I’m a total bean fanatic. Not a week goes by that I don’t have a bowl of dried beans soaking on my countertop. White beans, black beans, scarlet runner beans, pinto beans…they all get a turn in soup, chili and salads. They also make appearances as dips, fillings for omelets or sautéed with a little chopped bacon. Yum! And, wherever I use beans, fresh herbs are not far behind. Combining rich, creamy beans with savory herbs is a mouthwatering combination that has no limits.
Here’s why you need to get on the bean bandwagon!
1. Your Friend Fiber: Beans are a great source of fiber. Fiber is known for “keeping you regular” but it does so much more than that! It helps maintain normal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, while keeping unwanted pounds off.
2. Protein Power: Beans are a great vegetarian source of protein and loaded with other nutrients such as calcium, potassium and zinc. Consider replacing one meat meal each week with a bean dish such as a veggie chili. If you need that meat taste sauté the beans with a little ham or bacon and then toss in a handful of chopped kale for a complete meal.
3. Cook ‘Em with Kombu: Kombu is a seaweed that is sold dried in strips or sheets. Adding a strip of kombu to your bean cooking water helps increase your beans digestibility and prevents the “toot” that beans are well-known for. You can find kombu at most health food stores. The farmers market is overflowing with a huge variety of herbs right now.
You can use virtually any combination of herbs and beans in this recipe to change it up. Basil and sundried tomatoes would be amazing, as would black beans with avocado and mango. The possibilities are endless!
Savory Bean Salad with Onions and Herbs
1 small sweet potato
1 cup dried beans such as pinto or great northern (you can also a 2 cans of beans)
strip of kombu (optional)
½ small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of savory fresh herbs, roughly chopped (sage, oregano and hyssop are good choices)
Small handful parsley, chopped
Juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon real maple syrup or honey
pinch of salt and fresh pepper
- If using dried beans, soak the beans in water overnight. Add juice of half a lemon and 2 pinches of salt to the soaking water.
- To cook the beans, strain them from the soaking water. Put in a medium pot with 3 cups of water, the kombu and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes until beans are tender but still have a bite. Strain in a fine mesh sieve and place beans in a serving bowl and add the onion.
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the sweet potato in a small covered baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft but not too mushy. You want the potato to hold its shape. Remove from oven and let cool about 10 minutes. Once cooled down, cut the potato into bite-sized pieces and add to the beans.
- Place the sliced onion in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit while you’re preparing the dressing.
- To make the combine the herbs, parsley, lemon, olive oil, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Add the onions to the bean and potato mixture. Pour half the dressing over the mixture and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing and/or salt if necessary. Enjoy!
Cooking tip: You can cook the beans and bake the potato a day or two ahead of time. Then, all you have to do is assemble! You can store this salad for 2-3 days in the fridge.