Colorful, beautiful, and so tasty — this is the perfect summer side dish for barbecues or a vegan main course. When my friends at Melissa’s Produce sent me a sample of the ever-so-stunning Dragon Tongue Beans, I wondered if I should use them in the kitchen, or simply set them out in a pretty bowl for display. Dragon Tongue beans bring a delightful crunch when added to salads raw. The smaller they are, they younger they were when they were harvested, and that’s when they’re best eaten raw.
My beans were fairly large — about 6-inches each. So in this salad, as the main ingredient, I wanted to soften them slightly. To do so, I briefly steamed them, which intensified their delicious nutty, subtly sweet flavor, and at the same time it faded many (but not all) of the streaks of purple color. I wasn’t expecting this — it reminded me of my Purple Sweet Potato Muffins that turned green in the oven. So this was another one of my unplanned foodie science experiments in my kitchen. 😉 This salad has a lovely blend of textures and colors and is the perfect scrumptious summer side, or picnic item. It will be the prettiest dish at the party and totally wow the guests!
Dragon Tongue beans are usually available now through September, and you can likely find them in the specialty produce sections of markets like Sprouts, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms and Gelson’s. For more information from Melissa’s Produce about these cool beans, you can go here.
And yes, if you can’t get your hands on these, of course you can replace them with green, yellow, or any others you’d like. The end result will still be divine.
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1½ teaspoons chili paste (I like Sambal Oelek)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- a few turns of freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1-pound Dragon Tongue beans, washed, dried & root ends trimmed
- 2 cups loosely packed, mixed micro greens, washed and dried
- a few red Thai chile peppers for garnish and added heat if desired
- Add the vinegar, mustard, honey, chili paste, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. Gradually add the oil while still whisking. Once it's smooth, set aside.
- Prepare a large mixing bowl with ice water and set it aside.
- Place a steamer rack into a pot with the water level just below it. Over high heat, bring the water to a boil and then add the beans to the rack, sprinkle lightly with salt and cover. Steam just until they're about 50% more tender, about 3 minutes.
- Immediately drain and add the beans to the bowl of ice water -- this will help preserve any bits of purple still remaining. Let them sit in the ice water until they're cold, then drain, dry them, and add them to a large mixing bowl.
- Toss the beans with the micro greens and the dressing.
- Wash, dry, and slice the red chile peppers in half for garnish (and added heat) if desired.