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Today: Turn your three bean salad on its head, just in time for your next picnic.
Now that picnic season is upon us, I get nostalgic over classic summertime fare. There is nothing quite like a family reunion over fried chicken and a potluck dinner, tables threatening to buckle under the weight of all the CorningWare and Pyrex.
Of course, there are the old favorites: green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, pea salad with bacon and mayonnaise, three bean salad, and most certainly a mustardy potato salad. If luck is with me, an old-fashioned custard pie sprinkled with a little nutmeg. I love all these foods -- but this year, I want something new.
More: Luck is on your side -- here are 10 more summery pies and tarts.
Ever since I started sprouting foods last fall, I have wanted to use sprouted beans to make a three bean salad. I don't know why I haven't done this sooner, but summer is here, so I am going for it.
I haven't really strayed too much from a classic three-bean in that I still use apple cider vinegar and bacon drippings in my dressing, laced with a touch of sugar to smooth the vinegar's edge. I wanted the sprouted beans to stand out, using the remainder of the ingredients solely as support.
Sprouting the beans doesn't really add any time to the whole process -- unless, of course, you are used to canned beans. Otherwise, soaking the beans overnight is similar to sprouting, except after a four-hour soak, the beans are drained. Then, every few hours, or when they look dry, they are again rinsed and immediately drained. I have found most organic dried beans will sprout their signature tail in as little as 24 hours.
More: Turn your leftover beans into dinner, all week long.
If you take a hard boiled egg or two and push each one through a wide mesh strainer with a spatula, you will end up with a classic eggs mimosa flourish that gives this salad a creamy edge. After you pile on the parsley and chives, you have a very fresh salad that feels every bit as nourshing as good, quality family time at the reunion picnic.
Serves 4 to 6
1/3 cup dried lentils du Puy or yellow shasta lentils
1/3 cup dried mung beans
1/3 cup organic dried chickpeas
4 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and pushed through a strainer (set over a bowl) with a spatula
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Butter leaf lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
Photos by Tom Hirschfeld