superhealthy super-tasty mixed bean and pickle salad

This dish is the kind of salad you could serve to someone who hates salad, and be pretty sure they’ll still like it.  Unlike the standard leafy vegetables with cucumber, tomato, blah that salads can be, this is more filling, has a texture like “real” food, and is much more flavourful.  Its like a far more delicious cold version of refried beans, with a few of the same crunchy ingredients as guacamole (minus the avocado). You can serve it as a side dish, or alongside more standard salad options such as lettuce, spinach, cucumber and flaked tuna as we did here – because these finicky perishable ingredients are served separately it means your lovely bean salad can be stored for up to a week in the fridge – if it lasts that long!  It contains numerous super foods (beans being the top of the list), and is so healthy you could literally fill up on it at a relatively low caloric intake.  It is also so good that my other half forgot all about the tuna – one of his favourite foods, and polished off three servings of this salad instead 🙂

What makes this recipe so delicious is the flavour combination.  Slow cooked beans, crunchy red onion, diced cherry tomatoes and red peppers, chopped gherkins, capers, herbs and a special lemon and garlic dressing.  What makes the dressing unique is the amount of acidity in it – a regular dressing contains twice the amount of olive oil as vinegar or lemon juice, this dressing has the opposite – an increase in tasty sourness being necessary to balance the unflavoured beans and to prevent indigestion from the beans and onions.  Incidentally, when eating this (or any other dish containing pulses or onion) I recommend drinking orange or apple juice, or lemonade or soda with it as opposed to water, because any dilution of your stomach acids can leave you feeling rather bloated (sour drinks help reduce that).  If you really don’t like those options, its best not to drink anything for an hour or so after eating.

superhealthy-mixed-bean-pickle-salad

Ingredients – serves 4 (recipe can be halved)

  • 3 cups mixed, cooked beans (or the contents of 3 cans of beans of choice such as kidney beans, butter beans, chickpeas, mixed beans etc drained)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 punnet (about 150g) baby plum or cherry tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 red pepper or pimento, diced
  • handful of baby gherkin pickles, diced
  • 2 tbsp capers, chopped
  • 4 sundried tomatoes or preserved slowbaked tomatoes (from a jar), finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp arabian dried thyme and sesame (or regular dried thyme)
  • 4 or 5 pieces of preserved artichoke (in oil- from a jar), diced
  • 4 tsp olive oil, or the oil from one of your jars such as sundried tomatoes
  • 6 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste (varies if using canned or home cooked beans)
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  1. combine all of the beans and chopped pickles/ vegetables in a large salad bowl.
  2. in a cup or small bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients to make a dressing.  Mix well.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to ensure everything is coated.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary – The salad should be crunchy, flavourful and with a tart hit from the lemon and vinegar – if the bean/ tomato/ herb flavours seem too bland it is probably lacking salt.  Carefully add more a pinch at a time, stirring well and tasting between additions.
  4. Serve immediately if desired, or store in the fridge for the flavours to develop.  Can be made in advance and kept for up to a week.  This makes a lot 🙂  Enjoy!
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