Cannellini bean salad with marinated alaria

A delightful concoction comprising beans, fruit, chilli, fresh herbs and alaria. Guaranteed to surprise and delight.

Seaweed used: alaria, kelp for cooking beans

Serves 4


25g (1oz) raisins
juice of 2 lemons
100ml (31/2fl oz) olive oil
1/2 onion chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/2 red chilli, seeds removed, sliced finely
1/4 teaspoon black onion seeds
450g (1lb) cooked cannellini beans or 2 tins
2 bananas
1/2 a mango, fresh, cubed or chopped roughly
marinated alaria (see recipe below)
large fistful coriander leaves, chopped
coriander leaves to decorate

To prepare the salad

1. Soak the raisins in lemon juice to allow them to plump up.

2. Heat the oipl in a large frying pan and saute the onion until transparent. Add the garlic, chilli and onion seeds and saute for 2 – 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Rinse the cannellini beans under cold running water, drain well and place in a large bowl.

4. Add the lemon juice and raisins stirring to coat the beans. Toss in the cooled onion and chilli. Slice the bananas and toss in immediately to prevent blackening. Add the mango, marinated alaria and coriander. Mix gently and decorate with the coriander leaves.

Marinated Alaria

Alaria needs to be simmered for around 40 minutes because the midrib is quite tough. Marinated alaria can be used to stir through other salads, or as a side dish with grains.

2 x 15cm (6 inch) pieces of fresh alaria cut into 1 – 2.5cm (1/2 – 1 inch) pieces or same length (about 3g) of dried alaria snipped as above.
1 tablespoon tamari or soya sauce
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon grated ginger
a dash of toasted sesame oil

To prepare the marinated alaria

1. Soak the alaria in just enough tepid water to cover it for 20 minutes.

2. In a small saucepan, combine the rest of the ingredients except the sesame oil and boil for 1 minute over a moderate heat.

3. Add the alaria and a little of the soak water to the saucepan and bring back to the boil, uncovered. Simmer for 40 minutes or until the mid rib is very tender.

4. Add some more of the soak water if needed and continue to boil until the midrib is very soft.

5. Remove form the heat, add a dash of toasted sesame oil and taste for sweetness, adding more honey if needed.

Cooking Dried Beans

As a general guide use just less than half the cooked quantities if using dried beans.

For this recipe use 200g (7oz) of dried cannellini beans. Rinse well under a cold tap and soak in plenty of water overnight with a piece of kelp to help soften the beans. Change the water and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then rinse and drain. This helps to remove the indigestible starches.

Cover the beans with cold water again and add back in the piece of kelp. Bring to the boil and simmer until cooked, bout one hour. Drain and rinse with cold water. Discard the kelp as it will have disintegrated.