Ensalada de Frijoles

Ensalada de Frijoles, Made in Mexico: The Cookbook by Danny Mena, Photography by Aaron Adler and Brent Herrig

Ensalada de Frijoles, Made in Mexico: The Cookbook by Danny Mena, Photography by Aaron Adler and Brent Herrig

Made in Mexico mixes recipes inspired by Mexico City street food, local eateries, and multi-starred restaurants, combining regional traditions and global trends. In more than one hundred dishes for breakfast, antojitos or snacks, salads and ceviches, main dishes, and desserts, as well as staples such as salsa roja and tortillas, chef Danny Mena shows American home cooks the depth and diversity of true Mexican cooking in the capital city, with explanations for proper technique and suggestions for ingredient variations.

Transportive photography from the streets, squares, markets, fondas, and restaurants of Mexico City complements beautifully plated dishes and an alfresco backyard dinner. Each recipe is inspired by a different Mexico City restaurant, giving the book a second life as a delicious image-filled guide to one of the world’s hottest culinary destinations. Fascinating sidebars illuminate aspects of Mexican food culture and feature notable locations.

Made in Mexico: The Cookbook by Danny Mena



Made in Mexico: The Cookbook: Classic And Contemporary Recipes From Mexico City is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.







Ensalada de Frijoles

Serves 8



1 cup Mayacoba beans, also known as Canary

1 cup cranberry beans

1 cup Ayocote beans

1 large white onion, quartered

3 cloves garlic



1 sprig fresh epazote (about 8 leaves), or 2 teaspoons dried

Kosher salt

When Mexico was added to the UNESCO cultural heritage list for its traditional cooking in 2008, there was a series of events throughout the country to celebrate regional food and drink. At a mezcal event I cohosted, I tasted a bean salad that was a revelation. I’d always loved beans; my grandfather was a farmer and planted pintos and black beans, so I’ve taken them for granted. But there is such diversity among beans within Mexico, and a bean salad really shows off their subtly different textures and flavours. Any bean—even fresh green beans!—will work here, but take the effort to cook them and not use canned beans. Rancho Gordo is a great resource for Mexican heirloom beans.

At Candela Romero, Spanish chef David Izquierdo serves modern Spanish cuisine inspired by Mexican ingredients like cacao from Oaxaca, vanilla from Veracruz, honey from Puebla, vtotoaba fish from Baja California, and beans grown on chinampas (floating gardens) in the south of Mexico City. His“Txipi-Chilhuacle” salad is a showcase for those beans, and is topped with grilled baby squid—which would be a great way to turn this salad into an entrée.



3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped

¼ small head green or red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 ear of corn, grilled or boiled, kernels cut from cob

3 radishes, thinly sliced

½ red onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and seeded, thinly sliced

Juice of 2 limes (about ¼ cup)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare the beans, soak the dry beans overnight with enough water to cover by 2 inches.


Drain and place the beans into a medium pot. Put half the onion,

2 garlic cloves, and epazote in the pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, the largest beans should be completely soft, but not mushy. (Make sure to always taste 2 beans, as sometimes the beans floating at the top may be harder than the ones at the bottom.) When the beans are done, add salt and taste the liquid. It should be nice and briny, but not unpleasantly salty; the beans will absorb the salt better at this stage than if salt is added at the beginning.

Let the beans cool to room temperature, or transfer them to a heatproof container and refrigerate, since beans can retain heat for a long time. As they cool, stir every 30 minutes or so.

Drain the beans well and reserve the cooking liquid for soup. Put the beans in a large bowl. Slice the remaining onion paper-thin, mince the remaining clove garlic, and add to bowl with cilantro, cabbage, corn, radishes, onion, chile, lime juice, and olive oil. Toss the bean salad well and let sit for 30 minutes to absorb the flavours before serving.


Recipe reprinted with permission from Rizzoli New York.

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