Sunday, June 1, 2014

Georgian Bean Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

A few years ago, I went to St. Petersburg to teach with a program called SLS and discovered the wonderful food of the Republic of Georgia. I'd never had anything like it. It has Russian, Middle Eastern and European influences, and there are lots of traditional vegetarian dishes. Ground walnuts and fresh herbs are in everything, adding richness and bright, springlike flavors.

When I got home, I immediately bought The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein. Only a handful of the recipes in it are vegan, but boy, are they amazing. The recipe below is adapted from that book. It's full of protein and makes a great lunch.

Georgian Bean Salad with Walnuts and Herbs

2 cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, chopped
a few sprigs cilantro
a sprig of parsley
1/2 c walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 t salt
hot pepper to taste
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
juice of 1/2 orange (about 1/4 c) plus juice of 1/2 lemon
pomegranate seeds if you can get them (optional)
more cilantro and parsley for garnish (a small handful of each)

Mix the beans with the chopped onion and set aside. Put all of the other ingredients except the pomegranate seeds and herbs for garnish into the blender and blend. Then mix into the beans. Sprinkle liberally with cilantro and parsley, and also pomegranate seeds if you have them. It's best if you let it sit for an hour or two to let the flavors meld. Serve at room temperature.

Here's a lovely, fancier interpretation from The New York Times.

Carpets, Elene Akhvlediani, 1898 - 1975

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