Broccoli-Cranberry Bean Salad

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Healthy broccoli and cranberry salad + dried cherries, red onion and grapes with a lemon-garlic-yogurt dressing + high-altitude tips.

broccoli and cranberry bean salad, how to cook fresh cranberry beans

A shiny new farmer’s market just opened up here in Incline Village (on Lake Tahoe). It’s small – with maybe 15 tents, very personal (one elderly farmer glanced dismissively at the plastic bag of baby kale I handed to him to be weighed, snorted that it wasn’t enough to weigh, and charged me $1.oo), and offers live music while you browse tables laden with just-picked peaches, tomatoes, corn and berries. I went with a friend to check it out last week, and was glad we went early. Word had gotten out, and cars were parked all along the road, families strolling up a small knoll towards the tents with their shopping bags, kids racing ahead to check out the music.

broccoli and cranberry bean salad, how to cook fresh cranberry beans

As we poked around the bustling crowd, I spied some fresh cranberry pods and grabbed a few handfuls, quickly stuffing them into a plastic bag. I cook a lot of dried legumes, and the opportunity to get them freshly harvested was a treat. I’m not partial to one bean over another, I love them all, but cranberry beans just might win the beauty contest.

Cranberry Beans, how to cook fresh cranberry beans

Their creamy pods, lightly tinged with green, and streaked with burgundy remind me of a watercolor painting, and the beans are freckled with the same deep burgundy color. Sadly, the freckles completely blur in the cooking process, but cook up as a creamy bean, similar to a cannellini bean, that marries well with just about anything.

If you’re visiting the Incline Village area, the farmer’s market is on Wednesday afternoons from 4pm – 7pm and is located behind the Tunnel Creek Station Cafe on the way to Sand Harbor. The farmer’s market will run until the end of September.

Wimpy Tip:

This is a salad that stands on its own for the vegetarian eater, but wasn’t enough of a meal for my omnivore husband (although he kept asking if there was any of the salad left, long after it was gone). Grilled flank steak, thinly sliced, is a great match for this salad. It doesn’t require a great deal preparation either: just use your favorite rub and grill to the degree of doneness preferred. Allow it to rest for a few minutes before slicing. Flank steak can be a little tough, although it’s very flavorful, and it’s therefore critical that you slice it against the grain!

A great side dish is just a couple of ears of corn, slathered in butter with salt and pepper. Keep it simple as the salad is the true star of the meal.

Broccoli-Cranberry Bean Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Serves: Serves 4
Lemon - Garlic - Yogurt Dressing
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Broccoli and Cranberry Bean Salad
  • 1 cup fresh cranberry beans
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ⅓ cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ¾ cup halved grapes
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 4 -5 cups thinly sliced broccoli florets and stems
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan or asiago cheese
  • Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup pepitas
  • 1 cup Yogurt - Garlic Dressing (recipe above)
Lemon - Garlic - Yogurt Dressing
  1. Combine all of the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Broccoli and Cranberry Bean Salad
  1. Bring a pot of water to a simmer and add the cranberry beans. Simmer for until tender: about 20 minutes at sea level; about 50 minutes at 7000 feet above sea level. Drain and place the beans in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the celery, red onion, dried cherries, cooked rice, grapes, parsley, broccoli, ground flax seed, cheese, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Add the Yogurt - Garlic Dressing and refrigerate for at least one hour; overnight is even better. This is a salad that gets better over time.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of pepitas on top.

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  1. says

    Going to the farmers market is so much fun, your little market sounds so nice and my guess is it will quickly expanc and attract more farmers. The casserole sounds so good, I love cranberry beans and the creamy yogurt dressing sounds perfect.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Kreative Bloggers AwardMy Profile

  2. says

    I’ve never heard of a cranberry bean. They look similar to what we call ‘borlotti beans’ over here… do you have that variety where you are? I equally adore farmer’s markets. It definitely feels like such a treat to have a bean fresh out of the pod rather than canned or dried. I love the look of your salad. The gorgeous soft, creamy beans, the crunch of the seeds (those pepitas look divine!), vegetables and rice, the tangy dressing and sweet dried cherries. Ah, this is pretty much my perfect meal (I can easily eat a big bowl of salad for a meal, any day of the week!). Thanks for this Susan. Yum!!! xx
    laurasmess recently posted..Lemon Quinoa Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Persian FetaMy Profile

  3. says

    This looks STELLAR. I’m struggling to find good salad recipes that aren’t just mounds of lettuce and will keep me full and I think I found it! I don’t know where I can find cranberry beans, though 😛

  4. says

    I really have to start making more yoghurt dressings – every time I see a recipe for one, I’m reminded of how much I like them! And I do have parsley in my garden, so I really have no excuse now :)

    And this bean salad looks delicious, I never knew that cranberry beans even existed!

    • says

      Thanks Yvonne! I make an extra batch of this dressing now and add it to all kinds of things. I made a broccoli and brown rice casserole a couple of nights ago and added it and it was really wonderful. Usually I just see the cranberry beans in the dried form, but every once in awhile, I get lucky and see them at the market. If you can’t find them, any white bean will do great in this salad :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..BBQ Chicken Pizza with Poblano Peppers: #SundaySupperMy Profile

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