As I have mentioned many times before, we make sure there are prepared foods stocked in our refrigerator, since there are scarce convenience foods that fit our sugar free, grain free eating habits. We prepare boiled eggs, bite-sized raw vegetables, cured meats and salads of all kinds. Making salads out of staples is an easy way to keep the fridge full, like Dilly Egg Salad, Tuna Salad Saute, Don’t Have To Choose Salad, Antipasto Salad or my recently shared Cucumber Salad.
Due to the freakishly mild winter in our current climes there are already fresh green beans available, so I grabbed some and brought them together with some other ingredients for a marinated salad. The thing I like most about marinated salads is that they get better every day they sit. On day four after making this salad the acids in the dressing may have made the green beans a little less bright, but the beans also soaked up all the flavors, including the tang of the red onion, and a serving of it tastes heavenly.
I encourage you to experiment with other salad fixings too! I’ve made similar salads using slender asparagus instead of green beans, Greek olives instead of black, mushrooms along with tomatoes, and even thrown in some chopped up ham or salami. Noticing a variation on a theme? The thing I have learned making cold salads over the years is that two cups of dressing seems to be just right to coat 9-10 cups of salad, which is the case here.
Have fun in your kitchen and enjoy the bright, healthy produce of spring!
Cold Green Bean Salad
2 pounds fresh green beans
2 cups grape or small cherry tomatoes
1/4 large red onion
2 cups large black olives, drained
2 cups vinaigrette dressing (I suggest my Herby Dressing or Greek Dressing)
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes (optional)
Make your vinaigrette dressing of choice, if not already made or using store bought. Set aside.
Remove ends from green beans and slice them into bite sized pieces, about one inch. In a medium pot with steamer insert bring one inch of salty water to a boil. Add beans to steamer and lightly steam about five minutes, with the intention to soften them but retain their bright green color. Remove beans from pot, set them aside to cool and prepare remaining ingredients.
Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place in bowl. Finely chop red onion and place in bowl. Slice black olives in half horizontally and place in bowl. Add green beans. If including red pepper flakes add them now.
Pour dressing over salad ingredients. Gently toss salad until well coated. Cover bowl and chill for at least four hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator and toss salad again, then taste and add salt and pepper to enhance dressing flavor (need will vary depending on dressing used). Toss one more time to incorporate salt and pepper, then serve.