During the last photo shoot for my cookbook we focused on my pantry and capturing ingredient glossary shots. For these, I needed to have all my favorite beans on hand; since many are heirloom beans, I made a big order from Rancho Gordo in California. They have the best range or runner beans, which are large, creamy and super flavorful. Runners come in all colors: scarlet, which I used here, black, purple and white. They make any dish special and taste great in a simple olive oil and vinegar marinade. These black runners, called Ayocote negro are absolutely beautiful and make the simplest of meals stand out. They also seem to keep their bright shine, and shape even after being cooked and the texture is delightfully creamy. I do find that they need to cook 40 minutes in the pressure cooker, rather than 30 minutes like other large beans. If you’re boiling them you may need to allow another 30 to 40 minutes to make sure they are cooked through.
Having a jar of these cooked beans in the fridge, effortlessly dresses up simple salads or any plain steamed vegetable or grain bowl. I’ve bean eating variations of this salad all week, steaming vegetables I have on hand, sometimes stirring in some warm quinoa and always topping it with a bit of avocado. I’m also been adding this tasty cilantro pumpkin seed dressing (inspired by this recipe) to anything that needs a burst of bright flavor.
Tangy cilantro Pumpkin Seed Dressing
The inspiration for this dressing comes from My New Roots. If you have plenty of limes and want a more pronounced lime flavor then replace some of the apple cider vinegar with fresh lime juice. I enjoy this dressing both thick and creamy and also thinned out a bit with a little extra water, depending on what I’m drizzling it over.
Makes about 1 ¼ cup
½ cup freshly toasted pumpkin seeds
½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
½ – 1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon white balsamic
1 teaspoon tamari
Large pinch cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
Sea salt to taste
½ cup filtered water, plus more to thin out dressing
¼ cup cold pressed flax oil
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Add all ingredients to an upright blender and blend until smooth. Add sea salt to taste and extra cayenne pepper, and blend again. Pour into a jar and store any left over in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Heirloom black bean and kabocha Salad
Although not pictured here, avocado makes a great addition to this salad.
If you cooked the beans ahead like I often do, you can reheat them when you steam the squash or serve them room temperature.
2 cups cooked black runner (Ayocote Negro) beans, drained
¼ of a medium kabocha squash, seeded, cut in thirds and sliced in ¼ inch thick pieces
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Cilantro leaves and toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish
While beans are still warm place them in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, stir to combine and set aside.
Place kabocha in a steamer basket and steam for about 10 minutes or until soft but not falling apart. Add to the beans, along with the scallions and gently toss to combine. Divide into bowls, sprinkle with cilantro leaves and pumpkin seeds and drizzle with dressing.
Print recipe here.