Eli Cooks


Thai Coleslaw
August 10, 2008, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Salad, Side | Tags: , , , , ,

A week ago my dad gave me a bag of purple beans from his garden. My dad’s always grown purple beans, for as long as I can remember. It’s a bit out of character with the rest of his garden, really. Everything else he grows is very standard…beefsteak tomatoes, green bell peppers, eggplants, zucchini, spinach. But for whatever reason, he’s grown purple beans most years as far back as I can remember.

Thai Coleslaw

But purple beans have always been a disappointment to me. You see, they turn green when you cook them. Cooked, they’re pretty much indistinguishable from normal green beans. I can still remember the first time I saw my mom put a bowl of purple beans into the microwave and take out a bowl of green beans. I was pretty crushed. No exciting purple food for dinner…just the same old green beans. Once I got used to the idea, it was kinda fun to have color-change beans, but I never did entirely get over the disappointment of that first time.

Purple Beans

So, when I got a big bag of purple beans this year, I was determined to find some way to use them without destroying their purple hue. So they sat in my fridge for a week while I was thinking. Luckily they were fresh from the garden the day I got them, so they held a week. I finally decided to make a coleslaw to use the beans and a small cabbage from my CSA that had been languishing in the back of my produce drawer for far too long.

The raw beans add a second slightly different raw veggie crunch to the coleslaw…a welcome addition, I think. And this coleslaw turned out to be very good for you (quite by accident.) There’s no oil in the dressing, and it’s full of a spectrum of raw veggies.

Thai Coleslaw

This is best if it has an hour or so to sit and let the flavors meld, but much more than that and it will get soggy. If you want to make things in advance, you can cut up the cabbage, beans and onions in advance and mix the dressing in advance. Then all that’s left for the last minute is cutting the basil and tomatoes and tossing everything together.

With this much jalapeno, it will be somewhat spicy, but well within most spice tolerances. You can easily cut down on the jalapeno, add more or use a different chili.

1/2 small head of cabbage, shredded
2 cups purple beans, sliced thinly on a bias
1/2 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup basil, chiffonade (or chopped)
1 1/2 cups Spanish peanuts
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
3/4″ piece of ginger, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp salt

In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, beans, green onions, tomatoes, basil and peanuts.

Mix together the jalapeno, ginger, lime juice, sugar and salt. Pour over the vegetables and mix together.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I just cooked purple beans for the first time. It was disappointing tosee them turn green. Then I did a bit of research and discovered that some people make beautiful salads using uncooked purple beans. That could be fun.

Comment by Barbara

Yeah…I was very pleased to find a way to keep the color. I tried a sauerkraut with them as well, but the fermentation turned them green also.

Comment by Eli




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