An easy, meal prep-able, and flavor-packed pinto bean salad with shiitakes, celery, and herbs. An awesome way to switch up your bean game.
This seemingly basic – but actually incredibly delicious – pinto bean salad is one of my favorites from The Complete Vegan Cookbook. In case you’re not familiar, the book chronicles the Natural Gourmet Institute’s signature recipes from their 40-year history; and I had the great honor of being its co-author. The book turns three this month!
I’m a big fan of bean salads in general (easy, healthy, versatile, what’s not to love?) and this one really tops the charts. Thanks to soy sauce, sesame oil, and sauteed shiitake mushrooms, it has an Asian flavor profile, which is not typical for bean salads. The texture of the creamy beans is punctuated by crunchy celery and scallions, and cilantro brightens everything up.
In the spirit of transparency, I did make some modifications to the original. The recipe in the book features watercress, which I did away with. It can be hard to find, and since I usually keep the salad for a couple of days, the greens would wilt and ruin the whole thing. The original recipe also features radishes – although great for color, they also take on a soggy texture after marinating.
Why You’re Gonna Love This Salad
- It’s really very easy. Just throw a bunch of things in a bowl and you’re done.
- It’s make ahead-able. This pinto bean salad gets even better after it marinates for a few days.
- It’s versatile. Use it as a topper for salads, grain bowls, and even as a filling for burritos.
Ingredient Notes + Substitutions
- Shiitake Mushrooms: impart the salad with its signature savory flavor and chewy bits. If you can’t find them, try using rehydrated dried mushrooms instead.
- Pinto Beans: Home-cooked beans tend to have the best texture and flavor, so if you have the time, cook them from scratch for this salad. If not, canned will work, too. You can also sub with kidney beans.
- Scallions: provide crunch and a mild onion-y flavor. You can sub with finely diced red onion.
- Celery: also gives a crunchy contrast to the salad. You can sub with blanched and chopped green beans or snow peas, or raw fennel.
- Cilantro: If you’re in the it-tastes-like-soap camp, sub with parsley.
- Seasoned Rice Vinegar: “Seasoned” because it already contains sugar and salt (making it perfect for dressings and marinades). If you don’t have it, substitute with plain rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or wine vinegar here – and be sure to compensate with extra soy sauce and about 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup (or another sweetener).
Pinto Bean Salad Step-by-Step
Cook the Mushrooms: Heat some oil in a non-stick pan, add sliced shiitakes with a pinch of salt, and cook until golden, ~8 minutes.
Prep the Beans (if needed): If using fresh home-cooked pinto beans, make sure they’re still warm when you dress the salad – warm beans will absorb the flavors of the marinade better than cold ones. If using canned beans, drain and rinse them in a mesh strainer first, then transfer to a bowl and microwave briefly.
Prep the Other Ingredients: While the mushrooms cook, chop up the celery, scallions, and cilantro, and add to the bowl with the beans.
Finish the Salad: Add the cooked mushrooms to the bowl, and dress with soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Toss to combine. Set the salad aside for at least 15 minutes [to marinate] before eating.
How to Serve and Store This Pinto Bean Salad
You can serve this salad warm, at room temp, or cold. Add some roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, or cauliflower, and you’ve got a complete meal. This also makes a great addition to salads and rice bowls, and I even use it as a filling for burritos (despite its Asian flair). It will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
More ways with beans…
- Black Bean and Plantain Bowls with Guacamole
- Meal Prep Farro Bowls with Garlicky Beans
- White Bean Panzanella Salad
- Greek Baked Beans (Gigantes Plaki)
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag your creation with @thenewbaguette on Instagram.Print
An easy, meal prep-able, and flavor-packed pinto bean salad with shiitakes, celery, and herbs. (Adapted from The Complete Vegan Cookbook)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Two 15-ounce cans pinto beans, or 3 cups home-cooked beans* (see note below)
- 2 medium scallions, chopped*
- 1 large or 2 small celery stalks, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro*
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar*
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook until browned, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
- (If using fresh home-cooked beans, make sure they’re still warm when assembling the salad – they will absorb more of the dressing that way. If using canned, drain and rinse them first, then warm in the microwave briefly before proceeding.)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the mushrooms and warm beans with the remaining ingredients and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine. Set the salad aside to marinate for at least 15 minutes before eating.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Eat warm or cold, with grains, cooked vegetables, or a salad.
- You can sub pinto with kidney beans.
- You can sub scallions with finely diced red onion.
- You can sub cilantro with parsley.
- Seasoned rice vinegar already contains sugar and salt. If you don’t have it, substitute with plain rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or wine vinegar here – and be sure to compensate with extra soy sauce and about 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or another sweetener.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 204
- Fat: 7.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 28 g
- Fiber: 8.5 g
- Protein: 8.3 g
Keywords: pinto, beans, salad, vegan, shiitake