Giant Black Bean Salad

Giant Black Bean Salad Recipe

Let's go find summer. There are many times, particularly this time of year, when I turn to Wayne and say these four words. To find summer might mean taking a short stroll west, just far enough to sneak out from under the fog bank. Other times it requires getting in the car and escaping San Francisco altogether. We often go north to Napa or Point Reyes or Stinson Beach. Other times we head south to Pescadero, a little town set back from the coast a couple of miles - home to Harley Farms Goat Dairy and Phipps Country Store & Farm. The last time I was at Phipps a bin of their huge, glossy, black beans caught my attention. These were beans that looked like large black beetles. I bought a bag, and made this salad - black beans and toasted almonds tossed with a honey-jalapeno-lime dressing served over baby arugula and finished with a bit of crumbled feta.

Black Bean Salad Recipe

I think this is an example of how you can introduce an element of surprise and delight simply by playing with one element - in this case size. More specifically, the size of the beans. It has the potential to take the ubiquitous black bean salad into fresh territory. I took a bowl of the cooked beans to a friend's house and at a glance she thought I had a bowl full of black olives -when cooked they are the the size of my thumb, from the knuckle up. Super fun.

I think the beans were some sort of black runner beans (out of stock on their site), but don't let it deter you if you can't find the exact bean. I suspect black valentines would be nice here or midnight black beans - neither nearly as large, but still wonderful heirloom beans. I'm tempted to make this salad again using these Ayocote Negro, which I haven't used before.

Also, it probably goes without saying - it is worth it to cook up a pot of beans from scratch for a salad like this. The thing is, the beans are the star, so you want them to have great texture and flavor. But yes, you can substitute canned black beans and the sky isn't going to fall ;) The salad will still be good, a bit mushier, but still tasty.


Giant Black Bean Salad Recipe

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 small jalapeño, seeded, deveined and chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 small garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 -3 big handfuls baby arugula (or other salad greens), well washed and dried
3 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Start by making the dressing. I use an immersion blender - but a blender or food processor will work just as well. Combine the lime juice, vinegar, honey, jalapeño, salt, garlic and mustard and puree. Add the olive oil and puree until everything comes together. Taste and adjust with more salt, honey, or lime juice if needed. Set aside until you are ready to serve the salad.

Just before you are ready to serve the salad gently toss the arugula with a bit of the dressing. Arrange it on a platter. Now toss the beans and most of the almonds with a generous splash of the dressing. Arrange the beans on top of the arugula and finish by sprinkling with the remaining almonds and the crumbled feta cheese.

Serves 4 - 6.

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Your Comments

June 7, 2009

Those beans are incredible. Unfortunately, my black bean experiences generally involve a can opener. Though not always a bad thing... They fare quite well in a black bean and quinoa salad I make quite often.


June 8, 2009



Let's go find summer. The motto of my life right now. A California native in London means constantly on a quest to find some much needed sun and summer a walk that requires no rain gear or an outdoor BBQ! Though being in this part of the world does have its advantages...we are going to find a bit of summer in a few days for a quick trip to Nice, France. Canned beans are easy and great when you need them quick, but I love the flavor and density of the soak your own.


June 8, 2009


Those are the biggest black beans I've ever seen.

Kinda intimidating if you ask me :)


Wow this is a perfect vegetarian meal! So many of my favorite ingredients, all together in one dish.

The big black beans seem a little weird to me. Although I have been meaning to cook beans from scratch (I've never done it), so maybe this will be my first try.

Thanks, great post!


Those black beans are huge! I love them and so beautiful. Mixed bean salads are my go-to easy meal for summer. I make a whole batch at the start of the week and eat them throughout. I find they get even better as the week goes on and the beans have a chance to marinate a little.

I also like to throw in some raw sprouted lentils too. This recipe looks great!


Fantastic salad! I have never seen black beans so large and am now determined to find some near me.


This looks fantastic. I love black beans and now I want to find some of those heirloom beans you talked about.


