Full of vibrant colors, light yet satisfying Bean Salad with Pesto Dressing will not fail to satisfy you with its crunch and intriguing taste.
Ever since I was a kid, beans or any other members of legume family where not high on my ‘like to eat” foods. Lucky for me, I was never pressured to eat them. You see, as a child I had this weird allergy to beans, so my Mom let me pass them at a dinner table.
With time I outgrew the allergy. And then I went bonkers – soups, savory dishes, you name it, all had to have dried beans! However, one thing that I still approached with a little caution was fresh beans. During my recent trip to Whole Foods market I saw fresh green beans on display, smack in the middle of the produce isle. They looked so fresh and appetizing that I simply could not ignore them, especially after surviving the entire winter on nothing more (well, almost) than meat 🙂 Plus, they follow the latest food fashion demands – very high protein and low carb fashion.
Since I was not green bean aficionado before, I had no stash of recipes inside my head. Time to hit my culinary library.
I am told time after time to try the recipe first before changing it. Sometimes I listen, and sometimes I don’t. This time I didn’t. And, oh boy, neither I nor anyone else was sorry.
Bean Salad with Pesto Dressing is an adaptation from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem. It has two main ingredients – beans and bell peppers. You can use only green beans, or the mixture of green and yellow (as I did), depending on what’s available. The rest of ingredients are the trimmings. But it’s those trimmings that let the beans shine. Green onions, garlic, and last but not the least, pesto.
- you can either boil or steam beans. This will allow them to retain most of the vitamin and mineral content. It takes a little bit longer for the beans to cook while steaming.
- both bamboo steamer or stainless steel one are fine for the job.
- 1 pound (453 g) green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 red bell peppers cut into ½-inch (5 mm) wide and 3-4 inch (7-9 cm) long strips
- 1 small sweet onion (such as Vidalia), sliced thinly in ½-inch circles
- 1 tablespoon pesto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted
- Steam beans over salted water for 15-17 minutes or until they are cooked but still crunchy.
- While beans are steaming, fill a large bowl with mixture of cold water and lots of ice. Once beans are cooked, plunge them immediately into the ice bath (to stop cooking process).
- Drain beans in a colander. Pat dry with paper towels and transfer into a large bowl. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add peppers and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from the heat and add to the beans.
- Add sliced onion to the bowl.
- In a small bowl combine pesto, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Add minced garlic and sesame seeds. Mix to incorporate. Pour the dressing over bean salad. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings.