BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

The Impulse Buy

46 Comments

After walking for at least a few hours too long, it was like a little oasis in a concrete desert, where the quiet streets suddenly opened up and came to life. Bombarded by unidentifiable but delicious cooking aromas, colors and shapes of exotic produce, and people hustling about like busy worker bees in their hive, the Naschmarkt is no hum-drum little farmer’s market. Boasting fruits and vegetables that I had only seen in photos and videos previously, it’s truly a foodie paradise. Easily entertained by just your average grocery expedition, I could have easily spent hours examining the seemingly endless lines of stalls, each hawking something different and unique, but not all members of our pack felt the same way, to say the least. Giving me the evil eye at every turn, my sister looked ready to bite my head off if I dragged her to yet another stand of boring old vegetables. Bored, tired, and without the same culinary inclinations as myself, she would have easily chosen to be just about anywhere else on the planet at that moment. I had to be hasty about this if I wanted any peace for the rest of the journey across Europe- And it is a pretty big place, after all.

So of all things, from the amazing array of rare edibles, it should figure that my impulse buy was of perhaps one of the least spectacular offerings; Beans. Yes, just dried beans.

But if you take one look at these beauties, you might just understand why. Speckled with black polka dots across their vibrant purple skins, I had never seen anything like them, nor did I even know what they were. Labeled as “Käfer Bohnen,” my most basic understanding of German cooking words only allowed me to understand that they were in fact ____ Beans. Enlightening, no? But I grabbed a bag of them anyway, planning to do more research once they were safely home.

Surprisingly little information about the käfer bohnen exists, but I could at least discern that it translates roughly to “beetle bean,” and cooks in about 1 – 2 hours after soaking. Good enough for me! Sadly, they do lose some of their violet hue after such a long, hot bath, but it’s a sacrifice worth making. Creamy on the inside but still possessing a firm bite, they are truly delightful little legumes.

To highlight this unique bean, I decided to pair them with blanched green beans, very lightly cooked so that they retain their crispness, and dressed simply in a German/Austrian-inspired vinaigrette. Other large, flat beans like broad beans or fava beans could probably make a fine substitute, but I will be quite sad when my little souvenir is all used up.

Bonen Salat (Austrian Bean Salad)

1 Cup Dry Beetle Beans (or Fava Beans, Broad Beans, or Butter Beans), Soaked Overnight
1 Bay Leaf
3/4 Pound Fresh Green Beans
1/2 Medium Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1/2 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Mild Vegetable Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Dill
1 Tablespoon Light Agave Nectar
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

First things first, get a big pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Add in your soaked beans and bay leaf, and cook until tender but not splitting apart, about 1 – 2 hours depending on what bean you choose and how old they are. To save water, I blanched my green beans right in the same pot. Once the beans are just about done, add in the cleaned and trimmed green beans, and let them cook for just 2 – 3 minutes, until bright green. Drain and quickly plunge the beans into ice water to stop the cooking and preserve the color of the green beans. Discard the bay leaf, and toss in the sliced onion.

To make the dressing, simply whisk together all of the remaining ingredients and pour them over the beans. Toss gently to coat, cover, and refrigerate for at least 3 – 4 hours before serving so that the flavors can meld. There will be a lot of excess dressing at the bottom of the bowl, but don’t cut back- It helps to cover more of the goods while they sit. Just drain the salad slightly before serving.

Serves 4 – 6 as a Side Dish

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

46 thoughts on “The Impulse Buy

  1. Interesting little bean! I dont even think I have seen it before! I love the color, and teh salad looks delciious!

  2. I am pretty sure these are Scarlet Runner beans in English. According to the German wikipedia article for Feuerbohne, Käferbohnen and Feuerbohnen (fire beans) are synonymous in German, and dict.leo.org confirms the translation for Feuerbohne as scarlet runner bean. I’ve ordered them in the US from rancho gordo (www.ranchogordo.com), and they were amazing (and pretty much exactly what you describe). (I can’t recommend ordering from rancho gordo enough if you never have, by the way. Everything I have ever had from there was remarkable.)

