Embrace change with a Three Bean Salad


School is back in session, the sunset is coming earlier and earlier in the evening, and in just a week or so autumn will officially be here. Greek philosopher Heraclitus once mused that change is the only constant in life, and there seems to be an element of truth in that.

In my own little world there have been changes afoot, the biggest one being my eldest child has moved away to go to college. For those who have been there and done that, you know what an astronomically large shift that is for a family.

I have several friends whose kids have moved this fall to Arizona, Washington, Colorado, Oklahoma and New York to attend school. So I count myself lucky that my son is just one hour away. But the change is real.

The dinner table is set for four now instead of five. We take the Toyota Corolla instead of the minivan. There are only two, not three, students whose papers and math problems I need to grade. A carton of ice cream lasts longer.

Mostly, I’m learning to deal with not seeing my firstborn every day. While I do miss the daily hugs, nightly dinners, and everyday conversations with him, I am excited for this new season in his life and for all that he will learn and experience.

Another change in my life has happened in my kitchen. With one less person in the house, I’ve had to adjust the amount of food I buy, store and prepare. And while that seems like a small thing (and admittedly, it is), it’s still an adjustment.

Two 9×13 pans of lasagna? Not anymore. Double the recipe for hummus? Nope. Two batches of chocolate chip cookie dough? Well, maybe that one will stay the same.

And while change may be a constant in life, it can also be something to look forward to. Take the case of bean salads. Who doesn’t remember the bean salads of yore, those highly vinegary, slightly mushy mixtures composed of kidney beans, canned green beans, and canned yellow wax beans? When they made an appearance at potlucks, I always tried to avoid them.

So, I was skeptical when I saw a recipe online for a “delicious” Three Bean Salad. Um, no thanks. But this salad had edamame. That was different. And healthier.

One of my goals this year has been to add more healthy fats into my family’s diet. Healthy fats, if you will remember, are considered “good fats” with healthy benefits. When we consume them, they help keep our brains sharp, our skin smooth and our hearts fit.

Examples of foods with healthy fats include oils, eggs, avocados, nuts and fish. This week’s recipe has a couple of sources of healthy fats, specifically monounsaturated fatty acids from the olive oil and omega 3 fatty acids from the edamame.

Another great thing is a one-half cup serving of edamame has 11 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber, so this salad packs a nutritional punch alongside those healthy fats. This updated recipe for Three Bean Salad, adapted from Epicurious, definitely made a change for the better.

Three Bean Salad with Edamame

Serves 4 to 6

1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame (8 ounces)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 cups thinly sliced celery

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook edamame in a 2-quart saucepan of boiling salted water, uncovered, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander, then rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over moderately low heat until hot but not smoking, then cook cumin, stirring, until fragrant and a shade darker, about 30 seconds. Pour into a large heatproof bowl.

Add edamame and remaining ingredients to cumin oil and toss to coat. Let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend.


About Author