We have had beautiful warm weather all the way into mid-October, allowing our summer vegetables to have a second season of beautiful fall produce. The pole beans are doing especially well this year with abundant harvests weekly.
As you can see from the photo, the children have been having a blast hiding in the bean teepees as they harvest! Their favorite way to eat beans is right off the plant and into their mouths😋. The best way to get children to eat vegetables is to involve them in growing some! I’m still amazed at what these kids will try, if they have helped grow it.
While I also love fresh picked veggies “au naturel”, it is nice to have some recipes for cooked veggies, especially for a nice dinner. Here is a very simple and delicious way to serve fresh beans and with the holidays coming up this would be a very healthy substitute to that “bean casserole with canned mushroom soup” that often turns up at those meals!
Fresh Bean Salad Recipe (serves 4-8, depending on how many lbs of beans you use)
- 1 – 2 lbs fresh beans
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 TBSP Dijon mustard
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 1 cup sliced, toasted almonds (garnish)
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (optional)
- several sprigs of fresh dill, finely chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)
- Wash & trim off stem end of beans, if they have a string pull that off, too. For really long beans cut to size of your other beans, if you want.
- Fill a large pot halfway with water & bring to a boil. When the water is boiling add all the beans & cook for about 2-4 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your beans.
- Quickly drain the hot water & put all the beans into a large bowl of ice water. All the beans should be covered. Let sit at least 10 minutes to stop beans from further cooking.
- Drain beans in a colander and pat dry with a clean cloth.
- Spread sliced almonds on a large baking sheet, spread in a single layer & toast at 375 until they JUST begin to brown, 3-5 minutes, at most. Remove from oven immediately & pour them into a bowl or onto a plate. DO NOT try to do something else while toasting the almonds! They will go from golden brown to burnt in seconds (I know this from experience)!
- OPTIONAL: To take this dish to the next level (like a holiday meal) you can make Fried Shallot Crisps as a topping, instead of the almonds; or make both & let people choose their topping👍.
For the Vinaigrette Dressing:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, minced garlic and lemon zest and fresh dill, if you are using it.
- Place beans in a big serving bowl, pour vinaigrette over the top & toss gently to thoroughly mix. You can serve this at room temperature or chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight. Sprinkle with chili pepper flakes if you like a bit of a kick.
- Serve with small bowls of toasted almonds and Fried Shallots as garnishes. So yummy … and much healthier and tasty than Bean Casserole with those canned fried onions!! (At least in my opinion). 😋
Fried Shallot Crisps:
- Thinly slice one large Shallot, separate slices.
Add 2 TBSP olive oil to large frying pan & heat until a slice of Shallot sizzles when Place in pan.
- Fill pan with a single layer of shallots & fry them,
turning over once until they are brown & beginning to crisp. Place them on a baking sheet covered with paper towels to drain as they crisp up. It’s better to do them in batches so you can remove them quickly when they are ready. They also go from crisp to blackened quickly, so it’s better to give yourself some time to do this right!
You can fry the shallots ahead of time & keep them in an UNCOVERED bowl for a few hours. If you cover them they sometimes soften.
This may seem rather time consuming but topping this bean dish with those crispy shallots at the last minutes is so worth the effort. 😋