Adzuki Bean Salad with Squash

Vibrant flavors of adzuki bean with zesty lime and basil make this the most delicious bean salad I’ve ever tasted. It’s best at room temperature or slightly warm like a Niçoise, which heightens the taste. Adzuki beans are valued in Chinese medicine for a rich earthy flavor, detoxifying the blood, clearing congestion, and aiding in weight loss. Their high iron content enriches the blood and prevents anemia. Soak adzuki beans 8 – 12 hours before cooking; or you can go all the way and sprout them, for even more nutritional value and digestibility. Winter squash is a primary source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A for healthy skin, bones, vision, and a strong immune system. Flaxseed oil adds tasty Omega-3 nutrition that many of us are lacking. I use liquid coconut aminos as a gluten-free, non-soy alternative to soy sauce. Look for sugar-free, non-GMO bacon, however this salad tastes every bit as fantastic without it, so bacon is optional. This recipe has many healthy qualities: gluten-free, grain-free, GMO-free, and hypo-allergenic. However it is not Paleo, since beans are not part of the ancestral diet. You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, but I guarantee it will be gone well before that. I created the recipe for my Qigong class as an example of healthy food for the season, and they devoured it completely. Serves 6 – 8 people.

Adzuki Bean Salad with Squash

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Ingredients

    Salad:
  • 1 cup dry adzuki beans
  • 1 small squash in cubes (such as butternut, acorn, kabuki, etc.) Pre-cubed squash works fine. You can also use pumpkin, sweet potato, or yam.
  • 3 green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, coarsely grated
  • 3 slices bacon, diced and cooked until crispy (optional)
  • Lime Basil Dressing:
  • 2 large limes or 1 1/2 lemons, peeled, sliced, and seeded
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons liquid coconut aminos
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root, diced
  • 1 teaspoon unprocessed salt to taste and some black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sweetener (optional) such as Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener, or 1/2 teaspoon PureLo Lo Han Sweetener by Swanson, or 2 teaspoons raw honey, or your favorite sweetener.

Instructions

    Salad:
  1. Soak the adzuki beans 8 to 12 hours. Or you can sprout them for even more nutrition. Drain and rinse well. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 1 hour. Do not add salt. Remove from heat and set aside or chill.
  2. Cook the squash (or pumpkin etc.) by steaming it in a saucepan with a bit of salt and 1-inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, turn down and cover to simmer for 5 minutes, or until a fork pierces the cubes. Do not overcook or you'll have mashed salad.
  3. Place all the salad ingredients in a large mixing bowl: Adzuki, squash, green onions, carrots, and bacon, if using.
  4. Lime Basil Dressing:
  5. Blend together all the dressing ingredients: limes or lemons, garlic, olive oil, flax oil, sesame oil, amino, ginger, salt, basil, and optional sweetener. When it is liquefied, pour it over the salad in the mixing bowl. Stir well and serve with assorted greens.