Daily Spud
June 8, 2009

I pretty much always cook beans from scratch - I much prefer the taste and texture that results. If I could find giant black beans, I'd love to give them a whirl but, meanwhile, I think I'll be trying this with the regular-sized specimens...


Wowee, those are giant black beans! I've never seen such a thing and suspect that I won't be able to find them in my part of the woods, but I'm definitely going to try the recipe with another bean. Always happy to find more bean salad ideas :)


June 8, 2009

Heidi, you continually make me crave more healthy foods (I say as I sit here with my coffee and danish breakfast). Happy summer!


Nutmeg Nanny
June 8, 2009

Oh wow you weren't lying when you said those black beans were giant! The salad looks really refreshing for the summer.


June 8, 2009

it looks really tasty,
i think my hubby would like it to,
i am on diet so salads are better for me too


Black beans? never seen before, they are giant! I'll try to find them here in France...


June 8, 2009

Those beans look amazing! I've been craving black beans lately, and now I'm going to have to get some soaking. Hope I can find an interesting variety locally.


June 8, 2009

those r the iggest black beans i have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1


Lucy C
June 8, 2009

Wow. This looks fantastic and I am determined to give it a try. Not sure where I am going to find black beans that big though. Thanks for sharing!


June 8, 2009

This salad does look delicious. Is there an error in the ingredients? Rather than 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil should it be 1/4 cup?

HS: Yes, good catch Don. I meant cup not teaspoon. Whoops. I've updated the recipe.


June 8, 2009

These are the summer delights! what a lovely quick flavorful salad. I have never used these beans, now i'll go find them.


June 8, 2009

verry verry taste


June 8, 2009

Looks fabulous - Can't wait to try . . .

Question: What type of mustard do you recommend, or is it mustard powder?

HS: I usually have a small jar of Dijon mustard in the refrigerator - though I'm not particularly loyal to any certain brand at this point. Not powder.


June 8, 2009

Love the dressing!! What a great combination - thanks Heidi!


June 8, 2009

Your summer salads look so good, makes me even more anxious for things to start growing up here in Alaska. Luckily, it won't be too long as arugula is one of the first of the season. I bought some bean from Rancho Gordo a while back on your recommendation. Good stuff.


Those beans look beautiful. I love the flavor combination in the dressing - can't wait to try!


This salad looks divine - I'm adding it to the ever-growing list of 101 Cookbook recipes I need to make!


June 8, 2009

looks delish. i made a black bean salad last week with chopped red onion, scallion, cherry tomatoes and red pepper, drizzled with white balsamic.


matthew m.s
June 8, 2009

I am very interested to cook this item and
[ I love them ]


June 8, 2009

Love this recipe but wonder what to substitute for two ingredients in dressing: honey & mustard. Believe it or not, allergic to both. Usually work around but perhaps you can help me here and in other recipes.
You're the best and I love knowing what you're up to daily.


Liz Caskey
June 8, 2009

Wow! At first, I though the black beans actually looked like olives. Most definitely the largest I have ever seen.

Heidi, with all the beans that you eat, do have a trick to help make them easier to digest (how to put this nicely, less flatulence)?
At the recommendation of some old school Chilean cooks, I have been soaking them for 24 hours with 1 teaspoon baking soda/2 cups dry beans. I must say, it seems to be working wonders. I am curious if there's any alternative remedy that doesn't need a whole day soaking??

Saludos, Liz


June 8, 2009

Acabo de recibir esta receta... deliciosa!!!!


June 8, 2009

The black beans so big..and am sure the almonds added lot of flavour!



June 8, 2009

Looks so good! I'll be trying this one out for sure!


Marissa Makes
June 8, 2009

Honey, jalapeno. lime, oh yum! I love the spicy arugula too, my greens are really starting to grow. I can't wait to start munching on them.


June 8, 2009



sangeeta khanna
June 8, 2009

i love bean salads with nuts but the black beans are new for me n i dunno if they are available in India.....loved it.


