Sunday, August 19, 2012

Healthy Edamame and Bean Salad

Edamame and Bean Salad in White Ramekin, Black Background

This Three-Bean Salad Is a Great Side Dish — But Has Enough Flavor for a Main

Looking for a healthy twist on three-bean salad?  Then try this beauty.  It features edamame, which — combined with black beans and black-eyed peas — create a dish that is every bit as flavorful as it is nutritious.

Bean salads of any description are crowd pleasers around the world. Here in the US, they’re a favorite at summer picnic tables and winter pot-luck dinners alike.

This one makes a great side dish. But its flavor is so interesting that you can serve it as a main course, perhaps adding some nice bread and butter to complete the menu.

A healthy salad that’s easy to make, with flavor to spare: This one is a keeper.



Edamame and Bean Salad in White Ramekin, White Background

Recipe:  Healthy Edamame and Bean Salad

This is an extremely versatile salad.  When made as directed, its flavor evokes the Southwest.  With a couple of changes, it becomes Mediterranean.  So by adding or subtracting a few ingredients, you can turn it into a new dish.  Some variations are discussed in the Notes.

I first saw this recipe in the March 2007 issue of the late (and much lamented) Gourmet magazine.  I subsequently found an online copy at Epicurious. The recipe is extremely good as written, although I like it better with my adaptations.

The dish takes 20 to 25 minutes to prepare, plus “resting” time of at least 10 minutes before serving. (You can also make it a day ahead.) This recipe yields 6 to 8 side-dish servings, or about half as many main-course servings. Leftovers keep for several days when refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons salt (for edamame water)
  • 1½ cups frozen shelled edamame (8 ounces)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into ¼ inch dice (about ¾ cup; or to taste)
  • 1½ cups peeled and thinly sliced celery
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced fine (either green or fully ripe – red – work well; the red are prettier)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (depending on how juicy your limes are, you’ll need one or two)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)
  • salt and black pepper to taste (you’ll want at least 1 teaspoon of salt, and a good ¼ teaspoon of pepper)
  • ~¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, but flavorful)
Procedure

Read through the entire procedure before you start.  I list the steps in the order that I prepare this dish; you may want to alter things somewhat.
  1. Fill a 1½- or 2-quart sauce pan ¾ full with water and bring to a boil.  Add 2 teaspoons salt, and then the edamame.  Cook until tender — usually 4 to 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, open the cans of black beans and black-eyed peas into a colander or sieve that has been set in the sink.  Rinse all the gunk off the beans, and place them in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. When the edamame are cooked, drain into a colander, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Add to the bowl containing the beans.
  4. Dice the onion; wash, peel, and thinly slice the celery; peel and mince the garlic; and add all to the bowl with the beans.
  5. Wash jalapeño peppers and cut lengthwise.  Use a teaspoon to scoop out the ribs and seeds (be careful, the oil on these is hot; keep fingers away from your eyes).  Chop into very small dice (or use mini food processor).  Add to the bowl, and then wash your hands with soap and water to remove the hot jalapeño oil from your skin. 
  6. Juice the limes, and add the juice to the bowl with the bean mixture.
  7. Wash, dry, and mince cilantro and set aside (don’t add to the bowl with the beans — you’ll do that in Step 10; see Notes).
  8. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium to medium-low heat until hot (but not smoking).  Add cumin and stir, cooking until it browns slightly and you smell its fragrance — no more than 30 seconds.
  9. Let the oil cool for a minute or two (you don’t want it to wilt the onion or celery), then pour into the bowl with the beans and toss briefly to coat.
  10. Add minced cilantro, salt, black pepper, and optional cayenne pepper and toss well until thoroughly incorporated into the other ingredients.  Taste, adjust seasoning if necessary, and let stand for 10 minutes before serving so the flavors can mingle. 

