Black Soybean Salad – One of My Favs for Summer

When you work full time, taking time to prepare a fresh lunch is a luxury. I found a home that is near to my office, so i am fortunate to be able to go home for lunch. i have quick things i can make or reheat in 10min. This being a vacation week, the pace is a bit slower than usual, so i basked in opportunity to make one of my favorite summer salads for lunch. it took about an hour to prepare & eat. a long lunch for this working professional.

Black soybeans may not sound real appetizing, but they have a surprising nutty flavor. Finding them takes a little Internet hunting, esp. if you want organic. i got this last batch from a CO based web store called Nature’s Growers.

The recipe comes from Peter Berley’s The Modern Vegetarian Cookbook. this is a well used book in my kitchen, every recipe i have made is phenomenal. Peter is well know among NY vegetarians. He spent many years as the head chef in one of NY’s oldest and favorite vegetarian restaurants, Angelica’s Kitchen.

Peter and i cook the beans in a pressure cooker, but you can use a regular pot if you like: it will take longer to cook. I’ve made a few adjustments of my own to the original recipe

You’ll Need Organic:

2C Blk soybeans, soaked overnight
1T olive oil
1 clove garlic
handful fresh cilantro
1/2 red onion
1/4t peppercorns
1t sea salt
1 strip kombu (sea veg: find in macrobiotic section of natural food store)

1C sliced celery (2 stalks)
1C thinly sliced red onion (1/2 onion)
1C sliced carrots, peeled (the skin is bitter) (about 2 carrots)
1 sheet nori, toasted & crumbled (nori is a sea veg used for sushi)


1/3C lime juice (about 6 limes)
1/2C oil: 1/3 olive oil, remainder sesame oil
1/4C minced cilantro
1 1/2T chili pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 1/2T sea salt

put the beans in pressure cooker, cover with filtered water & bring to boil. Skim foam, add oil, peppercorns, cilantro, salt, garlic & onion bring to high pressure. reduce to low heat and cook 25 min. natural release. rinse & drain beans in colander, discarding spices and veg. place on a single layer on a towel in a baking sheet & allow to cool.

Put carrot in the bottom of a veg steamer, then add onion & celery. steam 3 minutes until brightly colored and crisp tender. rinse in filtered water to stop cooking, drain and set aside.

whisk vinaigrette ingredients together until creamy.

in a large bowl combine beans, veg, crumbled nori & toss with vinaigrette.

The black soybeans and nori tonify the kidney organ system in Traditional Chinese Medicine. the TCM kidney system rules growth, reproduction and the aging process. women’s menopausal complaints are mostly due to kidney yin deficiency, liver qi stagnation (qi or energy not circulating well) and heart yin deficiency (causing emotional problems: insomnia, irritability, depression [also liver qi issue] and anxiety.

the western/American lifestyle: go, go, go, drink coffee, go, go, go some more (sound familiar) depletes kidney energy which is vital to life and plays a large role in immune function. the kidney rules the low back & knees and hones to the ear, so back/knee pain and poor hearing as well as graying of hair (esp. prematurely) is due to weak kidneys, in TCM. not meaning the western function of the organ: eg. nephritis; although, urinary issues, esp. after age 40 are usually due to weak TCM kidney system.

Each of the TCM organ systems have a color associated with is. Black is the color of the kidney, and salty is its flavor. that is why these inky beans and sea veg tonify the kidneys. actually all beans tonify the kidney, but black beans, adzuki beans and kidney beans (due to their shape) are strongest in this function. KB