They are one of the most accessible and affordable vegetables on the market, and one of the easiest to prepare, but too often they bring to mind the word “meh.”
But green beans can lend themselves to so many different kinds of preparations and seasonings that there are lots of reasons to make the effort to take them to another level. They can be roasted, steamed, boiled and sauteed, or served at room temperature in a salad, as in this recipe.
Here they are paired with bright, tangy clementine oranges and salty feta, then lifted up another notch with minced shallots and fresh thyme leaves.
If you don’t have coarse Dijon you can use regular, though I like the extra texture that the coarse variety gives to the dressing.
The beans can be cooked and tossed with the dressing up to two days ahead, which lets them marinate a bit. Add the oranges and feta just before serving.
All in all, a far cry from “meh.”
GREEN BEAN SALAD WITH CLEMENTINE ORANGES AND FETA
Start to finish: 20 minutes
1 1/2 pounds green beans
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup crumbled feta
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Drop the beans into the water and let them cook for 3 minutes until they start to become tender. Drain the beans in a colander and run cold water over them to stop the cooking, cool them down and preserve the bright green color.
Peel the clementines and cut each segment in half crosswise. Cut the cooled beans in half cross-wise.
In a small bowl or container, combine the olive oil, vinegar, shallots, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. Whisk or shake to combine.
Place the beans and orange segments in a large bowl and drizzle the dressing over them. Toss to combine thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup of the feta and toss again gently to combine, then sprinkle the rest of the feta on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Nutrition information per serving: 166 calories; 93 calories from fat; 10 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 22 mg cholesterol; 337 mg sodium; 14 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 8 g sugar; 6 g protein.
Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at http://www.themom100.com/about-katie-workman/