Basil-Orange Edamame & Bean Salad

By Ann Fulton

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Quick and easy and loaded with fresh flavor, this wholesome dish complements chicken, fish, steak, and pork or can be the basis of a filling plant-based meal. As a bonus, a simple ingredient adjustment will create a new recipe! 


Even those who claim they don’t care for bean salad have been known to have seconds of this super simple salad. Although lima beans are a fitting option, I often use edamame as the unexpected third bean in this take on the traditional three-bean salad.

A delightful side dish to grilled chicken, steak, or pork barbecue, I also frequently serve this recipe with curried chicken salad and some slices of quick bread or crusty rolls. It makes for a cool, fresh-tasting meal, and everything can be prepared in advance.

Coincidentally, the last two salads I’ve posted include citrus zest in the ingredient list. For many years, I forewent a zester because I didn’t want one more gadget to clutter my kitchen drawers. When, on occasion, I used zest in a recipe, I peeled the colorful skin (avoiding the white “pith”, as that is bitter-tasting) with a potato peeler and then minced it.

And then a few years ago, I spontaneously bought a Microplane. For those who may not be familiar, this is a long, thin grater that originated as a smoothing tool for woodworkers and has proven to be an indispensable kitchen tool for its ability to efficiently grate the likes of citrus zests and Parmesan cheese.

A good version of this handy gadget runs about fifteen dollars. It quickly became one of my favorite tools, and I began incorporating the zest of lemons, limes, and oranges in recipes far more frequently. With the right tool, zest can add loads of flavor with little effort.

When to use it? Zest is ideal anytime a stronger citrus flavor is desired but without the additional liquid or the inherent tartness more juice creates. This fragrant outer layer of the peel offers a little “something extra” – a fresh flavor well suited to any salad or marinade that already calls for the citrus juice.

Likewise, zest complements a wide variety of non-citrus foods. Try including the zest of one lemon in your favorite blueberry muffin or pound cake recipe. Similarly, lime zest and strawberries have an affinity for one another—something to consider throughout the local strawberry season.

For a tropical twist, I like to use the zest of one lime in my favorite recipe for Strawberries and Cream Baked Oatmeal and sprinkle a little shredded coconut on top. 

Basil-Orange Edamame & Bean Salad
For a hint of crunch, I sometimes scatter a handful of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) over the top; sunflowers seeds are a flavorful option, too. A sprinkle of crumbled feta is, likewise, purely optional but will provide a different dimension to the flavor. Both the seeds and cheese are best added just prior to serving.

Yields approximately 1 1/2 quarts.
  • 2 cups frozen, shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced or chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup basil, slivered (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or other neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed or safflower oil)
  • 1/4 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (or to taste)
  1. Mix the cooked and cooled edamame and the two beans in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the onions and basil, and stir.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, juice, zest, salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the vinaigrette over the bean mixture, and toss well.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. (The salad may be eaten right away, although the flavor will improve slightly after several hours.)
  6. Toss again before serving. Taste for seasoning, adding a little more salt and pepper, according to preference. (Also, the sodium level in different brands of beans varies greatly. Rinsing will remove much of any added salt, but not all.) As an option, garnish with a few thin slices of orange and some basil leaves.
  • For a different flavor profile, I occasionally make this dish with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette instead of the basil-orange combination. To mix it up, simply swap the herb and citrus ingredients in equal amounts. Beyond substituting lima beans for the edamame, you could also experiment with black beans in place of the kidney beans.
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A quick and easy side dish or the filling focal point of a plant-based meal, a simple adjustment to the vinaigrette will create a new recipe!

A quick and easy side dish or the filling focal point of a plant-based meal, a simple adjustment to the vinaigrette will create a new recipe!

…A photo from 2012.

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  1. Leigh Post author

    This was delicious! My husband and I fought over who got the leftovers for lunch. (He won.)

  2. Kaci

    My family likes the orange with basil and I make the cilantro lime version for my lunches. I am happy we all enjoy this awesome healthy meal. Thought it was about time that I left a comment!

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