A delicious side salad, yet hearty enough to be a complete meal. Made with asparagus and canned beans, this dish is great served cold or at room temperature!
Dear Reader, if there’s just one ingredient that I cannot get enough of, its got to be asparagus. In our home, it’s the one vegetable that we can all agree on. Of course, there’s other vegetables that we all like as well, but I think asparagus is the one that we all like equally no matter how it’s prepared. To showcase the versatility, here’s one of our favourites: Asparagus Bean Salad!
There’s a few recipes here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen that showcases asparagus as the star vegetable that it is, but this is the first recipe that uses canned beans as one of the main ingredients as well.
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INGREDIENTS NEEDED FOR THIS RECIPE:
The following is a list of the ingredients needed to prepare this Asparagus Bean Salad. For exact amounts and measurements, refer to the printable recipe card located near the bottom of this post.
- Asparagus – You will need about one pound, which is equal to one bunch. Trim the hard bit at the bottom, wash and cut the spears into one inch pieces.
- Canned Beans – Be sure to rinse them well under cold water and shake off the excess moisture.
- Green Onions – These will add flavour and freshness.
- Parsley – More freshness, colour, and garnish!
- Rice – This is a great recipe for leftover cold rice!
- Olive Oil – Use extra virgin light olive oil to keep the oil flavour muted.
- Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice is the best!
- Vinegar – You can use almost any light vinegar you like here, such as cider, champagne, rice wine, etc.
- Worcestershire Sauce – If you want to keep this dish vegetarian, you can buy vegetarian-friendly Worcestershire!
- Salt & Ground Black Pepper
WHAT ARE LUPINI BEANS?
If you’re not familiar with lupini beans, let me just tell you a little bit about them, because that’s the type of beans I’m using in my salad. You don’t have to use lupini beans, but more about that in a bit. The first time I tasted lupini beans was about ten years ago. I remember trying them only because I was basically begged and pleaded with. The idea that these beans came from a can and needed to be “peeled” was not something I found even remotely appealing. (See what I did there!?)
Much to my surprise, they were delicious. I loved the texture – almost like a chickpea, but a tad bit firmer. The saltiness was a bit much for my personal taste, but that’s because the person who offered the lupini beans to me had not rinsed them first under cold water. (I’m not a huge fan of lots of salt in my food.)
Lupini beans are actually a seed which is typically prepared by being pickled. They’re a very common snack food in the Mediterranean. In Italy, they’re commonly found as a Christmastime snack. I can’t say that I’ve ever found them whole or dried at a grocer, but you can find the canned version just about anywhere! A 19-ounce can is less than two dollars, so not expensive at all. The next time you’re out for groceries, purchase a can and give them a try.
PREPARING CANNED LUPINI BEANS
It’s important to rinse the canned lupini beans very well under cold running water. The brine can be quite salty. Lupini beans also have a skin (husk) on them that I prefer to remove. The skin is completely edible, but I find the skin to be a little tough, so for the purpose of this salad particularly, I recommend removing it.
To remove the skin, simply place the lupini bean firmly between your thumb and index finger and pinch it. The bean will pop out and possible fly across the room – ha! – so I like to cup my free hand under it to catch the bean and prevent it from ending up on the floor or onto the top of a cabinet! This process is a bit tedious, but think of it as thumb and index finger exercise!
OTHER BEAN OPTIONS
There are so many different varieties of beans that could work in this dish if you do not want to use lupini beans. But, to keep this dish quick, easy, budget-friendly, and simple, I’m going to talk about canned beans only. Canned beans can be found just about anywhere, and they are always decently priced. And, if you’re much like me, you probably have a few cans in your pantry already!
No matter what type of bean you decide to use, you should rinse them well under cold running water first. Canned beans are usually packed in a brine or a sauce and we don’t want any of that flavour. So, back to beans! I would consider using pinto beans, or white kidney beans. Butter beans are also a good choice. To make the asparagus stand out, use a muted colour bean, not a red kidney bean or a black bean.
If you want to add a bit of texture, you could also consider using chickpeas. Chickpeas would actually be a great choice for this dish! In fact, the next time I make this Asparagus Bean Salad, I’m going to use chickpeas rather than lupini!
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HOW TO PREPARE THIS DISH
Start by bringing a pot of salted water to boil. Add the chopped asparagus and return to a boil. Immediately drain the asparagus and submerge in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
Next, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper, and salt. Set aside. Remove the asparagus from the ice water and drain well. Add the rice, rinsed beans, asparagus, green onions, and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
Pour the sauce mixture over the rice and bean mixture and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
RICE MAKES IT HEARTY – USE YOUR FAVOURITE RICE!
Okay, that’s enough talk about lupini beans. I think you get the idea! Let’s talk instead about this salad. Asparagus Bean Salad can be used as a side dish or even a complete meal. It’s certainly hearty enough with the addition of the rice. Oh, and you can certainly use any rice you’d like. I used white rice in this recipe, because it’s what I had on hand. But, you can use brown rice for extra texture and extra protein too.
This salad has a slightly tart taste, thanks to the vinegar, lemon juice, and the Worcestershire sauce. I call this salad vegetarian, even though Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it. Most of the vegetarians I know eat fish – and I know that makes them pescetarian, but that’s their business. I don’t judge people for whatever label they want to assign themselves! (Truth be told, John.e refers to himself as a vegetarian, but he’s eaten fish a few times in the past year.)
By the way, you can buy Worcestershire sauce without anchovies. I used to buy it all the time, but now I just buy the regular stuff. Depending on the type you use, be sure to taste the salad and add more salt if needed. Also, depending on the thickness of the asparagus, you might need a bit more salt. As you can see, the asparagus I used were very thick, so I did add a dash or two more salt.
Lastly, you can serve this at room temperature. I know there’s many people who don’t care much for cold asparagus. But, I prefer it cold from the fridge. This would make a great summer potluck or picnic dish too, since there’s nothing in it that’s super heat sensitive! Enjoy!
Do You Like This Recipe?
You should consider trying these other delicious recipes too!
Asparagus Bean Salad
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, washed, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 19 ounces canned beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup green onions, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 4 cups cooked rice, cooled
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the chopped asparagus and return to a boil. Immediately drain the asparagus and submerge in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ground black pepper, and salt. Set aside.
- Remove the asparagus from the ice water and drain well.
- Add the rice, rinsed beans, asparagus, green onions, and parsley to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the rice and bean mixture and toss to coat.
- Serve at room temperature or chilled.
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