A New Bean

[donotprint] I love love love trying new things, especially when it comes to food! God how I have changed, long gone are the days when I would avoid anything “new”, anything on my safe list that I knew wouldn’t cause me to gain any weight. Even if different foods had the same calorie composition it was as if I thought they would somehow cause my body harm or turn my whole controlled way of living in to turmoil! An eating disordered mindset is not a fun place to be but at the time it all makes strange but logical sense.

Now I leap at the chance to try new foods, sometimes quite literally “leap”. It has one downside…it results in a hell of lot of foodie impulse buying, which of course gets eaten, but inevitably ends up costing me quite lot of money. Money that would have formally spent on clothes!

I went on the hunt for edamame beans which I have officially given up trying to find…for the moment, I never really truly give up! In the process I stumbled upon a new bean, the flageolet, which had somehow gone under my radar up until now. Probably because my love for chickpeas and white beans of late has pretty much taken over!

When I set out to buy edamame beans I had a salad in mind, a pearl barley salad that I had a longing to create, so I simply just subbed the edamame beans with the flageolet.

Pearl Barley and my beloved kale, love which has been supercharged by the fact that is a nutritional powerhouse, some of which I knew/assumed, confirmed by an interesting article I stumbled upon over the weekend.

7 Reasons Kale is the New Beef (I’m not sure I want it to be used in the same sentence as beef but it makes for a good read!)

In with the barley and kale went lightly cooked red onion and celery, dried cranberries, the cooked flageolet beans, plenty of parsley and thyme and sweet zingy cinnamon spiced dressing. It completely superseded my expectations. I absolutely love the chewy bite of pearl barley and always opt to cook it for slightly less time than than the slightly over the top time of 1-1/2 hours…about 45 minutes does me fine!

The sweet slightly tart dried cranberries were just what the whole thing needed to make it quite special, not forgetting the flageolet beans! They had a little bit more of a bit than I expected, but they complimented the salad perfectly and provided the much desired hit of protein to the grain based bowlful. I love when salads/meals come together quite randomly and end up looking so planned and pretty!

It’s one of those dishes that when you think about it you can not only almost taste and smell it, you can feel the texture of the different components in your mouth, or at least clearly remember what they were like! Chewy yet soft, sweet yet spicy and savoury, refreshing yet wonderfully comforting. Another top salad that would be good served warm or cold (I of course opted for cold!) [/donotprint]

Kale, Bean and Barley Sweetly Spiced Salad


Servings –1

Preparation Time – 5 minutes

Cooking Time – 5 minutes



  • 60g (2oz) cooked pearl barley (45 minutes – 1 hour, according to packet instructions)
  • 2 generous handfuls of kale
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium rib of celery diced
  • 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 can cooked flageolet beans
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • 1/3 tbsp fresh thyme roughly chopped


  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Place onion, celery and olive oil in a pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, until onion is just translucent. Set to one side.
  2. Drop kale in to a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes, remove and run under boiling water. Tear or shred the kale, using your hands or a knife, in to bite size pieces.
  3. Mix together all salad ingredients, reserving a little parsley and thyme for sprinkling on top.
  4. Whisk together all dressing ingredients, pour over salad and stir well to ensure everything is nicely coated. Serve topped with remaining parsley and thyme. Ideally make a couple of hours and store in the fridge before serving. Alternatively serve warm once assembled.

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    1. Please do! I was a spinach a holic until I tried kale! I save spinach for smoothies and salads but kale is so much more robust! Baked kale is also incredible!