During my time in Edinburgh I learned about many new-to-me foods. The cafe I worked at got in a fair amount of them, like Irn-Bru, florentines, flapjacks, the ploughman’s sandwich, and three bean salad.
It was also where I saw my first carrot and raisin salad, but you will never see me revisiting that particular dish. I truly don’t think anything tastes as bad as raw carrots. Especially when they are shredded and mixed with mayonnaise and raisins.
The three bean salad was one of my favorites. The cafe version was probably just a mixture of black, kidney, and garbanzo (chickpeas) beans tossed in a vinaigrette with diced peppers and red onions, but it was a cold, crunchy companion to my cheese toastie at lunch, and I loved it.
Back home I was disappointed to learn that many varieties of three bean salad for sale include green or wax beans. I am not a fan of those either (I am the world’s worst vegetarian…I know), so when I saw this “Gourmet” recipe for three bean salad featuring edamame (soybeans), I added it to my summer recipe list.
Lovely green edamame.
The other distinguishing ingredient in this recipe is the cumin-infused olive oil. It adds a depth of flavor without being overpowering.
For the other beans I used black beans and a New England staple, Stewart’s from the One-Pie canning company in Maine.
The result was a flavorful and refreshing three bean salad.
So how did it taste?
I have to say, as much as I love sea-salted edamame as a snack, I did not care for its texture in the dish. Edamame cleaves when you bite into it, while the other beans yield with pleasant softness. The edamame texture felt out of place…like water chestnuts.
Water chestnuts trick me every time into thinking they are the world’s worst apple. Surprise surprise, I don’t like them much either.
I would make this salad again, because I loved all of the other ingredients, but I’d probably swap the edamame for garbanzos and add a little sugar for sweetness.
You might like it just the way it is. Try it and see!
Three-Bean Salad with Edamame
Adapted from Epicurious, originally from “Gourmet”
1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame (8 ounces)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black eyes peas, drained and rinsed ( I used Stewart’s beans)
1/2 cup red onion, chopped (I used 3/4 cup – I love onion)
2 cups celery, sliced thin (I used around 1 1/4 – it seemed like enough)
2 Tbsps. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsps. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook frozen edamame for 4 minutes, uncovered.
- Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a small skillet over moderately low heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add the cumin and stir until fragrant and a shade darker, around 30 seconds.
- Pour into a large heatproof bowl, add edamame and remaining ingredients to cumin oil, and toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend.
Makes 6 side dish servings.