The fact that mung beans are so simple and economical to use in food has perhaps escaped the occasional home-cook out there. 

Mung beans are small, olive green beans that are perfect to have in salads, to make vegan steaks, and to germinate into bean sprouts—which are so prevalent in, for example, an Asian stir-fry. 

Dried mung beans cost about five dollars for a pound bag. However, the bag in question lasts a long time because the beans swell as soon as they are soaked. 

I do not usually cook my mung beans as it says on the bag because they can become a bean puree, such as in a Dal. 

I want to keep the texture of the beans, and therefore, I usually soak them in hot water for a few hours. Then I boil them in fresh water for only a few minutes. This keeps them to my liking.

Hearty Mung Bean Salad

Why not try a salad with mung beans, sun-dried tomatoes, corn and sunflower seeds? I take boiled mung beans, corn kernels that I roast in a frying pan, sunflower seeds, red onions and sun-dried tomatoes for this salad. I also add some wax beans for a pleasing color combination.

In a salad, I use lamb’s quarters. This delicacy, which I nowadays usually call wild spinach (because it sounds so much nicer, and it tastes just like spinach), is perfect to take advantage of. It grows wild and is seen as a weed. 

Those who cannot get hold of lamb’s quarters can, of course, use spinach—or one of my other wild favorites—chickweed, which has small spade-like leaves that are nutty and tasty. Because it has such small leaves, I usually take the whole stalk and put it in—before it becomes too woody. If it has become woody, you can only use the leaves.

We served this salad in midsummer with grilled pork tenderloin, grilled halloumi and spicy sausage. But, of course, it goes just as well with chicken, fish or other meat or soya alternatives. 

Serve it all together with a simple sauce for summer dinner. The salad should preferably be made in advance and only brought out when it’s time to eat.

Salad With Mung Beans, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Corn and Sunflower Seeds

For: 4 people

Ingredients

1 cup mung beans

1 small jar of corn (approx. 5 oz, drained)

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ red onion

8 sun-dried tomatoes in oil

4 oz wax beans

70g lamb’s quarters, chickweed or spinach

salt, pepper

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp olive oil

Chives

Method

  • Boil a pint of water and pour it over the mung beans. Let stand for 3 hours. Pour off the water and put the mung beans in a saucepan with fresh water and salt. Simmer the beans for 6-10 minutes—pick up a bean and feel it.  It should still have some give. Turn off the water and rinse the beans under cold water so that the cooking stops.
  • Pour off the water from the corn and place it in a dry frying pan. Roast while stirring on a medium heat until it starts to dry a little. Then add a dollop of butter or vegetable oil to fry. Add salt to taste.
  • Roast the sunflower seeds in a separate dry frying pan. Then add butter or vegetable oil. Fry until the seeds get a little color. Add salt to taste.
  • Halve the red onion and cut off the ends. Then cut in thin strips between the root and top. Shred the sun-dried tomatoes. 
  • Cut the wax beans into about one-inch-long pieces. Boil a saucepan with a bit of salted water.  When the pan has boiled, remove it from the heat and leave the beans in the water for about 3-5 minutes.
  • Rinse the leaves of Lamb’s quarters, chickweed or spinach to remove any soil and grit. 
  • Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar and oil. Feel free to decorate with chive flowers or other edible flowers.

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