Why It Works
- Using a variety of ingredients adds a spectrum of textures and flavors to each bite.
- Quick-pickling the onions tames their pungent flavor while adding a tart pop to the salad.
I love bean salads for their ease of preparation and completeness as a one-bowl meal. The question, though, is how to prevent them from tasting like a boring bowlful of beans. The answer is simple: Go for maximum contrast, both in texture and in flavor. Here, I add layers of crispness and crunch with Marcona almonds, diced radish, chopped radicchio, and plenty of fresh parsley, scallion, and quick-pickled onion.
- 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
- Red wine vinegar, for pickling
- 1/2 cup Marcona almonds
- 4 cups cooked drained beans (fresh or canned; see note), such as turtle, navy, and/or black-eyed peas
- 3 radishes, finely diced
- 2 scallions, white and light green parts only, chopped
- 1 (6-ounce) head radicchio, quartered, cored, and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (from 1 bunch)
- Simple Vinaigrette, for dressing
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, add onion and pour enough vinegar over it to just cover. Let stand 15 minutes.
Place almonds in a zipper-lock plastic bag, push out air, and seal. Using a skillet, smash almonds until roughly crushed.
Drain onions. In a large bowl, combine marinated onions, smashed almonds, beans, radishes, scallions, radicchio, and parsley. Drizzle with vinaigrette, tossing, until ingredients are lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Salad can be refrigerated up to 3 days.
If using dried beans, 3/4 pound dried will yield approximately 4 cups cooked. If using canned, 3 (15-ounce) cans should provide the 4 cups cooked beans called for here. Read more on dried-to-cooked/canned bean conversions here. To cook dried beans, soak overnight (or, if you're short on time, bring to a boil in a pot of water), then drain. Add plenty of fresh cold water to cover, along with aromatics like onion, garlic, and carrots, and season with salt; bring to a simmer and cook until beans are tender.