Edamame and Bean Salad in White Ramekin, Black Background

Notes
  • Edamame are green (unripened) soy beans picked in the pod.  You can buy them in the pod, but it’s much more convenient to buy them already shelled.  Most grocery stores sell frozen edamame, and that’s the most convenient way to buy them.  Occasionally, you also see fresh edamame in the produce department.
  • You can prepare this dish several hours ahead if you wish.  Let it sit at room temperature, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.  Bring it out ½ hour before serving so it comes to room temperature.
  • You can also prepare this dish the night before.
  • Why set the cilantro aside (Step 7) rather than immediately adding it to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl?  Because the warm oil that you add to the bowl (Step 9) may turn the cilantro a few shades darker.  It will eventually turn darker anyway (as it reacts with the lime juice), but at least this way you can start out with a brighter green.
  • Heating the cumin in olive oil (Step 8) flavors the oil and intensifies the flavor of the cumin.  When you mix the oil into the salad, it carries the cumin flavor.  This technique is often used in Indian cooking.
  • Speaking of Indian cooking:  Ground coriander (a common Indian spice) works well in this salad.  Simply add a teaspoon or so to the skillet with the cumin in Step 8.
  • Don’t like cilantro?  Substitute parsley.  If you’re doing this, however, I’d also substitute lemon juice for lime, and thyme for cumin to give the salad a more Mediterranean taste (in which case, skip Step 8 entirely — there’s no need to heat the thyme in oil).
  • If you substitute lemon juice and thyme (or another Mediterranean herb), I suggest using white beans (like cannellini) instead of black beans.
  • If you’re going the Mediterranean route, you might also want to add some pitted black olives to this salad.
  • I often add corn to this dish (about a cup and a half).  If using leftover cooked corn, add it to the bowl with the beans in Step 2.  If using frozen corn, cook it with the edamame in Step 1.
  • If you add corn, you may want to up the amount of oil and lime juice just a little — maybe another tablespoon of oil, plus another teaspoon (or a bit more) of lime juice.
  • You can also replace half the celery with diced carrots, making this an even more colorful salad.
Edamame and Bean Salad on Red Plate with Fork and Napkin

Add This One to the Picnic-Salad Roster

Grilled meat may be the star of a cookout, but it’s really side dishes that carry the day.  And this salad deserves to join the regular picnic-salad rotation, IMO. With Labor Day coming up, you may want to give this dish a supporting role at your festivities.

Other good sides include the dish we did last week, Summer Pasta Salad, or Pineapple, Coconut, and Carrot Salad, or Mustard Potato Salad. For more suggestions on cookout salads, just scroll down to the end of this post and browse through the links.

And of course, what’s a cookout without coleslaw? Creamy Cole Slaw is probably most people’s favorite, but this year for our Labor Day bash we’re thinking about something different: Garlic Coleslaw. It’s great at summer picnics, but it’s also perfect for football tailgates.

So grab some cabbage and stock up on garlic. Then you’ll be ready to make this terrific dish when I post about it next week.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Summer Pasta Salad
Tuna Pasta Salad
BLT Salad
Chef's Salad
Gazpacho
White Bean and Tuna Salad
Hungarian Cucumber Salad
Roast Strawberry Salad
Salade Niçoise
Spinach Salad with Parmesan
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Creamy Cole Slaw
Pineapple, Coconut, and Carrot Salad
Mustard Potato Salad
French Potato Salad
American (Mayonnaise) Potato Salad
German Potato Salad with Bacon
Potato Salad Basics
Baked Beans
Grilled Hamburgers
Barbecued Pork Steaks

68 comments:

  1. This salad is so stunning looking and contains all the colors and textures I really appreciate. I'm making the both versions tomorrow and can't wait to taste them. The weather is still hot and oppressive here in Texas so I can't go wrong and I'll have a week's worth of delicious meals.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, sounds like a great idea to eat this all week! It's got a ton of flavor, and as you say, it's so great looking. Thanks for your comment.

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  2. Yum! This looks a nice healthy protein-packed lunch. I bet they will make great burrito filling as well :)

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    1. Hi Yudith, you're right - tons of protein in this. The burrito filling is an excellent idea! I'll have to try that sometime. Thanks for your comment.

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  3. I ate edamame growing up in Japan, and I'm so happy when it started to appear in the US as a common ingredient! It has great nutritious value and versatile ingredient too. Your salad looks fantastic and I can eat this happily even as a snack. :-)

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    1. Hi Nami, edamame is indeed incredibly nutritious! This salad is wonderful - so much flavor, and treating it as a snack is a great idea. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. That salad looks good! I love edamame and can eat it like peanuts :)

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    1. Hi Raymund, isn't edamame wonderful? I can eat it like peanuts too! In fact you sometimes see it in salty snacks. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. Ooh I love this salad but can see using it like a salsa as well too top off fish or chicken. However knowing me I'd just eat it from a bowl straight up. It's healthy, nutritious and delicious!