  3. Ah… Käferbohnen!

    Traditionally my family eats these either stir-fried (with onions, breadcrumbs and savory, which is known as Bohnenkraut/”beans’ herb” in German) or just as a salad, with no other ingredients added and a dressing using pumpkin seed oil (this would be in the south of the country only, in Styria, where most of the world’s pumpkin seed oil is produced).

    Don’t you think you should be calling this Austrian bean salad? (-: (Well, maybe they have these beans in Germany also – I don’t really know!)

    Let me know when you run out, I’ll be happy to send you a care package!

    Very interesting etymology for “Naschmarkt” on Wikipedia. I had always assumed the name came from the word “naschen” (= to nibble, often sweet foods)

  4. They look interesting!
    I could not live without dried dill, its just delicious in salad!

    Rose

  5. I can’t speak for the rest of Germany, but in my little town, I haven’t seen any… Which is a bit sad, because they’re beautiful, and I absolutely adore beans, and good beans frequently make it into my salads.

    However, to be a bit cheeky, in order to make this a *true* German salad, you’re going to have to have it literally swimming in dressing… ;)

  6. I adore those! It’s a lucky find. We don’t get this kind of bean often here in Germany (and if, we call them Feuerbohnen [fire beans]. My Austrian friends love them paired with pumpkin seed oil. It’s so delicious! Your salad looks amazing, too. I hope I can find some Käferbohnen.
    P.S. I don’t want to be a pain, but it’s Bohne, not Bone ;)

  7. Wonderful post! I really know what you mean about being with a group of people (or person) who isn’t as much of a foodie as you are. Luckily and with time, most of my family has either grown patient of my love for taking hours to look at produce and food-related things or have grown a love for it themselves! And those beans are beautiful!

  8. Those beans look very much like what I call Scarlet Runner Beans. I grow them every year and am always looking for recipes! Hurray!

  9. Your beetle beansdo look awfully like the scarlet runner beans I’ve grown!

  10. You are a foodie after my own heart! I would SO be dragging my relatives to markets all over Europe if I went. These beans are gorgeous, I can see why you bought them. And the creation you made with them definitely does them justice. A tasty salad for a pretty-in-pink bean.

  11. oh these look so pretty! I haven´t heard of them before though – but as I love all kinds of beans, I definitely have to look for those!

    enjoy your week!! <3
    xoxo Mel

  12. This sounds delicious. I’ve never had beetle beans…it will have to be put on my list of foods to check out!

  13. When I was a child I couldn’t stand beans. As an adult, and especially as a vegan, I’ve really grown to appreciate and love their taste and texture. They’re also very versatile! Picking up beans on vacation is exactly something I would do. :) While I probably won’t be able to find this variety, I’ll definitely give your salad a try with some butter beans. Salads like this are my husband’s favorite type (which makes sense considering he’s German).

  14. I’d almost hate to cook them! I’d just like to display them in a jar on the counter :)

  15. So pretty!

    So are you cooking on vacation? How is that working out? I’m confused… :)

  16. The beans are gorgeous!!! I gasp when I saw them!
    And you dish sounds scrumptious!

  17. i’m not familiar with that bean. The salad sounds wonderful. Thats my bowl of healthy eats.

  18. So interesting these beans Hannah…I never seen it before…the salad looks very pretty and SO healthy :-)

  19. Very, very pretty (and a lovely photo)…I can see why you couldn’t resist them! My daughter’s boyfriend is a chef and he got me hooked on blanched veggies. I love ‘em…especially green beans.

  20. Hannah, I’m fairly certain that you’ll *never* need to justify farmers’ market purchases or hours-long food expeditions to we readers ;) We’re exactly the people who understand such glee and impulse buying 100% – and delight in hearing that other people do the same thing :)

  21. Beetle beans…neat! I’ve never seen anything like that.

    I love the idea of a salad with green beans, legumes, and red onion. So colourful and fresh looking!

