto bean salad with almonds and cranberries. A super super easy meal that you can throw together in 20 minutes or less. And then it’s ready to go for lunches all week! Lunch is served! Especially with lots of crunchy pita chips – my fave.

And the bean salad? It’s filled with three … count em’ three! … kinds of beans, a hint of red onion, some crunchy almonds and dried cranberries for little bursts of sweetness. And we’ll toss it all in a spinach-based pesto and then finish it with a sprinkle of fresh chives. Really you can use any kind of pesto that you like … my poor basil plants are dead so spinach it was. Who manages to kill basil?? This girl does. Sigh.

Pesto Bean Salad with Almonds and Cranberries |

And now I am cutting myself off from typing. I feel like I have so much to say and share after being away for a week. But for now … three cheers for lunch!!

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Pesto Bean Salad with Almonds and Cranberries

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Recipe for pesto bean salad with almonds and cranberries. A perfect make-ahead lunch or quick dinner. With a homemade spinach pesto!

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For the pesto:

  • 4 cups packed baby spinach leaves
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup raw slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt (to taste)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

For the salad:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • ½ cup raw slivered almonds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives


  1. To make the pesto – add the spinach, basil, almonds, parmesan, honey, garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add in the olive oil and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the salad – add the chickpeas, pinto beans, kidney beans, red onion, almonds and cranberries to a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add in some of the pesto and mix until combined. Taste and add additional pesto to your liking (I use about ¾ to all of the pesto). Sprinkle on the fresh chives. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.

I love to serve this with something crunchy – like pita chips!

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