Edamame, cranberry, and feta salad

November 19, 2012 § 4 Comments

Can you believe it, Thanksgiving is only days away. I know, I know…I still feel like I am back in October, which is kind of ridiculous since my family has already celebrated what I like to call Midwestern Thanksgiving (not to be confused with a real holiday, Canadian Thanksgiving, which is in October).

Midwestern Thanksgiving is a gathering my maternal side of the family has every year a few weeks in advance of the real (American) turkey day, in an attempt to avoid the snow that often bombards Ohio and Michigan this time of year. This time we enjoyed huo guo, otherwise known as hot pot, wherein everyone cooks their own food in a communal pot at the center of the table. It is great fun, though the only Thanksgiving part of the meal was apple pie for dessert!

The night after Thanksgiving 1 I got together with my friends, and we had our usual knit night potluck. I brought this salad, purchased from a whole-foods store called Foods for Living, because it looked so festive, with the ruby red of the cranberries and the creamy feta popping against the warm green of the soybeans. It turns out that it tastes really great too, so much so that I had to recreate it for Thanksgiving 2 this year.

It sounds like a strange combination: feta is generally associated with Greek cuisine, but its tangy creaminess pairs well with that very North American of berries, the brightly acidic cranberry. Though commonly associated with Asian foods, soybeans add both a hint of nuttiness and sweetness, and their crunch provides nice texture too. Tying it all together is a chiffonade of peppery, vegetal basil, a splash of olive oil, and some black pepper.

It certainly isn’t a typical green bean casserole, but the lightness and crunch that the salad provides works well with the often-heavy dishes traditional at Thanksgiving. Plus, no one can argue that cranberries aren’t seasonally apropos.

However, if your guests are appalled at the thought of not having their traditional green bean casserole, this dish can be easily whipped up the morning of, and placed alongside the rest of your bountiful meal.

I hope you and yours have a happy Thanksgiving!

Edamame, cranberry, and feta salad

Inspired by Foods for Living’s salad

Serves six

Ingredients

  • Twenty ounces (567 grams) soybeans, shells on
  • Four ounces (113 grams) feta, crumbled
  • One and a half cups (6.6 ounces or 187 grams) dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup basil, shredded/chiffonaded
  • Three tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste

1. If using frozen soybeans, combine soybeans and enough water to cover them in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, and let cook for five minutes. Alternatively, microwave the pods in a covered bowl for seven minutes on the highest setting. Plunge the pods into cold water to stop the cooking.

If using fresh beans, boil for four minutes and then plunge the pods into cold water.

With either cooking method, remove the pods from the soybeans once they are cool enough to handle. Pat the beans dry with a tea towel or kitchen paper.

2. While the beans are cooking, combine the feta and dried cranberries in a large bowl. Chiffonade/shred the basil.

3. Stir the soybeans and basil into the feta and cranberry mixture. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. The salad is best served after letting the flavors mingle for at least a few hours, if possible, but it’s not crucial if you’re really hungry and want to eat right away.

Note: you can obviously eat this at other times besides Thanksgiving; indeed, this batch is going to be part of my lunch this week.

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§ 4 Responses to Edamame, cranberry, and feta salad

  • sybaritica says:

    I’ve only had edamame once; as an appetizer at a Japanese restuarant. Sadly, I have not seen them in any stores here, which is a shame as this recipe really does look great!

    • kristina says:

      I wonder if they might be sold frozen at a local Asian grocery store? Otherwise you could try substituting any kind of firm bean, such as cranberry beans or even garbanzo beans (chickpeas) – the flavor will be different of course.

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