Using up food already in the house is a “mitzvah” (good deed) and a double mitzvah when the food is healthy. My mother taught me the first part and I made up the second because I like to feel virtuous.
This week I couldn’t resist all the beautiful vegetables that show up in farmers markets and stores around here in the summer. As I result, I found myself with green beans and cherry tomatoes on hand and no particular plan for using them. As I thought about what went well with each, I began to imagine them together in a salad.
It’s a marriage made in heaven, all the more so when they are tied together with a fresh herb-based vinaigrette. You can use this versatile vinaigrette salad dressing for other vegetable salads too. I prefer white balsamic in this salad because it has a softer flavor than red balsamic or other red wine vinegar. Sherry vinegar would also work well, as it is similarly light-flavored.
Green Bean-Tomato Herb Salad
Servings – 3-4 as a side dish Cost – Less than $5 total
- 2 cups cooked and chilled green beans
- 1 cup of small cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, cut or pressed to release flavor
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cutting board
- Small knife, preferably with serrated edge for cutting tomatoes
- Medium sized bowl
- Small bowl or jar for making dressing
- Fork for stirring
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup
- Cut off the ends of the green beans, wash them and boil the beans for about 2-3 minutes. Then “shock” them by rinsing the beans in cold water and putting them on ice to stop the cooking process. Here are step-by-step pictures.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes carefully (they are slippery) in half.
- Cut the red onion into thin half moons, then cut into small pieces going in the other direction. Finely cut the chives either with a knife or a clean pair of scissors. You can experiment with different combinations to get the slightly sharp taste that the red onions and chives provide e.g. substitute finely cut scallions, sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla, or shallots for the red onion and/or the chives.
- Take the thyme off the stems by pulling gently on the leaves from the bottom of the stem toward the top. Not all the leaves will come off, but that's fine. Keep in mind that are many different types of thyme, so the specific type(s) you use will affect the overall taste. For the herbs, notice how much more fragrant they are after you cut them. It is tedious to cut thyme leaves, so just pressing them works – the object is to release the flavor. If you want to switch out the thyme, consider using basil or oregano instead.
- Put the herbs in the small bowl or jar.
- Add the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Stir or shake the dressing, pour it over the vegetables, and refrigerate the salad in a covered container for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld together.
Though I was looking forward to eating the last serving, when I looked for it in the refrigerator, the salad was gone. So I'll have to buy more beans and tomatoes so that I can make a new batch soon. In the meantime, I'll go back to searching out ingredients for more experiments in "What's On Hand Cooking."