Now that picnic season is upon us, I get nostalgic over classic summertime fare. There is nothing quite like a family reunion over fried chicken and a potluck dinner, tables threatening to buckle under the weight of all the CorningWare and Pyrex.
Of course, there are the old favorites: green bean casserole, scalloped potatoes, pea salad with bacon and mayonnaise, three bean salad, and most certainly a mustardy potato salad — and, if luck is with me, an old-fashioned custard pie sprinkled with a little nutmeg. I love all these foods — but this year, I want something new.
Ever since I started sprouting foods last fall, I have wanted to use sprouted beans to make a three bean salad. I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner, but summer is here, so I am going for it.
I haven’t really strayed too much from a classic three bean in that I still use apple cider vinegar and bacon drippings in my dressing, laced with a touch of sugar to take off the vinegar’s edge. I wanted the sprouted beans to stand out, using the remainder of the ingredients solely as support.
Sprouting the beans doesn’t really add any time to the whole process — unless, of course, you are used to canned beans. Otherwise, soaking the beans overnight is similar to sprouting, except after a four-hour soak, the beans are drained. Then, every few hours, or when they look dry, they are again rinsed and immediately drained. I have found most organic dried beans will sprout their signature tail in as little as 24 hours.
If you take a hard boiled egg or two and push them through a wide mesh strainer with a spatula, you will end up with a classic eggs mimosa flourish that gives this salad a creamy edge. After you pile on the parsley and chives, what you wind up with is a very fresh salad that feels every bit as nourishing as good, quality family time at the reunion picnic.
Author Notes: A great bean salad for anytime of year. Sprouting the beans, in my experience, doesn’t take any longer then to overnight soak and cook most beans but to be certain give yourself 24 to 36 hours. You can always put the sprouted beans into the fridge which will keep them from growing long tails until you are ready for them. Don’t expect the beans to be starchy. They are a living plant now and are much more like a vegetable.
Sprouted Three Bean Salad (Serves 4 to 6)
1/3 cup dried lentils du puy or yellow shasta lentils
1/3 cup dried mung beans
1/3 cup organic dried chick peas
4 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, minced
1 tablespoon chives, minced
2 tablespoons red onion, minced
2 hard boiled eggs peeled and pushed through a strainer(set over a bowl) with a spatula
salt and fresh ground pepper
butter leaf lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
1. Place each bean into its own 1 quart jar. Fill the jar half way with hot water. Set the jars to the back of the sink and let them sit for 4 to 6 hours.
2. At the end of the soak time place a strainer backwards onto the top of the jar. Holding it firmly to the jar drain each bean of the soaking liquid.
3. Every 2 to 4 hours rinse the beans and drain them in the same manner. Obviously don’t get up during the night to do this. In the morning look for the tale tell white tail of a sprouted bean. If there is a tail they are ready. If not rinse and drain until you have a tail.
4. Place the bacon onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake it in a heated 400˚ F oven for 12 to 16 minutes or until crisp tender. Remove the tray and tilt it onto a sauté pan or some other non melting item so the grease drains from the bacon but collects to one side. Let the bacon and grease cool.
5. Chop the bacon into bits.
6. Combine the cider vinegar with the sugar and 5 or 6 grinds of black pepper. Pour off 3 tablespoons of bacon grease into a bowl. Combine it with the cider and whisk to combine.
7. Combine the sprouted beans with the bacon bits, red onion, and herbs. Season with a good pinch or more of salt. Stir in the dressing and top with the eggs mimosa. Serve atop butter leaf lettuce leaves if desired.