Sea beans are an unusual vegetable that goes by many names such as salicornia, samphire and sea asparagus. It is primarily found growing near the ocean and around other salty bodies of water. Sea beans have been gaining in popularity in recent years for their salty taste and crunchy texture. Although it goes by the name of bean, this plant isn’t a bean at all, and is actually an edible succulent. While you may be able to find this unique green vegetable at your local farmer’s market it is commonly foraged by the sea.
You will find it growing in the sand without any leaves or flowers, it looks like a mix of asparagus and green beans branching off in all directions.
Sea beans contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, calcium, iron, and iodine. Iodine is especially important for the function of your thyroid and is not abundant in many foods, making sea beans a worthy addition to your diet. The color of sea beans comes from the flavonoid known as quercetin. This flavonoid works as an antioxidant in your body preventing damage from free radicals and even reducing inflammation. This distinctive vegetable is also high in protein providing 10 grams in just a half cup of the raw stalks.
The natural saltiness that this succulent provides lends well to the process of pickling. Pickling sea beans is simple and will result in a great addition to a grain bowl or salad.
- sea beans
- 1-liter apple cider vinegar
- 500-mL water
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seed
- 4 teaspoons coriander seed
- 3 teaspoons fennel seed
- In a medium saucepan, roast the spices on medium heat until they are fragrant. Add this to the vinegar, water, and honey and bring to a boil.
- Placed washed beans in a mason jar to fill 3/4 of the way and fill remainder of jar with brine. Put a lid on the jar and store in the fridge for
- The remaining brine can be used to pickle any other vegetables on hand or saved in the refrigerator
This chart shows a few grain bowl options that you can combine your pickled sea beans with for added nutrition and flavor! To use the chart simply pick an ingredient from each category and add any spices or seasonings you would like to create a complete meal.
Meet one of our interns:
Taylor is a dietetics student working towards her bachelor’s degree at Montclair State University in New Jersey. When she graduates she plans to attend a dietetic internship and hopes to work in nutrition counseling, helping clients to attain a healthy relationship with their food. She enjoys testing out new plant based recipes in her free time as well as being active through activities like hiking and yoga.