I eat a lot of salads, although not many of them have lettuce- I prefer salads substantial enough to be eaten as a meal, with interest and variety in each bite (Fava Bean and Pomegranate Salad, Spicy Korean Radish Salad and Rhubarb Mint Salad will give you an idea of my type of salad). I also don’t tend to lean towards subtle salads- if it’s spicy, I want to taste the spice and if it’s sour, I want those stinging notes to shine through. This is especially important for those of you who might disagree with me- if you are less of a fan of sour, you might want to reduce the amount of cranberries in this salad. You can make up for it by increasing some of the other elements- sweetness from bell peppers and sweet corn, or the smooth, buttery lima beans. You could even add more agave to the cranberry dressing, although it is fairly sweet on it’s own.
In order to make the cranberries less tart (only a little less tart, I assure you) and softer, I baked them with a tablespoon of maple syrup and some water. This makes them soft, plump and on the verge of bursting, instead of the firm, crunchy and rather dry state they are when raw. The lima beans also need to be cooked, but contrary to popular belief, they do not need to be soaked. Some cooks find the texture preferable when they’re not, and it makes little difference in the cooking time. As a side note, the Christmas Lima beans used in this recipe would also taste amazing here! Once your beans and berries are cooked, it’s a simple matter of mixing sauce (reducing it a little) and chopping vegetables. Serve room temperature, or chilled, to your preference.
Cranberry Lima Bean Salad
- ½ lb dried lima beans
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 ears of sweet corn
- 2 small bell peppers
- 1 cup pure cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
- 2 tbps. Sunflower seed oil
- 1 tbps. Agave (or maple syrup)
- Salt, to taste
1. Place the lima beans in a pot, and cover with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer making sure to add water if it evaporates. After 45 minutes check the beans to see if they’re cooked- they should expand in size and be soft and buttery. Once they’re cooked, drain and set aside.
2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375°F (190C). Toss the cranberries small glass pan in the maple syrup and a tablespoon of water. Bake for around 30 minutes, until the berries have soften and begun to burst.
3. Slice the corn of the cob and dice the bell peppers. Next make the dressing- combine the cranberry juice, oil, agave (or maple syrup) and some salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring, and allow to reduce for several minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. In a large bowl mix the lima beans, baked cranberries, corn, bell peppers and dressing together. Serve room temperature, or place in the fridge until ready to serve.