Dressed with sharp red wine vinegar and plenty of herbs, these marinated beans are a dream to make. It takes less than five minutes to toss the ingredients into a bowl, and as the beans marinate they soak up all the flavor - green onions, shallots, parsley, and just the right punch of chili pepper. Plus, you'll find it tastes even better the next day.
What is it?
Marinated beans are made by dressing beans with a sharp vinaigrette. As the beans sit, they soak up the vinegar, olive oil, and salt in the vinaigrette. Herbs, alliums, and chili pepper give the marinade a flavor that only gets better as they sit. As a result, earthy beans are transformed into a vibrant, flavor-packed side dish.
What's in it?
The ingredients for marinated beans are simple but versatile. You can also easily swap one ingredient for the next, depending on what you have on hand. The key ingredients include beans (or another type of pulse), vinegar, olive oil, alliums, chili pepper, and herbs.
- Beans are the foundation of the dish. In this version, we use kidney beans which are rich in plant nutrients, such as polyphenols, that support your gut, heart, and cells (1). Darker colored beans, such as kidney beans in particular, show even more promise in supporting metabolic and vascular health (2).
- Shallots and green onions are alliums and in the same family as onion and garlic. They give marinated beans a savory note. Plants in this family are widely known for their medicinal properties, and researchers have examined their role in cellular health and cancer prevention (3).
- Flat-leaf parsley has a rich, green flavor that balances, rather than competes, with other more potent flavors. Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, folate, and potassium (4).
- Dried chili gives the recipe a punch of heat, and it acts to balance the natural earthiness of beans. Crushed red pepper flakes are a good match, but gochugaru (Korean-style chili powder) is delicious, too. You can use chopped fresh chili if you like, as well.
- Red wine vinegar lends acidity to the dish. While other sources of acid such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice work fine, the deeper, cherry-like notes of red wine vinegar work particularly well with kidney beans.
- Olive oil gives marinated beans a luxurious element. It partners with red wine vinegar to create a vinaigrette that envelops the beans. Olive oil is also a good source of healthy fat, which helps makes an otherwise lean dish more satisfying and filling.
This recipe uses Cabernet Port Vinegar
This recipe uses Cabernet Port Vinegar from Acid League - it has the robust flavor of red wine vinegar with notes of chocolate, cherry, and dried fruit. It's also an unfiltered, raw vinegar for a boost of nutrition.
Tips for marinating beans
Making this recipe is as simple as stirring. It's uncomplicated, fast, and easy. Beyond the tedium of chopping the parsley, green onions, and shallots finely, everything comes together with a quick stir. There are a few tips you'll want to keep in mind.
- Rinse the beans very well. Whether your using beans from a jar (as recommended) or those you've soaked and cooked yourself, you'll want to rinse them well before adding the marinade. If you're not careful residual starches can make the vinaigrette milky in color and dampen its flavor and shelflife.
- Chop everything very finely. Aside from the beans, everything should be chopped very finely so that the flavor of the shallots, green onions and herbs meld together and you get all that flavor in every single bite.
- Keep an eye on the salt. Beans tend to soak up salt, so you may need to add more than the recipe recommends (or adjust it to your taste).
- Stir gently so that you don't accidentally mash the beans.
- It's better the next day. While the beans are ready about 10 minutes after you stir them together, their flavor improves with time.
- Let the beans come to room temperature before serving. If you've kept marinated beans in the fridge, let them come to room temperature for about 30 mintues before serving. This allows the olive oil to loosen and the flavors to really bloom.
Try a different bean. While this recipe uses kidney beans, you might marinate white beans or lima beans the same way. Look for a firm-textured bean rather than a soft bean that tends to fall apart when mixed.
Try marinated chickpeas instead. Chickpeas have an earthy flavor and firm texture, and they work well in this recipe in place of kidney beans.
Add garlic. A clove or two of minced garlic can bring a lot of flavor to the dish, complementing the shallot and green onion. Take care not to add too much, because the taste of raw garlic can easily overwhelm the dish.
Swap gochugaru for crushed red pepper flakes. Gochugaru, or Korean-style chili powder, is a great stand-in for crushed red pepper. It has a smoky sweetness and mild character that works particularly well with beans.
Try lemon juice instead of vinegar. While red wine vinegar's bracing acidity works well with beans, the softer fruitier flavor of lemon is nice, too. If using lemon juice to marinate beans, make sure to add the zest for extra flavor.
Switch out the herbs. Flat-leaf parsley has a bright, verdant flavor that works well when paired with vinegar and olive oil; however, you can also swap in whichever herbs you happen to like. A combination of fresh marjoram, parsley, and basil works well. A tablespoon or two of dill is a delicious addition, too.
You'll want to store any leftover marinated beans in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
No, this recipe doesn't lend itself well to freezing.
No, you can also use beans that you've soaked overnight and cooked from scratch. Remember to let them cool to room temperature and rinse them well before making the dish. About ½ to ¾ cup dried beans is sufficient for making this recipe.
Try these other recipes next
- Ganesan, Kumar, and Baojun Xu. “Polyphenol-Rich Dry Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and Their Health Benefits.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 18,11 2331. 4 Nov. 2017
- Clark, Jaime L et al. “Black beans and red kidney beans induce positive postprandial vascular responses in healthy adults: A pilot randomized cross-over study.” Nutrition, metabolism, and cardiovascular diseases : NMCD vol. 31,1 (2021): 216-226.
- Nicastro, Holly L et al. “Garlic and onions: their cancer prevention properties.” Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.) vol. 8,3 (2015): 181-9.
- Parsley. Nutritiondata.org (2022)