avocado and red bean salad with crispy garlic
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Avocado and red kidney bean salad with crispy garlic and crunchy topping can be served as a starter, for lunch, brunch, for dinner and supper. And I don’t see why it could not be eaten for breakfast.
Let’s face it: salads are boring. If you eat out and have a salad, you get one of the following options: the Sandwich, the Hipster or the Native. The Sandwich is usually standard sandwich filling, with the bread replaced with copious amount of shredded green lettuce. Ham, or prosciutto in a fancy option, seafood or chicken, all obligatorily slathered in mayo. Old fashioned, reliable staple, sometimes even featuring a tomato.
The Hipster I guess needs no explanation: there will be quinoa and kale in it, avocado and bulgur wheat, roasted vegetables or seed sprouts. Usually horribly overpriced, with an optional egg or haloumi, it may well be tasty but it’s above all self-righteous.
The Native is built around the local element: crab in Cornwall, cheese in West Country, duck gizzards in South West France, chipirones in Spain. The rest is as usual shredded lettuce but at least in France you get bread to go with the salad.
So it’s definitely better to make your own at home, and it’s not that hard to come up with a good salad combination: the elements should include the wholesome, the fresh, the salty and the crunch. My proposition here fulfills the requirements, with beans for the wholesome, avocado for fresh and the seeds providing the salty and crunchy element.
On the other hand you might say there’s nothing exciting about my salad: avocados have been played to death and beans come out of the tin; what’s so special? Two things: the crunchy topping and the crispy garlic. The seeds are toasted lightly and slowly to absorb the soy sauce end up tasting so good you’d never believe there was just soy sauce added. The garlic is balancing on the edge of slightly burnt, slightly bitter, definitely crisp and super flavoursome.
A couple of tips here: you definitely want to make the full amount of the seeds even if it sounds like far too much for a couple bowls of salad. It’s the most addictive snack that ever existed. The same goes for the garlic – double the amounts and you’ll end up topping everything with the garlic: cooked broccoli, fresh bread and butter or mashed potatoes.
avocado and red bean salad with crispy garlicServings: 2Time: 50 minutes
- For the crunchy topping:
- 60g (4 tbsp.) flaked almonds
- 30g (2 tbsp.) sunflower seeds
- 30g (2 tbsp.) pine nuts
- 2 tbsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp ketjap manis (or a teaspoon of dark soy sauce with ½ tsp brown sugar stirred in)
- For the salad:
- 50ml (3½ tbsp.) olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced very thinly
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ small bunch flat parsley, finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- zest and juice from 1 lemon
- a pinch of chilli flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/gas 1 with the rack in the lowest position. Line a large baking tray with parchment.
2. Stir the soy sauces into the seeds and almonds in a bowl, then spread them on the parchment lined tray, as much in a single layer as you can. Bake for 40 minutes or until the seeds are dry, toasted and crunchy; stirring them around halfway through. Scoop them into a small bowl and set aside. This is much more that needed for the salad but they are the most fantastic snack.
3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a small pan or skillet. Add the garlic slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until pale golden and crisp but watch it as it will burn quickly once past that stage. Sieve the oil into a clean container and set the sieved garlic onto a plate lined with a kitchen towel.
4. Half the avocados, remove the stones and peel off the skin. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl with the drained beans. Add the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper and toss with the garlic oil and lemon juice. Stir in a small handful of the crunchy seeds and most of the lemon zest.
5. Spoon the salad into individual bowls if you like and sprinkle with more seeds, zest, crispy garlic and some chilli flakes.