Since my last recipe was fairly rich in calories it seemed only fair to give my body a rest from all the fat and carbohydrates and prepare something a little more forgiving. During our most recent food shop we picked up 3 large bags of dried pulses; pinto beans; kidney beans and borlotti beans. Naturally I jumped at the chance of doing something extremely healthy with such wonderful ingredients. This salad is exceedingly fresh and has a taste not dissimilar to a recipe for Tabbouleh I posted not long ago. It is perfect eaten on its own, as a snack, or as a side dish – perhaps it would do rather well paired with a Mexican main.
I’ve been a rather naughty boy with beans in the past. However, before your imagination runs away with you I’m speaking merely from a price perspective. By far the cheapest way of consuming beans is to buy them dried, which works out at around 70p per 500g. However, I’ve always cooked with tinned pulses, as I’m a little lazy. While this is by no means expensive, a tin costs around 30p and contains 400g, it isn’t cost effective. I realise that 70p per 500g is worse than 30p per 400g, but you’re forgetting one thing – the dried beans contain no water. After being soaked overnight, 300g of dried beans provides enough food to feed at least 5-6 people, whereas 400g of hydrated beans is probably only enough for 2. As such, and because Katherine told me I have to, from now on I shall only be using dried beans, not counting those tins I still have tucked away in my cupboards.
I’ve also decided to start collecting interesting crockery and kitchen ware since I’ve become rather jealous of the range of beautiful dishes used over at Cooking in Sens. The dish you see before yourselves was bought for £1 at a local recycling shop – it’s beautiful. The shop itself is brilliant – it takes what people no longer want and sells almost everything for between 50p and £2. Therefore, over the coming weeks and months I hope there’ll be a lot more variation on the presentation front.
• 100g dried kidney beans
• 100g dried borlotti beans
• 100g dried pinto beans
• 100g cherry tomatoes, halved
• 3-4 spring onions, finely sliced
• A small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
• A small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
• A glug of olive oil
• Salt and pepper
1. By far the most time consuming part of this recipe is dealing with the dried beans. First, you’ll need to soak them in cold water over night. Then follow the packet instructions, which tend to tell you to rinse and then boil them for around 80 minutes, or until tender.
2. Once the pulses are tender rinse them with water until cool. Then mix them, in a bowl, into all the other ingredients. Ensure an even covering of oil and lemon juice before serving.
Cost: The whole salad, which is incredibly filling, should cost no more than around £1.60 to prepare – though the cost will be a little more if not using dried beans. Incidentally, if you don’t intend on using dried beans 4-5 tins of hydrated beans will be adequate.
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