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    1. Hi Vicki, the salsa idea to top fish or chicken is really good. But it's also good just on its own - so flavorful. Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Jen, it's great for lunch. Or dinner. Haven't tried it for breakfast yet, but someday I may! Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Mmmm super healthy and very delicious my friend :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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    1. Hi CCU, it is indeed healthy. And really tasty. Thanks for your comment.

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  8. This is such a great version of a Summer classic! I bet this bean salad would disappear at any barbecue. It just looks so fresh and inviting. Thanks, too, for including so many notes and suggestions. I don't know why, but I think I just might go the Mediterranean route. ;)

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    1. Hi Chicago John, gosh, I wonder why the Mediterranean version appeals to you? ;-) It's really good stuff - I think you'll enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

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  9. I was wondering what edamame were until I got to the notes section. These flavours are sure to be successful and it looks oh so healthy.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, it really is good. This is one of those recipes I make once or twice a year, and always wonder why I don't make it more often. Thanks for your comment.

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  10. I love edamame! What a great idea to turn it into a salad. I usually only eat edamame as a start to japanese dinners.

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    1. Hi Amanda, it's really delicious in a salad - well worth trying. And a great way to eat more of it! Thanks for your comment.

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  11. I always add beans to all my salads... yours looks so delicious.

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    1. Hi Tania, beans are amazing foods - they go so well in so many things! And they're terrific in this salad. Thanks for your comment.

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  12. I discovered edamame later and life and I wish I had found it sooner. I like all the variations you gave to try with the salad. We eat lots of lighter stuff like this in the summer.
    -Gina-

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    1. Hi Gina, it took me awhile to discover edamame too. Such great stuff. Lots of fun playing with this salad - so much you can do. Thanks for commenting.

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  13. Replies
    1. Hi Words of Deliciousness, it really is yummy! And I love beans too. Looking forward to chilly fall weather and bean soup! Thanks for your comment.

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  14. What a unique twist on a three bean salad! Black-eyed pea, black beans and edamame - a southern, southwestern, Asian fusion? :) Sounds like a great combination to me and with all of the other ingredients - a great salad! Love the olive oil roasted cumin and I probably would add a little coriander as you suggested because I love those two spices together. Beautiful as always!

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    1. Hi MJ, it's really a great little salad. Tons of flavor, and you can take it in almost any direction you want. And the combo of ground coriander & cumin has to be one of the greatest inventions ever! Thanks for your comment.

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  15. A little Asian, a little Southern. Love the combination of various beans and seasonings. For those of us who grew up on the canned three-bean salad ubiquitous at mediocre salad bars, this is such a welcome change. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, isn't this a fun salad? And I agree - I've had some 3-bean salads that were a little flavor challenged, but not this one! thanks for commenting.

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  16. I can't wait to take this on a picnic. It's getting warmer here every day so picnic time won't be far away. It's on my list!

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    1. Hi Maureen, you're craving warm weather, we're craving cooler! I think you'll like this - tons of flavor. And it works really well on a picnic. Thanks for your comment.

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  17. I love edamame. What a great idea to add them to a bean salad. I will definitely be giving this one a go next time we are doing charcoal chicken. YUM.

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    1. Hi Lizzie, this salad is great with chicken on the grill - my favorite way to serve it. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love bean salad, especially anything with Edamame. Love the flavor of cumin and cilantro added to the salad. Looks like a perfect side dish to any grilled meat.

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    1. Hi Holly, doesn't cumin and cilantro add such great flavor to anything? And this salad is perfect with any grilled meat, particularly chicken, IMO. Thanks for your comment.

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  19. This salad looks delicious, and I love the variations you suggested. I've never thought of putting edamame in a salad but it seems like a natural in this one.

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    1. Hi Beth, it's really a wonderful salad. And so much fun to play with - tons of possibilities to vary it according to your mood. Thanks for commenting.

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  20. That salad looks delicious! I love edamame beans and all those flavours sound great together!

