Sometimes salads have a rep for being boring, simply because they’re supposed to be healthy.
But I think salads should be flavorful, while still being relatively healthy, of course.
In fact, I eat salads because I think they taste good, not just because they’re healthy.
So this recipe is another flavorful salad to add to the mix.
This salad is hearty, with hints of sweetness, and just a little bit spicy.
I personally used this recipe for homemade Cajun seasoning from Mom on Timeout, but you could buy Cajun seasoning as well.
For this salad, we like to serve the Cajun beans warm.
Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. This flavorful salad comes together in less than 30 minutes and is also vegan and gluten-free.
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So here it is:
Yields: 6-8 Servings | Prep Time: 15 mins | Cooking Time: 10 mins | Total Time: 25 mins
Cajun Salad Dressing:
1 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp cane sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 Tbsp of pineapple juice (from a can of pineapple chunks with 100% juice)
Dash of smoked paprika
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup white vinegar
For the Cajun Red Beans:
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (from a can in 100% juice,) plus 1/4 cup just juice, blended*
3 (15.5 oz) cans red or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning
Dash of onion powder
Dash of paprika
Dash of smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
For the Salad:
4 oz bag dried Pineapple and/or papaya, chopped (I used a mix of both)
4 oz bag of chopped pecans
16 oz container of Spring Mix Lettuce (or similar mix)*
1 medium cucumber, diced
1 small onion, chopped
1.) First, mix together all dressing ingredients in a jar or dressing container.* Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Cover and refrigerate until the rest of the salad is done.
2.) Next, chop up the dried pineapple and/or papaya, cucumber, and onion. Set aside.
3.) Then, using a blender that can blend in small amounts, blend up 1/2 cup pineapple chunks and 1/4 pineapple juice.
4.) In a medium-sized saucepan add the blended pineapple & juice, drained and rinsed beans, 1 Tbsp of Cajun seasoning, dashes of onion powder, paprika, and smoked paprika, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Cook on medium-high until it starts to simmer (about 5 mins,) then turn heat slightly down and allow to simmer for another 5 mins.*
5.) Serve beans warm over individual plates of lettuce, then add to taste the remaining salad toppings on each plate (onion, cucumber, dried pineapple and/or papaya, pecans,) and dressing. (Make sure you stir the dressing well right before using it.) Enjoy!
1.) I blend the pineapple chucks and juice with my Ninja single serving blender attachment.
If you don’t have a blender that blends well in small amounts, you could instead use 3/4 cup of canned crushed pineapple to cook the beans in, and add a Tbsp or so of water or oil if it gets too dry or starts to stick.
2.) I used a 16 oz container lettuce mix of spring mix and baby spinach, which lasts us for at least 8 servings. But I’ve noticed that sometimes when packaged differently (like in bags instead of a container,) 16 oz of Spring Mix is not always enough for 6-8 servings. So you may need more than 16 oz, depending on where you get it from and how it’s packaged.
3.)The dressing will yield a little over 1 cup, so make sure the container you mix it up in holds at least 1 1/4 cups.
4.) Be sure to stir the beans frequently enough and don’t keep the heat too high, otherwise they may stick to the bottom and burn.
5.) Stir the dressing well, immediately before drizzling on each serving of salad.
6.) Excluding the dried fruit and pecans which can be left out tightly covered, the other salad ingredients and dressing can be individually covered in airtight containers and refrigerated for a few days. The beans can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove (you may want to add a little bit of water if they’re too dry.)
Did you make this recipe? We would love to hear how it went in the comments!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE Printable Flavorful Meal Plan Guide here.