Bean, Tahini & Chestnut Salad

Amy Winehouse is playing on the stereo. Elsa is dancing around my legs. Luise is furiously cleaning and refurnishing one of our cabinets with styling props (even though I’m guessing it might be pointless since Elsa uses them as toys and will probably have turned it upside down by tomorrow). In the middle of this lovely commotion I’m trying to write a blog post. Need. To. Focus.

I want to talk about beans today. I have this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their bean habits. Take me for example. I’m always late and not very well prepared. So I’m obviously a canned bean kind of guy. Sure, they are not perfect and the can leaves a hint of taste on them. But they are good enough and – more importantly – they are always there for me, no preparation needed. Luise thinks ahead and plans her day thoroughly, so she has time to soak, boil and sprout her beans. And of course they always turn out fantastic. You know those big macho guys that refuses to eat beans (and vegetables), well that says something about them too.

Regardless how the beans are prepared, we eat them several times a week. They are not only very tasty and versatile, but also provide proteins that we as vegetarians always are in need of. We often use them in salads, soupsno-rice risottostews or in bean spreads, but sometimes we even throw them in a dessert.

As a young teenager I hated beans. I thought they were mushy, tasteless and probably too healthy for me. But after trying it quite a few times, they grew on me (ehh not literally, but you know what I mean). I first learned to like garbanzo beans, then black beans and now I eat them all.

The salad we made today is a classic combination for us, with lots of different beans, fruit, vegetables and nuts. What makes it a little special is that we used chestnuts this time. They add a warm and flavorful tone to the salad. They are Elsa’s new favorite nut. We also made a tahini dressing which turns it into a very creamy salad. I “forgot” to take a photo of how the salad looks after it is tossed with the dressing. It changes color and becomes more messy. So not very photogenic, but mighty delicious!

Bean & Chestnut Salad with Tahini dressing
Serves 4

If chestnuts are not in season you can swap them for some freshly roasted walnuts. If you use canned beans they of course don’t have to be cooked again, just rinse them thoroughly.

Bean Salad
200 g chestnuts
500 g mixed beans (we used cooked black beans, cooked white beans, cooked fava beans and sprouted mung beans)
1 bunch of winter spinach, torn in big pieces
2 avocados, diced
1 apple, diced
2 purple carrots, sliced
1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

Tahini Dressing
2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste)
4 tbsp olive oil (or 3 tbsp water)
1 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400F/200°C.
2. Use a small sharp knife to cut a cross into the skin of the chestnuts. Put them in a pan and roast until the skin opens and the insides are tender, about 30 min.
3. Meanwhile, combine the beans in a big bowl, add spinach, avocados, apples, carrots. Set aside and start preparing the dressing.
4. Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl until it becomes creamy. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the chestnuts from the oven. Peel them while they are warm and add half of them to the salad.
6. Add also half of the dressing, and toss everything until well combined. Top with a bunch of fresh cilantro.
7. Serve with some warm chestnuts and dressing on the side.


Ps. Luise’s cabinet turned out really nice and organized. I’ll try to post a photo on Instagram later.


