Monday, March 11, 2013

Marinated Adzuki Bean & Radish Salad

I love beans.  In earlier, pre-gluten-free years, they were fine, but not something I ate on a regular basis.   They simply were not on my radar.  But today, they're a daily staple, and my pantry is well stocked with a wide variety of dried beans and pulses, ranging from chickpeas, lentils, black-eye peas, black beans, fava beans, mung beans, and today's star: adzuki beans.

A small, burgundy colored bean native to Japan, my first exposure to adzuki beans was in the form of a desserts, whether it was over shaved ice with sweetened evaporated milk or filling various Asian pastries.  But now I am well aware of how well these delicious little red suckers work in savory applications.  Similar in flavor to a kidney bean, but with a slightly sweet nuttiness, they're great served up hot over quinoa with sauteed greens, mixed into a steaming miso or chilled naengmyun broth, or cold in refreshing salads, like they one I will be showing you today.

A wonderful appetizer or snack to get you through, it hits the spot for me every time.  Hopefully it will do the same for you and those with whom you share it.

Marinated Adzuki Bean & Radish Salad with Scallions
Gluten-Free & Vegan

Active Prep Time: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: at least 2 hours
Cooking Time: none
Yield:  approx. (5) 2/3 cup servings

2 c cooked adzuki beans
1/2 c radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 c sliced onion
1 tablespoon chopped scallions

2 tablespoons raw coconut vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
pinch salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 teaspoons agave
1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric

3 tablespoons oil

sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil, to garnish

1.  Combine adzuki beans, radish, onion, and scallions in a container that can be covered.  I used watermelon radish for this recipe because they're my favorite and in season right now, but feel free to substitute daikon, breakfast radishes, or whatever radish suits you.
2.  In a deep bowl, combine dressing ingredients from vinegar to agave.  Whisk to combine.
3.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil.  Choose a light tasting oil, whether it be sunflower, canola, or safflower.  The end product need not be completely emulsified, but you want it to be combined.
4.  Pour dressing over beans, radish, onion, and scallions and toss to combine.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator.  Periodically, about once every 30 minutes or so, give the salad a toss to ensure equitable access to the marinade.  2 hours is a minimum - I often will let this chill overnight if time permits.
5.  Before serving, give it another toss, and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and a touch of toasted sesame oil.

After a night of soaking - cooked, drained, and ready for making salad.

This delicious dressing could be used for just about anything.

Let the magic of marination commence.

While this is great on its own with its combination of different textures and sweet savory tang, you can also try serving it tossed with cooked millet or quinoa, over a bed of crisp baby greens, or topped with a dollop of hummus or avocado.  Oh yeah.  And beyond being quite tasty, adzuki beans are also a wonderful source of fiber and protein, aiding in digestion and the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels.  And as an added bonus, they are an excellent source of trace minerals, among them molybdenum, which plays an essential role in healthy liver function.  Can't wait for that to come up on Final Jeopardy, right?

I hope you don't mind that I've been posting more non-dessert recipes as of late.  As I've said in the past, desserts, while delicious, are not essential to every meal for me.  My sweet tooth is relatively easy to satisfy.  And while I do enjoy contributing to the hearty demand for good gluten-free, vegan dessert recipes, I also enjoy sharing recipes for the food that makes up my every day.  The food that sustains me and keep me healthy and happy.  Because, ultimately, when it's all been said and done, that's the opportunity to be found in eating - to feed the body and fuel it towards our pursuit of happiness and wholeness.

Seize it.


  1. I like seeing your every day recipes. And "little red suckers"...I can't stop laughing! Love those little red suckers. :D

    1. Thank you, Debi! That's very encouraging to me. Love you. :)


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