Green beans and I have a long and checkered history.
Our relationship began was I was just a young whippersnapper, equally as stubborn and sassy as I am now. Back then, my mom used to cook dinner every single night, and the whole family would come together around the table to eat and share stories about our days, where we injected as many inappropriate innuendos and as much potty humor as possible. I did mention I grew up with two brothers, yes? Dinnertime was a blast.
Moving on, our meals almost always consisted of three components. There was the main event, meat or fish, which I pointedly ignored, fed to the dog, or hid in my napkin. There was the starch, and the beginning of my long term love affair with potatoes. And last but never least, there was the vegetable portion of the meal.
Green beans were a staple at our table, and my mom always served them fresh. They were tender while retaining a bit of crunch, and she seasoned them simply with a tab of butter, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
For all her efforts though, I really wanted the green beans which came from a can, the kind we got in the lunch line at school. Those beans were super soft, 100% malleable and completely edible even if you had no teeth. They were also soaked and saturated in some kind of salty liquid, maybe even some high fructose corn syrup. I’d used to ask my mother why she couldn’t make green beans like those. It’s a wonder I’m alive to tell the tale.
I have since learned to appreciate the beauty of fresh green beans with their nutritional value still intact. I’ve come to recognize texture is a good thing when it comes to edibles, and I welcome whole foods in all their stunning, splendid glory; yes, even green beans.
Fast forward to now, where I get an ungodly amount of them in our CSA every week; at least every single week for the past five or six weeks. It’s the same story every year, where I liken them to the Terminator because they just keep coming and coming. In order to keep up with the quantity, the Hubby and I have to eat them multiple times a week, which tends to get a little redundant. Granted I suppose I could freeze them and come to think of it, maybe I’ll set aside some time this weekend to do just that.
In the meantime though, I refuse to be vested by my produce and I’ll be damned if I’m going to eat the same type of green beans day in and day out. So I got a little creative and doused them in ALL the toppings because that’s how I roll.
This is a cold and ridiculously healthy green bean salad with carrots, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, feta and pine nuts. The entire thing is dressed lightly, with some olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkle of cracked black pepper and coarse salt. The combination of flavors is fresh and vibrant and packs a textural punch.
Simply stated, these are not your mama’s green beans, nor do they bear any resemblance to the ones in can. I bet you go back for seconds though. I certainly did.
- 1 pound fresh Green Beans, washed and trimmed
- 1/4 Onion, sliced matchstick style.
- 3 Carrots, peeled and sliced matchstick style.
- 1/2 Cucumber, sliced matchstick style
- 1/2 pint Grape or Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup Feta, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Coarse salt and pepper
- Steam green beans in 1/2 inch boiling water covered for 3 or 4 minutes. Cold shock beans by running under cold water and drain well. Place beans in a bowl and combine with onions, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and pine nuts. Dress salad with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Season salad with coarse salt and pepper, to taste.
What’s your history with green beans? Did you eat them often as a child? Did you covet the ones in a can?