I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a good bean salad. I ran across a recipe for a bean salad, using garbanzos. I like garbanzo beans, but I prefer kidney beans for a salad. They’re a bit softer and they’re just prettier…and you know, it’s all about how it looks! And you also know, that isn’t even remotely true. The Goddess is nothing, if she isn’t about flavor…the more, the better. And this salad positively bursts at the seams with flavor, it just so happens, it’s also pretty. Pretty things are nice. And though filling, this is a very refreshing salad, too. It’s a nice summer salad, no mayo to worry about and absolutely terrific with lamb. I use amchur powder more and more all the time. Amchur powder is ground, dried green mango. It adds a lovely tartness to dishes. You can find it any decent Middle Eastern market. If you don’t have it, or can’t find it, use some lemon juice.
I used canned beans, but feel free to cook the beans from their dry state. I was too lazy to do that. You can also add some cooked small pasta, like orzo to this, but I prefer the bean-front flavor. If you want some heat, use a finely minced hot chile as part of the peppers. I use fresh herbs for this and either finely chop them, as I did here, or chiffonade them, if you want larger pieces. Either way, it will be delicious.
It’s pretty simple really—In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and give them a good stir. Put all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Dump the dressing on top of the salad. Stir until thoroughly combined, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours. I decided to add the corn after the fact, but it worked out just fine. I like to spoon some salad into a Boston lettuce leaf to serve, but it’s nice just, as is, too.
Kidney Bean Salad with Middle Eastern Flavors
- For the Salad:
- 2 cans dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 3/4 cup chopped cherry or Roma tomato (see NOTE)
- 3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
- 1/2 cup very finely chopped bell peppers (I like mixed mini-bell peppers)
- 1/3 cup very finely chopped celery (I like the center for this, with plenty of leaves)
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced, including the tender part of the green tops
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2-3 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
- For the Dressing:
- 1 cup Greek-style yogurt (it should be very thick)
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon amchur powder (green mango powder)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I like a coarser grind)
- Large pinch toasted cumin seeds, crushed to a powder (about 1/8 teaspoon)
- Lemon juice, to taste (optional)
- Boston lettuce or baby romaine leaves, for service
In a large bowl, combine the drained kidney beans, tomato, diced bell peppers, celery, scallions, corn, and fresh herbs; stir to combine.
In a separate small bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, spices, and pomegranate molasses. Stir until well combined. Pour over the bean mixture. Using a spatula fold everything together until thoroughly combined. Taste and correct the seasoning; I usually need to add some additional salt. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to blend.
NOTE: I find this is a great way to use up cherry tomatoes that I’ve had for awhile and have begun to shrivel a bit. I slice them in half lengthwise, give them a little squeeze to get out most of the seeds and juice, then I dice finely dice them. On occasion, I add a cup or two of cooked orzo or other small pasta. If you wish, you can cook the beans from their dry state. You may soak them overnight and boil them until done, or use them from their dry state in a pressure cooker (or Instant Pot) until tender. Cool completely and proceed with the recipe. If you want this salad to have some heat, finely mince a hot chile in with the bell pepper.
Kidney Bean Salad with Middle Eastern Flavors Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019. All rights reserved.
I’ve given you what I usually use, but feel free to add more or less tomato, celery, mint, cilantro, or spices, etc. It will be delicious.