This week, in Arizona, we are hitting the 100s, so hot dinners are out, and salads are in! If you follow my posts, and you are a salad lover, this week is devoted to new cold salads! Today, I decided to make a cold green bean salad with an array of veggies I would typically serve hot. So, if you are trying to avoid the summer heat, let’s make a fabulous green beans salad recipe.
First of all, I have green beans everywhere! In our neighboring town, we belong to a community garden where we have grown our own vegetables. And let’s just say the green beans have taken over. So, when you have green beans, make green bean salad!
BLANCHING GREEN BEANS FOR A COLD GREEN BEAN SALAD
Although steaming is always an option of cooking green beans, I chose to blanch my green beans today. Blanching, as opposed to steaming, quickly cooks and tenderizes the green beans, followed by an ice water bath stops the cooking and any further change in color. As a result, the green beans are crisp, tender, and bright green.
HOW TO BLANCH GREEN BEANS
- Bring a large pot of saltwater to a boil
- Add the green beans
- Cook for 3 minutes
- Drain and immediately place in an ice bath to stop cooking
Once the green beans are cool, drain the ice bath, and remove the ice cubes. Then, it is important to dry the green beans, as they hold a lot of water.
WHAT OTHER INGREDIENTS ARE IN GREEN BEAN SALAD
Obviously, the green beans are the highlight of the recipe, but I had to add a little more fun if we are eating this for dinner. Although salad gets a bad rap, all salads are not created equal. This salad, for instance, is a show stopper. Without further ado, here is what I added to make green beans salad a meal the family woould love.
- Baby potatoes (also called creamer potatoes by foodies)
- Grape tomatoes
- Balsamic sauteed shallots
- Toasted slivered blanched almonds (optional)
- Tofu Feta Cheese
HOW TO PREPARE BABY POTATOES FOR GREEN BEAN SALAD
Because my goal was a cold salad, I boiled my potatoes and allowed them to cool completely before cutting and adding them to the salad. Baby potatoes, because they are smaller, take less time to cook than typical potatoes. For that reason, I only had to cook them for 15 minutes.
One suggestion, however, is to make sure the potatoes you use are about the same size to prevent different cooking times. These potatoes, for instance, only took 15 minutes to boil before draining them and rinsing them in cold water to stop cooking.
MAKING BALSAMIC SHALLOTS AND TOASTED SLIVERED ALMONDS
Unlike red onions, shallots are smaller and wrapped in thin layers. Similar in taste to red onions, shallots are a bit more mild and delicate in flavor. As a result, shallots are perfect to add a little onion component to a salad without overpowering it.
In order to bring a little sweetness to the shallots, I sauteed them with a clove of garlic and a Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, which caramelized them. Again, I cooked these ahead of time and refrigerated them until I assembled the green bean salad.
The blanched slivered almonds, on the other hand, just add a little crunch and love to the green beans salad. When I was little my mom used to always toast almonds for her green bean casserole. For an added twist, I made garlic toasted slivered blanched almonds.
Again, you do not need any oil to toast nuts in a pan. For this recipe, all I used was raw slivered blanched almonds, my green pan, minced garlic, and garlic powder. And, in a matter of minutes, you have flavorful, crispy, slivered almonds.
TOFU FETA TOPS THE GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH TASTY PROTEIN
Although the Tofu Feta Cheese is optional, as is the nuts, I think it adds another layer of deliciousness to the salad.
Even though it is one of my favorite tofu recipes, the green bean salad is wonderful with it or without it. But, of course, I included it for tonight’s dinner. As with all salad recipes, the magic is always in the dressing. Since all my veggies, for the exception of the grape tomatoes, came from my garden, I wanted a refreshing summery dressing.
With all the ingredients in mind, I chose to make a lemon basil dressing using the basil from my garden. Not only is this dressing perfect for my green bean salad, the combination of lemon, basil, white vinegar, and garlic compliments all the ingredients in the salad and the Tofu Feta Cheese.