At the greenmarket this morning, I started noticing “First Crop of 2015” signs on some of the apples. If that’s not a sign of fall on the horizon, I don’t know what is.
Much as I’m still holding fast to summer (and I’m certainly not about to stop posting summer recipes just yet!), I’ve begun mentally preparing myself for fall. And there are some nice things to think about: colorful trees, crisp air, squash, pumpkins … in fact, if it didn’t signal the impending doom of winter, fall would probably be my favorite season. But I’m not quite ready to let go of summer just yet.
So I would call this a transitional salad. It’s the perfect light bite for a hot summer day, but there is also something about it that forecasts the coming of fall. Maybe it’s the nuttiness and heartiness of the mung beans, conspiring with the crisp tartness of the apple. Or maybe it’s the pinch of nutmeg in the cumin-spiked lemony dressing. Perhaps it’s something else entirely. While I can’t pinpoint exactly why this salad seems to straddle the line between summer and fall, I can tell you that you should make it. And then eat it. And then make it again.
Mung beans have got to be the quintessential health food. In Ayurvedic medicine, they are considered balancing for all three doshas (body types), and are recommended for daily consumption. They are also packed with vitamins and minerals, including folate, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Add in super-digestible (mung beans are WAY easier to digest than other beans), low-calorie/low-cholesterol, and tons of dietary fiber, and you can begin to see what the fuss is about.
This recipe kicks it up a notch and calls for sprouted mung beans. (Sprouting anything renders it more bioavailable and easier to digest, which means you’ll absorb more of the nutrients.) You can buy dried, sprouted mung beans at most health food stores. They cook quickly, don’t require overnight-soaking, and are generally awesome. If you have leftover mung beans after making this salad, try making a mung bean stew, curry, hummus, or the famous kitchadi, a balancing Indian porridge made from stewed mung beans, rice, and spices.
-You’ll notice that this recipe calls for a granny smith apple, which is a later blooming variety. That means it wasn’t one of the aforementioned apple varieties I saw at the greenmarket, and it’s not technically seasonal. To keep this salad 100 % seasonal, you can sub a crisp, tart, apple variety of your choice. However, I have to say I really like the way the granny smith interplays with the mung beans – it’s just the right amount of tart and it isn’t overbearingly apple-y. If you try a different apple variety, I’d love it if you could leave a comment telling us which one you used and what you thought of the results.
-I never have any leftover dressing when I make this – I usually pour every last drop over the salad. That said, I tend to like my salads a little overdressed. For saner people, I recommend pouring a bit, tasting, pouring a bit more, etc. until it hits your optimal salad dressing level preference :p
-As a side dish, this salad serves 3-4 hungry people.
Mung Bean and Apple Salad
- 1 cup sprouted mung beans (dried)
- 4 cups water
- 1 granny smith apple (see note above)
- ½ cup matchstick-cut radishes, plus a couple thinly sliced for garnishing
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus extra for dousing the apple
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
Place the mung beans and water in a saucepan with a a couple pinches of salt. Bring to a rapid boil, then cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until mung beans are tender. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Leave in a colander for 10-15 minutes to drain off any excess water.
Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, nutmeg, cumin, and salt. Roughly dice the apple into small pieces, and give them a generous squeeze of lemon.
Combine the mung beans, radish, and apple in a bowl and pour desired amount of dressing over the top. Garnish with thinly sliced radishes.