Amy Winehouse is playing on the stereo. Elsa is dancing around my legs. Luise is furiously cleaning and refurnishing one of our cabinets with styling props (even though I’m guessing it might be pointless since Elsa uses them as toys and will probably have turned it upside down by tomorrow). In the middle of this lovely commotion I’m trying to write a blog post. Need. To. Focus.
I want to talk about beans today. I have this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their bean habits. Take me for example. I’m always late and not very well prepared. So I’m obviously a canned bean kind of guy. Sure, they are not perfect and the can leaves a hint of taste on them. But they are good enough and – more importantly – they are always there for me, no preparation needed. Luise thinks ahead and plans her day thoroughly, so she has time to soak, boil and sprout her beans. And of course they always turn out fantastic. You know those big macho guys that refuses to eat beans (and vegetables), well that says something about them too.
Regardless how the beans are prepared, we eat them several times a week. They are not only very tasty and versatile, but also provide proteins that we as vegetarians always are in need of. We often use them in salads, soups, no-rice risotto, stews or in bean spreads, but sometimes we even throw them in a dessert.
As a young teenager I hated beans. I thought they were mushy, tasteless and probably too healthy for me. But after trying it quite a few times, they grew on me (ehh not literally, but you know what I mean). I first learned to like garbanzo beans, then black beans and now I eat them all.
The salad we made today is a classic combination for us, with lots of different beans, fruit, vegetables and nuts. What makes it a little special is that we used chestnuts this time. They add a warm and flavorful tone to the salad. They are Elsa’s new favorite nut. We also made a tahini dressing which turns it into a very creamy salad. I “forgot” to take a photo of how the salad looks after it is tossed with the dressing. It changes color and becomes more messy. So not very photogenic, but mighty delicious!
Bean & Chestnut Salad with Tahini dressing
If chestnuts are not in season you can swap them for some freshly roasted walnuts. If you use canned beans they of course don’t have to be cooked again, just rinse them thoroughly.
200 g chestnuts
500 g mixed beans (we used cooked black beans, cooked white beans, cooked fava beans and sprouted mung beans)
1 bunch of winter spinach, torn in big pieces
2 avocados, diced
1 apple, diced
2 purple carrots, sliced
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
4 tbsp olive oil (or 3 tbsp water)
1 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200°C.
2. Use a small sharp knife to cut a cross into the skin of the chestnuts. Put them in a pan and roast until the skin opens and the insides are tender, about 30 min.
3. Meanwhile, combine the beans in a big bowl, add spinach, avocados, apples, carrots. Set aside and start preparing the dressing.
4. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until it becomes creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the chestnuts from the oven. Peel them while they are warm and add half of them to the salad.
6. Add also half of the dressing, and toss everything until well combined. Top with a bunch of fresh cilantro.
7. Serve with some warm chestnuts and dressing on the side.
Ps. Luise’s cabinet turned out really nice and organized. I’ll try to post a photo on Instagram later.