South Arica’s version of the Italian Bean salad made with Cannellini Beans!

For 6-8 generous servings you need

500ml (2 Cups) cooked beans (see cooking below)

125ml good quality olive oil

1-2 shallots or medium red onion, very finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely crushed or grated

15ml chopped parsley

5ml chopped dill or fennel

75ml good quality red or white wine vinegar

Zest of one lemon

50ml lemon juice

5ml sugar

Optional: 1-2 red chilli sliced or 5ml chilli flakes

Optional: 3ml fennel seeds

To serve

Herbs, whatever you used above, to sprinkle on top

Optional: Add: 3 ripe tomatoes cubed, cubed cucumber, thinly sliced shallot or red onion rings

Add protein to create a main course or starter. I added the beans to my marinated seafood salad. Add cubes of salami or chorizo or strips of grilled chicken, or grilled halloumi cheese.

Add Capers, olives or anchovies

Bean salad with octopus and prawns

To cook the beans

You ideally need to soak them for about 5 hours or overnight. Then refresh the water and boil them for about 20-30 minutes. If you do not pre-soak them they need to boil for about an hour. Do not salt the water and it retards the softening. In old cookery books a pinch of bicarbonate of soda is added to the water when cooking beans. The alkali helps tenderise the plant fibre, but if you are not careful they become soggy.

To prepare the salad

Mix all the dressing ingredients

Add the beans

This mixture can keep in the fridge for up to 4 or 5 days

Add the tomato and herb garnish just before serving

The plain bean salad without the optional additives