Cook 4 Seasons
June 8, 2009

Holy guacamole! (Oh those beans would be great with avocados;-)
I am enjoying beans in all types of salads, too, but as usual, you've created another winning recipe.
Liz - if you can find epazote, use about a tsp. when you cook the black beans to 'tone down the music.'


June 8, 2009

You have become my salad guru! Made your whiskey wheat berry salad and it.....was....fantastic!!! A keeper.


June 8, 2009

This salad sounds absolutely delicious! Black beans, feta and toasted almonds oh my!


June 8, 2009

BeAtles = old British band.

BeEtles: = bugs you were referring to in your simile

:-) Cheers! This recipe looks absolutely fabulous and delicious. As always, your writing is captivating and the photos excellent (which is why I can't help but bring errors to you so it remains at the high quality I am used to!)

HS: Omg. YES. You are totally right. Really glad that went out to a few hundred thousand people. Way to start the week :/ -h


Cookin' Canuck
June 8, 2009

Unbelievable! Those black beans have been working out. Your salad is gorgeous.


i love the recipes you do with dressings, like the sushi bowls! always so easy and delicious! i hope you find summer many, many times in the upcoming months :-)

HS: Thanks Michelle, me too! Glad you are liking the dressings.


June 8, 2009

Love the dressing here! I'd probably up the jalapeno to a full one instead of a half, especially since the seeds are removed and it's deveined too, which cools the pepper considerably (and I like heat in dressings often), but I'll try the dressing as you stated the first time (I always follow recipes as written the first time at least, otherwise how will I know what the original was like if I start tweaking it the very first time I try it -- I notice this is NOT the practice of some of your commenters who immediately report doing a mad-chemist routine on your recipes, trying to improve what they've never even tasted, alas!).


Looks great! I've got some Rancho Gordo Christmas Limas that I'm going to substitute. Should be good!


June 8, 2009

Nothing could be simpler, tastier, or more economical than black beans this is a prefect summer salad. . .

Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipe:)


June 8, 2009

This is a really delicious looking black bean salad! I like your addition of toasted almonds!


June 8, 2009

I love your website for seasonal recipes. I just received two bok choy from a farm near my house and was looking for a new recipe. I didn't see anything on here, time to feature this great spring green!


June 8, 2009

I have used their Speckled Brown Cow and Wren's Egg beans in both hot and cold dishes. Phipps is an amazing place...but, you need to stock up in the late fall when the crops come in....almost always gone by Spring!. Great salad suggestion, as always.


June 8, 2009

delicious!!! just finished it for dinner, sitting in the mild evening out on the deck...this recipe is definitely a keeper. Thank you!


June 8, 2009

wow, that dressing sounds out of this world. i love cooking a whole mess of beans, freezing some and using some for dishes like this.


June 8, 2009

I have never considered combining black beans and greens before. Interesting!


June 8, 2009

I guess that would add the element of fun.. giant black beans. I think I'll look for those on my next visit to the grocery store.


Myrtle Luma
June 8, 2009

This looks fantastic, lucky you to have found such beautiful beans.

Great ideas.



June 9, 2009

Quick question...wet or dry mustard?

HS: Hi Karen, wet mustard.


June 9, 2009

Made this salad last night for dinner and posted the results this morning -- thanks Heidi! It was one of those great times when I read the recipe in the morning, realized I had all the ingredients, and just went for it that night for dinner! I switched in spinach for the arugula, since that's what I had, but isn't that what is awesome about salads? They're like pizza dough... some combinations of toppings are better than others, but with a great base recipe, you can substitute ingredients without too much of a headache.


June 9, 2009

Those look like the black fava beans they sell over here in the Middle East, aka "fuul"


June 9, 2009

great combination... love this recipe... a must make.. yummyy!! thanx for sharing :)


June 9, 2009

MMMM great combo of flavors, I wish I saw this before I went to the store at lunch time, I would have totally made this tonight!