  • Anja
    I just saw this and it sounds like THE perfect winter salad with all the earthy beans and spinach! I am totally in love with beans and tahini is literally my life so I'll make this asap before all the spring feelings make it socially not acceptable to eat chestnuts any more ;) thanks for sharing and gorgeous photography! love your blog!♡ anja
  • maria
    This is for Louise! How do you precook your beans? Do you just boil them in water or do you add some spice? Suggestions please:) AND a big congratulations to the both of you for Isaac:) Hugs
  • Sylvie
    Hmm, just made this salad and it's delicious! I've just rediscovered chestnuts. Thank you.
  • Thank you so much for your beautiful recipes - the photos are divine and this salad looks so gorgeous...can't wait to make it for my 16yr old son - he's vegan, so I'll substitute the honey with rice syrup. :)
  • I just made this salad and it was so so delicious! I substituted the chestnuts for toasted walnuts but it was still so good... I loved the dressing but my favourite part was the mixture of flavours and of crunchy-soft textures. I will make it again for sure, thanks for sharing it!
  • Very nice salad, beans in any salad are very nutritional and specialy good for this cold days
  • I fall into the slow soak/cook bean camp and as a bean lover, I tuck them into savory and sweet dishes whenever the possible. I love the colors and textures you put together with this salad, the avocado, chestnut, and apples in particular—just lovely.
  • Bonnie Koeppe
    Thinking about beans this week too. Feeling guilty and lazy that I pay way too much for canned beans and have the time to prepared the dry kind. So I soaked some navy beans yesterday and voila! A batch of little versatile treasures. Yesterday they made a simple bean dip and today they are simmering into a yummy miso chili-stew.
  • The first click with the beans and that white bowl is simply awesome! And Tahini in a salad sounds such a flavorful and refreshing idea.
  • Anna
    Yummy, love beans, usually soak loads and freeze them loose in a bag, ready to boil when we need them. Great for almost spontaneously bean eating!
  • christine
    I am a planner, a rule-follower and love the idea of making everything from scratch. I have Veganomicon, which raves about how sprouted beans taste so much better. I follow the bean cooking instructions to a tee, but recently, add a little bit of time because...somehow, my palate does not like the taste of soaked beans. They always taste uncooked to me (even though I deviated from the book and added more time!) and I end up treating myself to canned beans. Anyway, your salad looks like the perfect combination of flavours, colours and textures!
  • I am definitely a procrastinator! Unless I plan on making a big batch of beans for the week I use canned. This salad sounds great. I can't wait to try the tahini dressing.
  • Yum! I never would have thought to add chestnuts. This sounds incredibly delicious. Thanks for the inspiration! (p.s. - I just posted some lovely linzer cookies on my blog you might be interested in for v-day!)
  • I loved reading this post<3 written with such humor and ease.. It´s like I´m there in your apartment w the green wall:)
  • Gorgeous salad and idea. Here in the UK are able to get whole cooked chestnuts from pouches and tins, so this is a great year-round option. But, as with tinned beans, we aren't that keen unless certified BPA-free. Luckily we can get a lot of beans, pulses and other things that might come in a tin, in pouches. So, instead of always having to be organised I can rip open a pouch. I would call this lack of organisation 'spontaneity'.
  • Great post! Can't say that I reach for chestnuts very often, but I'm going to have to give it a try!
    • Hi Greenthyme, if you are not a big fan of chestnuts you could also swap them for warm roasted walnuts. /David
  • Just found your blog and am totally swept away. Just love it. And your photographs are breathtaking:)
  • Yum and stunning photography!
  • Can't wait to try this salad! My 7-year-old is obsessed with chestnuts.
  • I'm a bean fanatic! But I'm going to have to go with Luise on this one, I'm definitely a soak my beans and cook myself kinda person :) This salad sounds perfect for this time of year too!
  • Ohhhhh my LORD this is gorgeous. I'm moving in.
  • I too have never thought of combining beans and chestnuts- great idea! I like how you've taken something as simple as mixed beans and made a bright and cheerful winter salad.
  • First off, this bean salad is just magnificent. Beans and chestnuts! Why have I never thought to pair the two? Brilliance. Secondly, I'm a canned bean guy too... but I'm not one to be late (though I can be rather disorganized). So, I guess it's hard to tell what that all means.
  • I most definitely am a planner. I keep glass jars of cooked beans in my freezer. And I feel very, very guilty if I have to buy the canned variety. I'm sure this says boatloads about me and my beans. But I'm as good an avoider as I am a planner, so I'll pretend my been habits are "normal." Great simple-sounding tahini dressing, by the way.
  • i love tahini-based dressings so much and for some reason i haven't made any in a very long time. i think i need to make this salad, too. i need more chestnuts in my life ;)
  • What a lovely and delicious salad! I like beans as well, they are great for vegetarians and of course for everyone :) Have a great weekend!
  • AGS
    Now you got me all puzzled as I soak, pressure cook and freeze in smaller boxes ready to use later kind of person..... Brilliant post, many thanks.
    • Well AGS, one thing is for sure. You and Luise could have long conversations about bean preparation. I see a lot of similarities ... /David
  • Gorgeous salad! I like beans, and ideally I like to prepare them myself though I can be lazy and do every so often reach out for the canned ones... but for certain beans, or certain dishes, I always go the traditional way.

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