This colorful, subtly sweet-sour red bean salad, embellished with the flavor of pickled beets, provides a nice contrast to mild pasta, potato, or grain dishes. It’s a nice side dish to serve with grilled vegetables, too. Photos by Evan Atlas.
Pickled beets (or see shortcut)
- 3 to 4 medium beets
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
- 1/2 medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 cup thinly sliced green cabbage
- 15- to 16-ounce can small red beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup minced fresh dill
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
- Additional vinegar, lemon juice, and agave or maple syrup
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
If you like raw beets, by all means, use them that way. Simply peel and cut into small dice or thin slices. To microwave them, place whole beets in a covered container with just enough water to keep the bottom moist. Microwave for 2 minutes per beet, adding more time as needed until they’re just tender enough to be pierced through with a fork. To cook, place them whole beets in a saucepan with just enough water to barely cover, bring to a simmer, then cook until you can just pierce through with a fork.
Allow microwaved or cooked beets to cool, then peel and cut into small dice or thin slices.
Combine the vinegar, lemon juice, and agave in a shallow container and stir together. Add the beets, and allow to stand for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer, the better. Once you’re ready to complete the salad, drain off the liquid.
Combine the onions, cabbage, beans, and dill in a serving container.
Stir in the beets and optional olive oil. Taste and add a bit more vinegar, lemon juice, and agave to bring up the sweet/sour balance. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
Shortcut: Use a 12-ounce jar of pickled beets. Look for natural pickled beets, especially fermented ones, and not those that doused in high-fructose corn syrup.
- Here are more easy bean main dishes.