June 9, 2009

this salad is awesome! i added cilantro to the dressing and blended it in and topped it with sliced avocado. delicious and healthy!


The Duo Dishes
June 9, 2009

We eat our share of black beans, so this is a keeper.


June 9, 2009

We grew beans last year and when I cooked them from dried this year they were HUGE!! Very soft and wonderful though, may have been scarlet runners.


June 9, 2009

This black bean salad is to die for.


June 9, 2009

This is so inventive how you use honey in such a savory dish! I love using honey in my baking!


June 9, 2009

I can't eat mustard, and I find that a good replacement is--believe it or not--tahini.

You might have to experiment, but the flavors, blended, are both tangy.

I love this website!


June 10, 2009

Heidi - I made this the other night with some Rancho Gordo Vaquero beans that I had frozen after making a double batch. I used arugula out of the garden, but I had to leave out the lime and jalepeno. It was FABULOUS. When I served it to my husband, he looked at it a bit sideways and said "I usually like my beans separate."...let's just say he went back for seconds. YUM!!!


June 10, 2009

Alright Heidi, you've tempted me before with your delicious-looking bean recipes, and this was no exception! I actually decided to order some things from Rancho Gordo. Don't know what took me so long. But I'm definitely inspired by your salad!


kiss my spatula
June 10, 2009

having lived in san francisco for 5 years, i completely remember those days of leaving the city in an effort to "find" the sun. funny! the salad looks so tasty!


Erika W
June 10, 2009

I love to find summer the same way and same places and would also recommend Arcangeli Market in Pescadero for their artichoke focaccia. Another town to find summer in is San Juan Bautista, near Hollister in San Benito County. It's mission is beautiful and there are good eats in town.


June 10, 2009

Thanks!!! Great to have a new black bean recipe. I have some dried ones hanging around, leftovers from making the black bean brownies!


June 11, 2009

Wow, this was tatsy! Thanks Heidi!

I cooked some red and white quinoa (about a cup) and added it to the recip as well. Nice way to add some protein and other nutrients. It makes a great packable lunch with pita pockets or in a wrap (we like the Ezekiel sprouted grain ones tortillas).

Someone asked about making the beans easier to digest. You can try adding some epazote leaves. This is a central American traditional food. If you have a Mexican grocery, you may be able to get fresh. and others have dried available.


alison Lewis
June 11, 2009

I love the idea of using the jalapeno in this! great work, Alison


June 14, 2009

Phipps is the BEST - now I want to go make a run myself! I'll definitely be trying this recipe!


June 14, 2009



Violet Lynn
June 15, 2009

Giant Black Beans?I think this salad is good for health.I love your recipes.


June 15, 2009

I used Black Valentines for this, creamy and delicious....


June 15, 2009

These beans actually freak me out. They remind me too much of cockroaches. I think I will try the recipe with regular-size black beans.


Candice Kingston
June 16, 2009

I took the fixings for this camping at the Sand Dunes this past weekend and we ended up having the leftovers with our scrambled eggs the next morning... super yummy! Happy summer to you and yours! Love your recipes!


anne Jennings
June 17, 2009

I stumbed on your site and am delighted as our my culinary guinea pigs here in Zambia. We have relatively great access to ingredients but always have to improvise. This I made with mystery beans, passionfruit instead of limes, pepperdew instead of jalepenos, etc but the result was yummy. we added shredded chicken, tomatoes and more feta for Day 2 leftovers. Thanks for the great ideas and recipes that are out of this world. Tonight we are revisiting a family favorite, your pea soup.


Christy in Toronto
June 17, 2009

Yet another fantastic recipe. I had to substitute a few things - blue cheese for feta, pine nuts for the almonds, and habanero sauce for the jalapeno, and it was still unbelievable. I really needed something new to do with black beans too!
Thanks for this and all the other amazing ideas on this site. We're eating healthier because of it.


abby kelly
June 18, 2009

I'm definately a novice in the kitchen - but I LOVE your healthy inspirations. This salad was amazing!