Exotic Bean Salad

Everyone loves beans; in burritos, mixed with interesting rice, in salsas, etc. We are blogging from southern california after all and I wont pretend to deny our mexican influences. We should note though, when people think beans, they generally think of black beans or pinto beans or perhaps even lentils. But as some of you may not know, there are a multitude, more than you are imagining right now, of different varieties of beans out there. And they're not hard to find either. This week's recipe utilizes some of these not as well known beans as well as some fresh produce and nuts that you can easily find at our market.

It's time to get adventurous and broaden your horizons in the vast world of beans. It does take a bit of time to cook all these strange beans, but if you make a large quantity you can eat it all week!

Exotic Bean Salad 
1 cup azuki beans
1 cup mung beans
1 cup cooked black garbanzo beans
1 bunch green cauliflower, chopped in small pieces (personal preference for salads)
3 to 5 dates, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup chia seeds
3 Tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey (to taste)
3 tablespoons nigella seeds
salt, to taste

First you must cook your beans. It is best to do this separately as they all have their individual cooking times and water needs. AND this way you can cook more than you need and use the leftovers in another dish like this amazing sounding kale salad, because we all know how much we love kale!
Pace azuki beans in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30-45 minutes, until tender.
Boil 3 cups water. Add mung beans, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes to an hour until all water is absorbed and beans are tender.
Heat oil in pan, add garlic after 1 minute. Saute cauliflower for 5 minutes with garlic and salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool.
Now mix all ingredients together in large bowl, stir it all up, and enjoy your exotic dish!

If this message has gotten you at all curious about beans, here is an aesthetically nice 'how to' provided by rancho gordo. Enjoy!

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