In this recipe I am combining green beans – a vegetable – with black beans – a legume. Black beans have an outstanding fiber-protein ration of 1:1, and contain about 10% of each. To quote whfoods.com:
The almost magical protein-fiber combination in legumes—including black beans—explains important aspects of their health benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system. Each area of systems benefit has a strong research basis.
I have often heard concerns from people regarding the ability to properly digest beans; to this end, I recommend the following: First, always soak your beans for 6-8 hours or overnight before cooking them. Second, cook them together with Kombu.
Soaking the beans will not only help to break down their complex carbohydrates and make them more digestible, it will also reduce their cooking time (many beans are infamous for their long cooking times). Make sure that they are fully immersed in the water during the soaking.
To cook them, drain the beans from the soaking water, put them in a large pot, and cover them with water, making sure that the water surface is about an inch (2.5cm) above the beans. Add a generous pinch of salt and a piece of Kombu. Cover the pot and bring to a boil, then remove the cover and let simmer until done. Drain.
And indeed, soaking means that you need to plan ahead a bit: if you want to cook beans tomorrow, you will have to soak them this evening. But don’t feel stressed about this, it is just a habit to take. Beans can also be soaked and cooked in advance and stored in the fridge for a day or two. This will allow you to come home and make lunch or dinner more quickly, since the beans are ready to be used: in a salad such as here, or in a cooked dish!
I find this salad so delicious and satisfying that I almost don’t want to call it salad anymore. What I particularly like about this recipe is the combination of all the different textures and flavors. Don’t omit the Shiitake mushrooms, as their warm and crispy nature complements the cold beans and the dressing – they constitute the essence of the dish.
Bean and Bean Salad with Warm Shiitake Mushrooms
- ½ cup (100g) dried black beans, soaked 6-8 hours or overnight
- 7 oz (200g) green beans, steamed (don’t overcook)
- small bunch of chive (approx. 1 oz or 30g)
- 5 oz (140g) red radishes
- 5.5 oz (150g) shitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons red balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Cook the soaked beans as explained above; rinse under cold water for a minute or two; set aside.
- While the beans are cooking cut the steamed string beans into approximately 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces.
- Cut the chive into ½ inch (1cm) long pieces.
- Cut the radishes into thin rounds, then stack them and cut into thin stripes.
- To make the vinaigrette mix all the ingredients in a bowl, except the oil; when well mixed slowly whisk in the olive oil.
- Mix the string beans, the black beans, the radishes and the chive with the vinaigrette; adjust seasoning with salt if needed.
- At the last minute sauté the shiitake mushrooms in a pan with a little bit of olive oil or coconut oil at medium high heat until slightly crispy (don’t use to much oil).
- Top each portion of salad with a little bit of the sauteed mushrooms and serve immediately.