Nine times out of ten, when you have black beans in a dish, you find the seasonings of the warm Southwest and Central America: cumin, cilantro, chile peppers, chili powder. It makes sense, of course, because black beans come from that part of the world. This black bean, vegetable and cashew salad takes a different route, one that travels right through my Asian pantry, and the result will surprise and delight you. I use my pressure cooker to make large batches of black beans, and refrigerate or freeze them for quick and easy salads, soups and stews. Canned black beans make a fine substitute. For crunch, cucumbers, bell peppers, or almost any other vegetable will do (carrots? radishes?). Whip up a sesame-inspired dressing from ingredients you probably always have on hand. I use tamari or gluten-free soy sauce to keep the dish gluten-free; substitute any reduced-sodium soy or light soy sauce (dark soy contains molasses, so if you use it, eliminate the sugar in the recipe). As with most bean salads, this one benefits from a bit of a rest before serving, to allow the beans to absorb some of the dressing. You can make the salad a few hours ahead; add the cashews right before you serve, and they'll stay nice and crunchy. Great for potlucks or picnics.
Black bean, vegetable and cashew salad with sesame-ginger dressing
From the pantry, you'll need: sesame seeds, tamari or gluten-free soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, fresh ginger root, light brown sugar, canned (or cooked) black beans, cashews.
Serves 4; can be multiplied.
For the dressing:
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1-1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
1/2 tsp light brown sugar
For the salad:
1-1/2 cups cooked black beans (I use a pressure cooker; you can substitute canned, drained beans)
1-1/2 cups diced cucumber
1-1/2 cups diced bell pepper (any color or a mix)
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
In a small, nonstick frying pan, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat, shaking the pan for 2 minutes until the seeds are lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients for the dressing. Add the sesame seeds, and stir to combine.
In a larger mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the salad, and pour over as much of the dressing as you like (you might have extra dressing). Combine gently, so you don't break the beans. Refrigerate for an hour, or up to a few hours.
Serve chilled. This is best on the day you make it, but can hold in the refrigerator overnight.
More black bean salads:
Black bean, quinoa and red pepper salad with honey lime vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Shrimp and black bean salad with chipotle lime dressing, from The Perfect Pantry
Corn and black bean salad with sweet lime dressing, from The Perfect Pantry
Chilled black bean, feta and cucumber salad, from The Kitchn
Black bean salad with jicama, tomatoes, cilantro and lime, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Kale and quinoa salad with black beans, from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
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