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    1. Hi Ali, the flavors are really great! Good combo of stuff - one of those rare instances where great tasty and good nutrition combine in one delicious dish. Thanks for your comment.

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  21. GREAT picnic food indeed. I just wish edamame and I got along better. I've never been able to warm up to it and I know it is so healthy. I should just keep trying I suppose:)

    Thanks for sharing...

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    1. Hi Louise, I like edamame, but if you don't - well, you don't! It's really nice in this salad and I think it's worth a try, but of course your mileage may vary etc. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. It's always hard for me to come up with things to make for picnics, no one likes cold soggy food when we get to our location. This looks like the most perfect solution, and so healthy too!

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    1. Hi Cathleen, this packs for picnics quite well - still pretty fresh even after sitting a bit. And it's a great dish! Thanks for your comment.

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  23. Very simple and yet packed with nutrients of beans. I love having the edamame in there. Vibrant colors and beauty. This is an excellent post! Thank you! :)

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    1. Hi Ray, this is a simple salad - but so healthy! And as you say, rather pretty. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I once read that edamame is the healthiest snack. I then ate a week of edamame whilst watching movies. Surprisingly, I gained weight. I thought about it long and hard and had to admit, 3 cups of edamame per sitting isn't healthy. Anywho, edamame salad, gotta try it :D

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    1. Hi Pencil Kitchen, 3 cups of anything probably isn't the best idea! ;-) But this salad is so good I could be tempted to eat 3 cups of it at one sitting! Thanks for your comment.

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  25. This is truly impressive. I can't wait to pass this along. :)

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    1. Hi Mother Rimmy, this is exactly your type of dish - I think you'll really enjoy it. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Hi John, you are scaring me: I made the same salad on Sunday too. Are you reading my mind? :) Well, I didn't use cumin and black eyed peas, but the rest was the same. I even used red jalapenos (I have quite many this year). And I forgot to add dill. Probably my brain was pre-occupied with the beginning of the school year... Just a thought of getting up two hours earlier makes me dizzy...:) Lovely salad! And it tastes fantastic! :)

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    1. Hi Marina, wow, what a coincidence! We have tons of jalapenos so I'm using them in everything. Anyway, isn't this salad a winner? Easy to make and so flavorful. Thanks for your comment.

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    2. ;-) I'm thinking about making it again next week!

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  27. I love eating edamame! It's so healthy and tasty, love the looks of your salad, it's so vibrant I just want to dig right in (this is coming from someone who loves to eat meat). :D

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    1. Hi Jenny, isn't edamame good stuff? And this salad is really good - good enough so that a meat eater wouldn't miss the meat. Well, for one meal anyway! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. Love this colourful salad, and it has so many healthy elements, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Alessandra, colorful & nutritious! Plus great flavor. Thanks for your comment.

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  29. This is a nice variation on three bean salad with the southwest flavors and different beans.

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    1. Hi Karen, it really is a nice change of pace three bean salad. And it's so versatile! A good dish to know about. Thanks for your comment.

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  30. I love three bean salads, but not a fan of the ones with wax and green beans for some reason:-) Hubby and I snack on edamame all the time, it is such a fun treat. I love the idea of adding edamame in the three bean salad, it would be a perfect addiction! Beautiful, Take care, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, three bean salads can be great (or if not assembled with care, not so great), and this is a really nice twist on the traditional. Not only is the edamame so healthful, but it's rather pretty, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. This would make for an exceptional lunch. Packed with proteins and so flavorful!

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    1. Hi Baker Street, this makes a great lunch or light dinner. I haven't tried it yet for breakfast, but if you like a savory breakfast, it'd be perfect for that! Thanks for your comment.

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  32. This is a winning salad! I love all the different beans you've used. So healthy, vibrant and I bet delicious:)

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    1. Hi Spicie Foodie, isn't this a great salad? This has super flavor and color, and - as you say - is so healthy. Really good stuff. Thanks for your comment.

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  33. Mmm, I have never been a fan of bean salads, but I love edamame so that could change things! Thanks for the inspiration!

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    1. Hi Courtney, there are some pretty sketchy three bean salads out there, but this isn't one of them. It's awfully good - trust me. ;-) Really worth trying. Thanks for your comment.

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