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*This vegan bean salad recipe was created in partnership with non-gmo Opal apples. Last month I created these honey lemon poppyseed fruit jars with them as well.
As a food photographer and stylist, the fleeting “beauty” moments of warm gooey cookies, the bright green avocado, or tall, fluffy dutch baby are the clocks by which I delicately rush. There is little forgiveness, and more work on the other side if I’m not in my groove (I don’t believe in “food magic tricks” that are used in many commercial studios, because I want what you see here to resemble what it will look like when you make it in). Oddly enough, it’s the competitor in me that’s fueled by a little bit of pressure. Challenge feels good.
But so does having more time once in awhile.
Time that equals red wine, olive oil, shallots, and thyme infusing diced apples and soft white beans. No rushing to photograph because it will look the same as it did the minute you stir it together, and for the next three days. Yes, even the apples! THEY DON’T BROWN.
And the beauty of this vegan bean salad recipe – the longer it sits, the better it tastes.
I love this salad for a number of reasons, both in taste and versatility. Soaking the shallots in punchy, red wine vinegar softens their bite (too harsh when left raw) and olive oil adds a lovely richness. The oil, which is infused with thyme, is also the necessary fat that carries flavor into the apples and white beans. Salty sweet, and several twists of freshly ground pepper to finish. Each bite having a little crunch next to the plump legumes.
As I mentioned, the apples don’t brown, not even a speck! And this isn’t because of something strange done to them while growing. The Opal variety, which I used here, naturally resists oxidation, and is the first U.S. apple to be verified by the Non-GMO Project. Distinctively crunchy, floral, and and a sweet, tangy flavor. They’re in season November-March, and you can find them at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods nationwide.
Prep this salad early in the week when you’ve got a million things to do before a party, and you need options that need no work on the day of. Also, you can pack in mason jars for on-the-go lunching, and since it’s best served at room temperature, it actually benefits from the “wait” time in your purse.
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I’d love to make this for a refreshing summer salad! What kind of apples would you substitute for the Opals, since they’re not available this time of year?
Hello! Gala or Cameo apples would be a good substitute, as they are available at this time of year, and brown slowly. Opals are amazing because they don’t brown at all, but the apples I just mentioned are your best bet for summer!
I ended up making this with Gala apples….and it was delicious! I did pour the vinaigrette over the apples as soon as they were chopped, in an effort to coat them & keep them from browning…and they held up beautifully for the next couple days. Thanks for a refreshing, different recipe!
yay! thanks for letting me know. so glad you liked the salad. and i’m going to add this apple choice in the recipe card to help others, too!
Oh, my gosh, AMANDA…out of the ball park you hit this one…..who would have thought except you apples and beans…the thyme….just incredible…..not only going on the repeat list of side dishes…..my worst problem with this…YOU said to let it sit for 20 minutes after all mixed…well, well, I, kinda taste tested it at 10 minutes and I have a confession….I ate half and made something else for a side for dinner….YES, I did not share at all with my family that first time….but the three times since I have!!! We all love it and I confessed to my family and now, I am watched at dinner time prep!! thank you…you are the best!!!
Hooray! I’m so glad you liked the recipe Judi. And I know what you mean – that it’s quite tasty right after stirred together. No shame in eating half of it before serving! :)
Who knew that apples and beans would go together so well! I love that this is simple, looks incredibly filling and reminds me of the spring to come :) I really need to get my hands on some of those apples!xo
This salad is gorgeous, Amanda! I’ve never had an Opal apple, but I clearly need to add them to my shopping list. Apples drizzled in thyme-infused oil, plus all the other goodies in here? Yes, please!
Yummmm I love bean salads for quick packed lunches and this one sounds perfect.
Beautiful salad Amanda!!! xo
thank you rebecca! making it again today. :)
I love the idea of this salad! Cannot wait to try lady! xoxo
Thanks for stopping by, Kelsey! xo
Beautiful dish! Wish I had a bowl of it in front of me right now
it was a great lunch to have on hand throughout the week! xo
This looks amazing so creative!
thanks for stopping by, Karlie!