Browsing Tag


Green Bean Summer Salad

May 16, 2010

Being at home in the kitchen is always so inspiring, opening up my mind to simple dishes I might not have thought of putting together myself. Until just a couple hours ago, I had fully planned on posting an entirely different recipe, but while I was sitting at the kitchen table, putting together a post, my mom was in the kitchen, chopping and drizzling, and tossing. And I, as usual, got my fingers into what she was making for the neighborhood potluck. Lucky for me, my mom was willing to share both the recipe and an extra helping of this Green Bean Summer Salad.  

Preparing the green beans properly is the most important element of a successful green bean salad. Say it with me, “I promise not to overcook my green beans.” Overcooking is one of the biggest mistakes made when preparing vegetables. Just a short bath in boiling water is enough for most vegetables to achieve a crisp-tender quality, meaning they are cooked to a point where they still retain some of the crunchiness of raw vegetables; think of it as a middle ground between fully cooked and raw.

I’m pretty positive I would have eaten the entire bowl of this salad had my mom let me instead of whisking it away to the neighborhood potluck. Crunchy, sweet roasted pecans and savory bits of onion tossed in a light lemon-dill dressing makes for one heck of a summer salad. I often neglect lemon when cooking. Big mistake, since adding lemon to this salad is like a little burst of sunshine making every other flavor better, brighter, more prominent. Now that I have this salad all I need is a potluck!

Green Bean Summer Salad
(Printable Recipe)
*1/2 cup chopped pecans 
*1 1/2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
*1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
*1/4 cup olive oil
*Juice from 1/2 a lemon
*1/2 tsp. dried dill
*1 to 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
*1/2 tsp. black pepper

*Preheat oven to 350*F.
*Place pecans on a baking pan or oven-going baking dish and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Set aside.
*Place green beans in a large saucepan and add enough water to come about halfway up the green beans. Bring to boiling and cook 5 minutes, or until green beans are crisp-tender, meaning they still have some crunch to them, but are pleasantly tender. Drain beans and place in a large bowl.
*Add the toasted pecans and chopped onions to the bowl.
*In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper.
*Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the green beans and toss to coat. Serve immediately at room temperature, or refrigerate up to a day and serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!


Warm Balsamic-Poppy Seed Salad

December 29, 2009

The snow is everywhere here and it is cold, very cold. I’m positive that no matter how many Iowa winters I endure, I will never truly grow accustomed to temperatures that dip into the negatives. I’m convinced if New Year’s were to fall during June or July, when temperatures are sweltering, resolving to eat healthier and lighter fare would be much easier than in January when you live in an only slightly milder version of the North Pole.

The Iowa tundra on Christmas day

Since that’s just not the case, my ‘lighten-up’ salads during the winter are often filled with flavors both savory and sweet, with dressings that are deceptively rich. In truth, I think eating toast with very liberal amounts of crunchy peanut butter would be the perfect breakfast and lunch day after day, but that hardly seems like a good healthy eating technique, and much less exciting to share with you dear readers.

This salad is an example of a salad warmed up for winter weather. Filled with veggies, fruit, toasted pecans and a delicious balsamic-poppy seed dressing, it’s sure to satisfy even the most intense cravings for rich, decadent food. One last tip – warming the dressing slightly in the microwave before pouring it over the salad is a great way to add an extra boost of comfort to any salad.

*Romaine lettuce
*1 medium apple, chopped
*2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
*2 Tbsp. dried cranberries
*Dressing: 2 parts balsamic vinaigrette, 1 part light poppy seed dressing

*Toss together an enjoy!

Happy cooking!