Green beans have arrived in the Northwest! I found number of varieties at the market and bargain prices at grocery stores this past week. If you can them or make pickles, now is the time to load up.
I had an idea for making a pasta salad with green beans, so I used half the beans I bought (about a pound) to add them with pasta. I blanched them the last few minutes of cooking the pasta. I realized half way through the cooking I had a boatload of basil, so what I made turned out to be more of a marinara type sauce and I blended the pasta and green beans in. Lots of basil went into this, and I have more leftover, so I looks like I'll make an Italian Vegetable Soup tonight with more green beans and basil. I love blanching green beans so much, that I blanched them two days in a row.
The second day, I made this green bean salad. I looked for recipes, but couldn't find exactly what I was looking for. I'd thought about using red peppers for color but they haven't made an appearance yet at the market, so carrots were my second choice. I still think a good grilled red pepper would be awesome in this salad. I may create a variation next week if I find red peppers.
I also realized I had three cucumbers to use. Farmer Wade Bennett of Rockridge Orchards had a great deal on Japanese cucumbers, and I couldn't resist buying extra. I tell myself, this is the time to gorge on produce, so I got three cucumbers. I'm thinking of using diced cucumber, avocado and chopped olives as a garnish for a tortilla soup.
|Mair Farm-Taki sells amazing Japanese cucumbers, too. I love the samples. Some people say Farmer Katsumi Taki's cucumbers are the sweetest at the market.|
Now for the dressing. Vinegar or lemon? I could have gone either way with this salad, but I think lemon pulls the color from the green beans faster than vinegar, and I wanted a slightly mustard flavor, so I opted for a raspberry vinegar. And for some heat--Mama Lil's. People might say I'm a cooking fraud if Mama Lil's disappeared. It's my secret ingredient for many things I make, and it's on sale right now, so check it out.
|Look, Wade has new flip top vinegar bottles. They look so old fashioned.|
Green Bean, Carrot and Cucumber Salad
2 cups fresh green beans
2 to 4 tablespoons apple cider or berry vinegar
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon Nayonaise (vegan mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 tablespoon chopped Mama Lil's (or use pickled jalapenos)
1 or 2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup minced sweet or red onions
1 Japanese cucumber, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Blanch green beans in a large pot of water until fork tender (about 3 minutes). Drain and plunge green beans into cold water to stop the cooking process.
2. Whisk together vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, olive oil, agave nectar, Mama Lil's and garlic. Set aside.
3. Combine green beans, carrots, onions and cucumber. Gently toss with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.