Summer time, outdoor eating, picnics – what they all need is great, yet simple salads, especially those that don’t require constant refrigeration and come together in a jiffy!
This is exactly what this bean salad is all about. It uses four different types of canned beans – and you can mix and march any way you like! – as well as a nice combo of spices, including a bit of garam masala. If you are not familiar with garam masala, it is a spice mix commonly found in Indian cuisine, and it usually contains cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and perhaps a bit of nutmeg or mace. All this makes for a very fragrant and please spice mix that you can use to make a plain old bean salad just a bit more adventurous. And don’t worry about having lots of garam masala leftover after you make this salad because it is a spice you can use to boost the flavor of rice, as well as to make Chicken-less Tikka Masala (one of my very favorites), Saag Paneer, or “Chicken” in Nut Sauce and it will be used up before you know it. It is one of the spices I can’t go without!
If you can’t find garam masala, you can use your favorite curry powder instead – it will work and you will have a bean salad with an elevated flavor. One other recommendation I’d like to make is to toast your spices using just a bit of oil and a very hot frying pan. This will help deepen the aroma and add just a bit of smokiness. If you are looking to cut out the oil you can toast your spices in a dry nonstick pan. Either way, you will have to be there and keep the spices moving as they toast. The toasting is fast, no longer than 2 minutes, and the spices can easily burn if you are not careful. So keep a close eye on your spices!
Finally, definitely use both the juice and the zest of the lime. The zest will do it’s zesty magic and add an exotic dimension to your salad. Enjoy!
Simple Bean Salad
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 red pepper, deseeded and finely diced
- 1/2 green pepper, deseeded and finely diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can black beans
- 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can red kidney beans
- 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can black eyed peas
- 1 15.5 oz (440 g) can small white beans
- 1 4 oz (113g) can fire roasted green chilis
- 1 tablespoon curry powder or garam masala
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (or lime chili if on hand)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
What you’ll do:
- Wash the peppers, half them lengthwise, and set the two halves you are not going to use aside (don’t through them out; there are many recipes you can use them for, or simply slice them into sticks and much on them as a snack!). Remove all the seeds and veins, then cut into a small dice. Do the same with the red onion. Place all your diced vegetables into a large mixing bowl.
- Rinse and drain all your canned beans, shake the access water off as much as you can, pat dry if needed and add to the mixing bowl together with the entire can of fire roasted green chilis. Note: If you don’t have these fire roasted green chilis where you live, you can use raw chili (spicy) pepper of your choosing. Or you can fire roasted a pepper yourself, let it cool, peel the skin, remove the seeds and chop finely. Regardless of what you decide to do, be careful about the heat and add the amount that tastes right to you. Using the amount listed in this recipe you will end up with a mild bean salad, so dial the heat up or down to taste.
- Place a small sauté or frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil, then add the garam masala (or curry powder) and chili powder. Toast the spices for 1-2 minutes then immediately add to the mixing bowl. If you are trying to avoid oil, you can dry toast the spices in a non-stick pan, or skip toasting altogether. Without toasting the flavors will not be as rich, but milder may be better for some.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and you are done! You can serve this salad immediately, but for best results I recommend that you let it sit for 2-4 hours on the kitchen counter. You can also make this salad a day ahead, store in the fridge, then take it out and let come to room temperature before serving. Enjoy!
Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2019