Memorial Day weekend is just a few weeks away! John and I recently received a couple of invitations for Memorial Day “covered dish” picnics, which got me thinking about what to bring. What makes a good potluck dish? A few things. It must be easy to transport and fairly easy to serve. And it should hold up well over a period of time (no soggy lettuce, please). With these factors in mind . . . break out the Green Bean Salad! In addition to being super easy to pack up and dole out, it’s also wonderfully colorful.
For this salad, I use fresh haricots verts (French green beans) or haricots beurre (French yellow beans). But don’t be deceived by the fancy name: This simple salad is anything but pretentious. Just steam the beans, add some cherry tomatoes, and toss everything with a punchy vinaigrette. And, if you have other ingredients on hand, get creative! Try adding canned garbanzo beans, cubed fresh mozzarella, sliced avocado, or torn basil leaves!
Also, if you can’t find haricots verts, traditional green beans (fresh, not frozen or canned, of course) will work just as well. Whichever variety you choose, green beans are low in calories and loaded with good stuff . . . stuff like vitamin K, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, potassium, folate, and iron. So feel good about what your eating when you serve this salad!
Easy, Breezy Green Bean Salad
Serves 4 (double or triple for Memorial Day picnics!)
½ lb. fresh haricots verts (green beans) or hericots beurre (yellow beans), trimmed
10 to 15 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
2 shallots, minced (about ¼ cup)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Microwave: Place beans in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, sealing tightly around the edges. Using a sharp knife, poke about 10 slits in the plastic wrap to let steam escape. Microwave on high for 2 ½ to 3 minutes, or until desired tenderness.
Stovetop: Place a steamer basket in a medium pot. Add enough water so that it just reaches the bottom of the steamer basket. Place the green beans in the basket. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce to low. Cover and simmer until beans reach desired tenderness, about 10-12 minutes.
Transfer beans to a serving bowl. Add cherry tomatoes; set aside.
In small bowl, whisk together shallots, oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Let flavors marinate for about 10 minutes. Whisk again and pour over green bean salad. Toss to coat. Serve room temperature.
- If you don’t have the fancy beans, use regular green beans.
- Add ½ cup canned garbanzo beans, drained and warmed.
- Add ½ cup frozen shelled edamame, defrosted and warmed.
- Add 5 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed.
- Add 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.
- Add 1 firm-ripe avocado, cubed.
- Add 5 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces.