The sun is up, the air is hot and summer is here. Beans are probably not on your mind, but they should. Clearly, don’t think soup in these temperatures, but salad instead. The options are as manifold as the vegetables you find in your garden, farmers market or CSA box. Whether azuki, black-eyed susans, great northern or simply black, a bean salad can be as flavorful and delicious as you want it to be. Come and cook with us!
Beans are loaded with fiber, contain protein and digest very slowly, which makes them an ideal food for those who need to maintain stable blood-sugar. If that were not enough, they are also packed with protective phytochemicals, antioxidants and vitamins.
There aren’t too many rules when it comes to beans, except for making sure beans are soaked and cooked the appropriate length to give them time to soften. Low and slow is best, as high heat will break the skins which makes for a less visually appealing salad. It’s also good to keep in mind, that any acidity in the cooking water such as salt or tomatoes will harden the skins, so add those flavor enhancers at the end of the cooking process.
With that in mind, think local and seasonal when it comes to the vegetables and plenty when it comes to the dressing. A lemony garlic dressing works with most bean and vegetable combinations, but again, you can go wild and crazy on this one or at least omit what you don’t like.
The basic process for a bean salad is really three fold:
- Cook beans
- Choose vegetables to add
- Make dressing, long on taste by including garlic, onions, spices and herbs
Cooking dried beans at home is easy but will take a little more preparation. There is no way I can describe this process better than Rancho Gordo, my favorite bean provider. Check out their website which is all things beans. When pressed for time, buying beans in BPA-free cans is a great solution, too. With these simple steps in mind, let your creativity flow and enjoy a summer bean salad featuring what vegetable bounty the summer has to offer. Come and cook with us!