I love a good ol’ fashioned green bean. Whether steam them or bake them into a casserole, green beans have always been a favorite around my household.
I remember my mom would come home from work with boxes of canned corn and you guessed it, green beans. The rural folk she worked with would sell their produce at her warehouse and she bought cases from them every year. They were convenient when we needed an easy side dish.
Although my mom doesn’t do a lot of culinary exploring – I finally introduced her to orzo this last Christmas – I believe she would enjoy this salad.
Sometimes it’s hard to come up with new ways to serve vegetables. This recipe from Family Fresh Cooking is a new favorite for green beans. The toasty walnuts and cheesy crumbles really compliment the green beans while the quinoa fills the tummy. Plus as an added bonus, this salad tastes great cold or warm.
1 cup dry Quinoa (any type), prepared to package directions
1 pound fresh Green Beans, washed with trimmed ends
a few pinches of fine Sea Salt
1/4 cup toasted unsalted Walnuts, plus extra for topping
drizzle of Walnut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil
a few ounces of crumbled Blue Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. You can use a toaster oven for this small of an amount. Toast the dry nuts for about 10 minutes until slightly browned and fragrant.
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with cold water. Add a few pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Prepare an ice bath full of water to dunk beans in when they have finished cooking. This will set the color and keep them crisp.
Add the beans to the water and make sure they are fully submerged, add some more warm water if needed. Boil beans over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. They should be bright green and tender enough to be speared with a fork. Taste test to be sure 🙂
Drain beans in a colander and immediately put them into the ice bath. Swish them around in the bath until cool. Remove and dry on a paper towl.
Chop beans into little bite sized pieces. Toss with oil and nuts and some blue cheese. Add the quinoa and toss to combine. Top each serving with extra nuts and cheese. Serve at any temperature.
Folks, you are in for a very special treat today. You are witnessing a part of Foodie McBooty history — a huge milestone in the cooking life of Foodie McBooty: I just bought my first basil plant! Before this, I have never attempted growing an herb garden — in fear of my cat eating more of the plant than I actually would.
(*Jaws Theme Plays* AHHHHHH!!!!)
But I couldn’t resist the sweet smell of fresh basil and gave in.
So what’s a girl to do now that she has her own basil plant? I ripped off as many leaves as possible and made fresh basil pesto! I think I left enough plant for the little guy to survive. I think…
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, etc... *see note)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the nuts and pulse a couple more times. Add part of the olive oil and process for a few seconds. Repeat this step until all of the olive oil is used and your ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add the cheeses. Pulse until just combined.
Pesto freezes really nicely. Pop any extra you may have into a freezer bag or small container for future use.
Also, experiment with using different nuts in your pesto. Each provide a slightly different flavor and you might find a new favorite. I've heard toasted macadamia nuts are pretty good. Haven't tried it myself yet.