  22. Beautiful beans and the salad sounds delicious! This is just the type of impulse buy I’d probably make as well and my traveling companions would roll their eyes at hehe.

  23. Beetle beans! So cute & delicious looking/sounding. I love playing with new bean varieties–and that salad looks great!

  24. They are Scarlet runner beans…I’m growing some in my garden this year and have been in LOVE with their colour. They also have beautiful red flowers. I got mine from urban harvest seed supply :)Love your blog!

  25. I also think that beans are one of the most beautiful food crops! And the fact that they can dry out and sit on the shelf all winter is just so cool. Plus there’s nothing better than the feeling of slipping your hand into a huge pile of dry beans… (Amelie?!)

    So… yay beans!

  26. Gorgeous. Yes AlizaEss – That’s from Amelie. I always love that scene. How much do I love that your impulsive buy was beans! From the title I imagined it was going to be a kitchen gadget.

  27. They are awfully pretty. So is your salad. I bet it was delicious too.

  28. lol a bit late to the game, but in German these are also called “Feuerbohnen” (firebeans), I remember marvelling at them in a neighbours garden (we didn’t grow beans). The latin name is Phaseolus coccineus, and I believe, as many posters before me, that they are called scarlet runner beans in English.
    It’s quite funny that that they are an Austrian specialty – according to Wikipedia they orginate from South America.
    Keep doing what you are doing on your blog, I’m enjoying it a lot!

    • I’m not all that surprised that they’ve managed to become an Austrian speciality, looking as pretty as they do. (Also because Germany tried to colonise South America, failed miserably thanks to the Spanish and Portugese, but at least managed to bring back to central Europe some awesome foods! hehehe)

  29. oh wow I never thought of this version of beans. I always stewed them or put them in soups. This sounds yummily good. Gotta a try. Red onions, green beans, bay-leaf, garlic just sounds so perfect.

  30. this is such a good looking salad…looks just heavenly!

  31. Haha. What a practical impulse buy!!

    Those beans are beautiful, though, so I can see why you bought them. I’d probably do the same thing. :) Your salad looks/sounds delightful!

  32. Those are beautiful! They remind me of a pony with their gorgeous coloring! I found your blog via a post to your knit pizza on WhipUp. That is SO CUTE! I would love to link to it if you didn’t mind.

  33. I LOVE beans. A lot. Those are so gorgeous! Completely unexpected.

    The dish sounds fab, too. I love bean salads.

  34. This looks DELICIOUS! I adore light and simply bean salads with zesty vinaigrettes. Yours has so much beautiful color, I can’t wait to give it a try. Wish I could find beans that pretty around here.

  35. goodness me Hannah, I’ve never thought to eat beans like this.
    I save them each from the last of my runner bean pods and always have more than I can sow for the following year. You’ve literally given me food for thought there!
    ps. don’t you just love the feel of the beans. So silky and smooth. I almost wondered about trying to thread them to make a bracelet (not sure if you’d have to varnish them in some way if you did that)

  36. These beans look wonderful. I’ve had scarlet runner beans in the past, which look quite like these. I wonder if they’re the same? Either way they’re delicious, and your bean salad looks like a wonderful way to use up a big batch.

  37. I suppose I should try this, since I’m only a few blocks from Naschmarkt!

  38. What an unusual looking bean! I’ve been experimenting with heirloom beans lately but I’ve never seen these before. I will seek them out!
    Great blog! Very impressive photography and the recipes look wonderful! I will be back!

  39. You inspired me to pick up some strange looking dried beans! I hope mine come out as good! Thanks for the recipe.

  40. What cute beans!! Even though I don’t like beans, it would’ve been hard to resist snatching up a bag of these.

  41. Like you I seen these, tinned though (in Aldi/Hoffer inAustria). as a veggie I thought I would see how it went….. I now use them as the beef mince meat substitute in any mince dish, they are amazing, try them as the “meat” in a chilli – I mash them first and they are on my weekly shopping list now.

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