Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Cheers For Beans!

Do you remember the tantalizing photograph of a kidney bean salad that I ended my Memorial Day post with, as well as the inscrutable ingredient that I challenged you to guess? I've been on a bean salad-making roll, and that particular salad was based on the honey bean salad recipe from Allrecipes. But of course I had to make my own mark on the recipe, and I added rhubarb, the now not-so-mysterious ingredient! It was quite tasty and very refreshing. I served it over fresh greens, with Parmesan garlic pita chips, a few maple-glazed nuts, and a cold glass of homemade mint tea.

A Honey of a Bean Salad

1 (15.5 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 T maple syrup
1 T apple cider vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 T garlic, minced
1/2 T dried onion flakes
a mini squirt of hot chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
1/2 stalk rhubarb, diced

Mix all the ingredients together, then marinate in the fridge for at least one hour. Serve cold, over your favorite fresh vegetables or as a side at a barbecue.

Serves 2-3.

Yum yum! I really enjoyed this salad, and the rhubarb added a nice bite to the dish. The Best Husband Ever recently let me in on the secret that you can eat rhubarb raw, which I didn't know -- I had only eaten in it baked into things like muffins and pie. Apparently, his mother used to grow rhubarb and he would much it straight from the garden as a kid. Now I want to grow it myself! I settled for purchasing some at the farmer's market this week, though.

But my apparent bean salad fetish did not stop there! Next I tried the Mediterranean bean salad recipe, again from Allrecipes. I did not enjoy this one as much as the sweet kidney bean salad, but it was still both light and filling. It does not call for any vinegar, which is why I think it falls short for my particular taste buds; I like my salads to have some zing! Kidney beans make their presence known again in this recipe (can you tell that I'm trying to use up a Costco-sized package of canned kidney beans?) as well as garbanzos.

Mean Two-Bean Salad

1 (15.5 oz.) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15.5 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

6 grape tomatoes, chopped
1 small cucumber, sliced
2 mini bell peppers, diced

2 T lemon juice
1/2 T dried onion flakes
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp capers, rinsed
1 T garlic, minced

Mix all the ingredients, then marinate in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Serve over greens and with a toasted pita or pita chips.

Serves 4-6.

My favorite contestant from the Who's Who Among American Bean Salads competition that's apparently been taking place in my kitchen is the last. It incorporates my favorite beans, black beans. I love those guys! I mean, I love all beans. You can't go wrong with low fat, high protein, delicious legumes. But black beans top them all in my book. This particular salad was a free-form creation that took form this morning before I headed off to work. That means that I didn't do any measuring, I just threw a bunch of ingredients into the bowl until I was happy with the proportions and taste. If you try this recipe yourself, make sure that you have a 3:1 ration of beans to corn, and don't be too stingy with the garlic or avocado. I tried to give some rough estimates in parentheses, but just have fun with this one. It's creamy and amazing!

I-Got-No-Measuring-Cups Black Bean Salad

1 (15.5 oz.) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 of an avocado, diced
frozen corn (1/3 cup)
bell peppers, diced (3-4 mini peppers)
jalapenos, seeded and diced (1 T)
fresh cilantro, minced (1/4 cup)

garlic, minced (1 T)
chili powder (1 tsp)
dried onion flakes (1/2 tsp)
1 packet Stevia
a drizzle of balsamic

Combine all the ingredients, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours to marinate. Serve over a salad, with tortilla chips, or try topping it with shredded cheddar, sour cream/quark, and olives.

Serves 2 (3 if you're not too hungry), or makes a mean party dip.

So I'm sure you're wondering, even as your mouth is water from staring at all those delicious salads -- what's with all the beans? It's a great question, and is answered by one element that all the recipes have in common. That is the fact that none of them require heat to prepare. Summer weather is starting to roll into my corner of the hemisphere, and turning on the oven in 80+ degree F weather to make burritos is just no fun. Even stove top cooking gets our kitchen quite steamy, so I've been trying to stay away from heat to keep us cool (especially the hubby, who is much more sensitive to heat than I am) as well as to shake things up a bit for our palates. Let's hear it for legumes!


  1. Those salads look delicious! I'll have to test some out. :)

  2. I followed your link from Lori at Fake Food Free: the moment I saw "beans", I knew I had to check out this post. All these recipes look delicious (even though, regretfully, I can't have garbanzos) but my absolute favorite would have to be the black beans. I love how it's just tossed together with all those great ingredients - I could spoon up a big bowl of this all to myself!


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