Rajma Salad (Red Kidney Bean Salad) - Simple and Basic

Last Monday was pretty hectic. By the time I picked up my kindergartner and came home, it was way past lunch time and we both were famished. A super quick Grilled Cheese Sandwich and a breezy 4-ingredient Strawberry Smoothie satiated his little tummy, while Mommy was left scrounging the fridge to find something instant to eat.

And then she found, tucked in a neat corner, in a small red lidded Pyrex container, some boiled Rajma (red beans). Delighted, she went ahead and chopped some onions, squeezed some lemon juice, grated some ginger and minced a green chili. She was going to make her favorite kind of salad! Sort of a comfort food for her. Then she found a lone avocado in the crisper drawer, which was way past its prime. She sliced it up and garnished her salad along with her favorite flavor enhancer -  the cilantro (otherwise called coriander leaves).

Pleased with her 'almost' instant lunch, which took less than 10 minutes to put together, she couldn't wait to dig in. Then the little boy said, "your lunch looks so pretty! Why aren't you taking any photos?"

She obliged albeit reluctantly. Today being a cloudy and gloomy and her tummy growling like a bear, none of the shots came good.

And then she remembered....
Few eons ago she did click some photos of this salad!

Which, however, never saw the light of the day. They were still trapped in the SD card of her camera.
Believe it or not, she is an absent minded, lazy lady!

Now she wants to wants to apologize to her Red Bean Salad for keeping it away from the world for so long. She wants to tell it, how much she loves it. Not only its her go to lunch option, but she has served it to her guests and it is one of her favorite thing to bring to potluck events.

This salad may be super simple and very very basic, but don't let it fool you into not trying it. Its tastes awesome. Its bold. Its kick-ass. There is no fixed recipe for this salad - just thrown whatever is there in your fridge, add some cooked beans and a squirt of lemon and salt and you are done. Since it is so simple and quick to put together, I can assure you will be making it ever so often.  

PS: I always boil more beans (especially Rajma/Red Kidney Beans and Kabuli Chole/Chickpea), pasta, potatoes, than what a particular recipes calls for. I also keep a bag of shredded rotisserie chicken breasts handy. These little proactive planning goes a long way when you need to whip up something really really fast, like unexpected guests, quick lunch, after school snack etc.

And now for the recipe!

Recipe Snapshot: Red Bean Salad - Simple and Basic

Serves: 2 
(1 serving = 3/4 cup)

What I used:
Cooked Red Kidney Beans - 1.5 cups
Red Kidney Beans - 1 (14.5 oz) can, drained and thoroughly rinsed

Red onion - 1 small or 1/2 of a medium sized, chopped or sliced
Green Chilies - 2 (more or less, depending on preference), seeded and chopped fine
Coriander Leaves/ Cilantro - a small handful, finely chopped

Optional Veggies:
Bell Peppers (in assorted colors) - 1/2 cup, diced or julienne
Avocado - 1, thinly sliced or diced,
Cherry or Grape tomatoes - 1/4 cu, halved
Cucumber - 1/4 cup, diced 
Carrots - 1/4 cup, finely shredded in matchsticks
Red Radish - 1/4 cup, finely shredded in matchsticks

For the Dressing:
Ginger Juice - 1 tsp (grate one 1" piece and squeeze out the juice)
Lime/Lemon Juice - juice of half a lime or lemon
Himalayan Pink Salt or Coarse Sea Salt- ½ tsp

What I did:
1. In a big bowl add the cooked beans, chopped or sliced red onion and the chopped green chilies. 

2. Add any other veggies from the "Optional Veggies" list. You can add as much or as little. There is no wrong way here. 

3. Squeeze the juice of half a lime or lemon. Add ginger juice and salt. 

4. Mix it well with the veggies and the beans.

5. Add the chopped Coriander Leaves/ Cilantro and give every thing a good toss. Serve immediately. 

Notes/Tip: There is no fixed recipe for this salad - just thrown whatever is there in your fridge, add some cooked beans and a squirt of lemon and salt and you are done. 

If using fridge cold leftover boiled red beans, just add a cup of water and microwave it for 1 minute and then drain it.  

Diabetic Platter:
With their deep red color, cooked red kidney beans can liven up a wide range of meals including salads, soups and stews. But did you know that these little legumes can do much more than just that? Packed with protein, soluble (and insoluble) fiber, folate (vitamin B12), magnesium, potassium and a number of other health promoting nutrients, red kidney beans (haricots rouges, red beans, in French) are a true super food

And if you are a diabetic like me you would also consider this: the fiber, protein and complex carbohydrates in red kidney beans helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making red kidney beans a very good food for people with insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes. The blood sugar stabilizing effects of kidney beans can also assist obese and overweight people in their battle against excess body fat. When the blood sugar levels are stable, less insulin is released by the pancreas. One of the tasks of insulin is to promote fat storage in the body, so keeping insulin levels low can help you achieve healthy weight loss.


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