Small and sweet, adzuki beans are a staple of Asian desserts, from mooncakes to sugary soups and puddings. But it would be a shame to think of these beans solely as a dessert ingredient. When paired with zesty seasonings like ginger and scallions, they make a flavorful and nutritious legume just right for lunch or dinner.
Nutrient-rich adzuki beans have a pleasant nutty flavor and are sweeter than most beans. Combining them with warm, spicy, and sharp flavors like sesame oil, ginger, and vinegar balances out the sweetness and makes a satisfying, Asian-inspired salad. With work and school schedules ramping up, this is a good, easy recipe to have on hand.
Look for adzuki beans in dried or canned form at Asian markets and health food stores (like Whole Foods). The addition of avocado is totally optional but highly recommended.
Adzuki Bean Salad
Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
2 cups cooked adzuki beans (drained)
2 scallions (white and green parts), sliced diagonally
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Dash white pepper
Place the adzuki beans, scallions, and cilantro in a bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the ginger, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and white pepper. Pour over the beans and toss to combine.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine. Taste and season with salt, if desired.
Optional: top with avocado slices or cubes just before serving.
(Images: Emily Ho)