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Melissa Hemsley’s Big Bean Salad with a Jalapeño, Lime and Cumin Dressing

The perfect barbecue or picnic side, Melissa Hemsley's salad features a mix of fresh and tinned beans and a bright, citrusy lime and jalapeño dressing.

From the book

Melissa Hemsley


A good bean salad is an ideal solution for busy weeks as it’s dependably delicious several days later. It also benefits from sitting for a few hours, so go ahead and prep it the night before. If you have any soft tomatoes that need using up, chop them in too or, if they’re super soft, blend them with the other dressing ingredients. I really recommend making double the dressing and saving it in a jar to go on roasted aubergine or squash wedges or to stir through some boring plain quinoa leftovers to give them a lovely lift and zing. As the beans are the star of the show, it’s really worth cooking your own or buying the best you can find – the jarred variety tend to have a better texture than the tinned. I highly recommend you serve this salad at a party with the Cuban-Style Corn on the Cob (page 219 of Eat Happy).

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300g green beans, chopped
1 handful of radishes, finely sliced or 2 big handfuls of sweetcorn or peas (fresh or frozen)
720g cooked beans, such as black beans, kidney or cannelloni (3 × 400g tins, drained and rinsed)
1 red or orange pepper, deseeded and finely diced
2 big handfuls of fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped and stems finely chopped
1 handful of cashews, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
For the jalapeño, lime and cumin dressing:
1½ - 2 jalapeño or serrano chillies, very finely chopped, or ½ tsp cayenne or chipotle chilli powder, to taste
2 tsp ground cumin or 1½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted, then bashed or ground
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated
juice and zest of 3 limes
1 red onion or 1 bunch of spring onions, very finely chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
sea salt and black pepper


Add all the dressing ingredients to a large serving bowl and stir to combine, or whiz in a food processor, then season to taste. It should be spicy, tangy, salty and a little sweet.

Simmer the green beans in salted water for 5 minutes over a medium heat. If you’re using frozen sweetcorn or peas, add these for the final minute. Fresh peas barely need cooking, you can add them raw or give them a minute in the simmering water. If using fresh sweetcorn, either barbecue it before slicing it in or cook it over a high heat for 5 minutes until the kernels go from pale yellow to bright yellow. Drain the veg and add to the serving bowl.

Add all the other ingredients, then toss well and taste for seasoning. As I say above, this salad tastes great when it’s had time to sit and chill in the fridge for a bit (toss again before serving) but you can serve it straight away.


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From the book: Eat Green

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