I have a love-hate relationship with beans. Can’t stand the ones that mush on your tongue or the ones that squeak between your teeth. But long beans? These delicious, slightly crunchy, never bitter beans are just right for a great summer dish. That’s why I use them to make a long bean salad that’s the hit of every potluck.
What are Chinese long beans?
Chinese long beans are among the more odd-looking vegetables. (My friend Chrysta Wilson, who wrote the Kiss My Bundt cookbook says they look like those images of the world’s longest fingernails in the Guinness book.)
But looks can be deceiving! The long bean is an ancient vegetable native to Africa. Although it is most commonly used in Asian cooking, it is believed that they were introduced to Southeast Asia.
Also known as snake beans and asparagus beans, long beans, or Chinese long beans, are legumes more closely related to black-eyed peas than to green beans. They are commonly used in stir-fries but in this cold long bean recipe, I use them raw with a medley of vegetables and a slightly spicy citrus dressing.
Fresh bean salad ingredients
Served raw, Chinese long beans are tender and slightly crunchy with sweet green notes similar to that of skinny little French green beans. That green flavor can translate into bitter on the tongue, so the trick is to make a nice, acidic dressing to balance the flavor.
My bean salad dressing recipe uses two kinds of citrus:
- Juice and zest of a half a fresh tangerine
- Juice of one half of a fresh lemon
The juices are combined with liquified coconut oil, a dash of sriracha, (a red jalapeno pepper sauce), powdered cumin, coriander and a pinch of salt. It’s important to whisk the ingredients together well. It’s also important to let the salad rest after it has been tossed.
As for the salad, the ingredients are like a combination of a green bean salad and a black bean salad. The result is a sensory pleasure of textures:
There’s the pop of fresh sweet corn kernels. (I recommend cutting these straight from the cob instead of using loose kernels.) Then there’s the plush texture of heirloom tomatoes, the crunch of celery and scallions, the slippery sliding of sweet onions, the softness of black beans and the mild crunch of the green long beans.
What to serve with long bean salad
As I mentioned in my introduction this long bean and black bean salad is a great potluck dish to take along to barbeques and picnics. It can also be served as a healthy side dish with hearty meat dishes like these lamb loin chops or my favorite marinated, grilled bison recipe.
Make it a vegan main course
This hearty and colorful two-bean salad recipe also makes a great vegan lunch or dinner. Because this long bean dish has such a great variety of flavors and textures, it is a satisfying dish all on its own.
Long Bean Salad with Sweet Corn and Black Beans
- juice and zest of ½ tangerine
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 dash sriracha hot sauce or to taste
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 long beans cut in ½ inch lengths
- 1 medium heirloom tomato cut in ½ inch cubes
- kernels from 1 lg ear sweet corn
- 1 rib celery finely chopped
- 2 scallions sliced
- ¼ cup sweet onion finely chopped
- Whisk together the first seven ingredients.
- Toss with remaining ingredients.
- Marinate for one hour before serving. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Pin my favorite cold long bean salad recipe:
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