A two bean salad featuring black beans and long beans
Green beans are so last year and the year before that and the year before that… I’ve never been a great fan of green beans anyway. Perhaps I’m still scarred by the steaming piles of grey-hued mush slapped onto our lunch trays in Elementary School. So a bean salad recipe? That’s never been my thing.
To be honest, I’m not a great enthusiast of wax beans or any of the other fresh beans. I find their texture, well, squeaky and their flavor too bitter.
So what inspired me to buy a bunch of ropey, Chinese long beans last summer I’ll never know. Particularly when the friend with me commented that they resemble those hideous images of world’s longest fingernails in the Guinness book. Now aren’t you excited that I’ve dedicated a post to these oddball vegetables?
What to do with long beans
Here’s the thing: They may not be pretty, but long beans are far more interesting, more tender and more delicate in flavor than any of the common varieties of fresh bean. I hadn’t a clue what to do when I dragged that first bundle home, dangling it down the sidewalk like a chopped off ponytail. Certainly, my first thought wasn’t to invent a bean salad recipe. In fact, what I did with that first bunch was a fairly obvious choice. But I decided to chop the beans all up and make a fried rice of sorts. And it was an instant hit.
Since then, I buy Chinese long beans almost every time they’re available at my farmers’ market. At 1 or 2 dollars a bundle, they’re one of the best vegetable bargains around. At first, I stuck to fairly traditional uses like stir frying. But then I got the itch for adventure, adding them raw to our morning smoothies. Prepping for the smoothie one day, I nibbled a bean and was struck by how delicious and surprisingly tender long beans are raw. That’s when I started thinking about a bean salad recipe.
But I’ve never been the three bean salad type. In addition to a mild dislike of green beans, I have a passionate hatred of kidney beans. I’m a willing eater of most foods but the kidney? I draw the line. (In fact, I’d rather eat an actual kidney–though I question if it’s wise to eat a waste-filtering organ–than eat a kidney bean.) So when I see a three bean salad recipe, I usually run the other way!
But a Two Bean Salad of long and black beans–that’s more my speed. I added some raw sweet corn and an heirloom tomato for sweetness. The resulting salad is a taste of summer in a bowl and far more exotic than the old picnic dish.
And if you love bean salads, don’t miss this Barley and Bean Salad recipe from Diane Brown.
This colorful summer salad combines the flavors and textures of long beans and black beans.
- juice and zest of ½ tangerine
- juice of ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 dash hot sauce or to taste
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 (15-ocan black beans
- 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.
(Optional addition: Toss with ½ c roughly chopped cilantro just before serving.)
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