Fruits + veggies = awesome salad. I think Pythagoras came up with that.
I’ve loved green beans (sometimes called string beans) since I was a little kid, especially raw green beans. Some of my happiest memories involve munching on raw green beans while Mom wheeled me around the Stop and Shop in the grocery cart. Canned, salty green beans have their place, but nothing tops the crisp, sweet freshness of a raw green bean. My grandma, however, used to flip out when I ate raw green beans, because apparently someone started a rumor that raw green beans were terrible for you. My aunt informed me that the rumor when she was growing up was that raw green beans gave you worms, and a quick Google search led me to other rumors such as toxicity. Well, I’ve eaten tons of raw green beans in my lifetime and lived to tell the tale; so unless I’m some kind of mutant, I’m thinking this is just a rumor (maybe one started by the Jolly Green Giant company).
Because raw green beans are sweet, I figured they would go great in a salad with fruit, mint, and a sweet dressing. In further pondering, I decided to pair them with raw apricots. Raw apricots, unlike their dried counterparts, have a bit of a sweet/tart flavor, which complements sweet green beans very well.
To start, I chopped up some green beans into small matchstick pieces, as shown below. I also removed the tops and bottoms, which are generally pointy, stringy, and/or stem-y (stem-y is an adjective now) – characteristics I don’t necessarily want in a salad.
I then sliced up two apricots. I used one standard orange apricot, and one red velvet apricot (sometimes called black apricots). The latter is a deep red and tastes kind of like a plum. If you see them at the store, give them a try! I sliced both into large coins and added them to the green beans, along with a carrot, slivered almonds, and spearmint. I happened to have spearmint lying around so that’s what I used; but I’m sure any mint will do. I then whisked together some olive oil and agave nectar to create a light dressing, poured it over the vegetables, and tossed. While allowing this mixture to sit, I tore up some kale and placed it on my plate. I then added the properly-dressed veggies and fruits, seasoned with pink peppercorns, and voila! A refreshing summer salad that’s made with several seasonal ingredients. Enjoy!
Green Bean and Apricot Salad with Mint (Serves 1)
1 cup chopped raw green beans
2 apricots, thinly sliced into coins
1 carrot, cut into coins
2 TB slivered almonds
1-2 TB minced fresh spearmint
1 TB olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar
2 cups torn kale
Pink pepper, to taste
Combine the green beans, apricots, carrot, almonds, and mint in a small bowl. Whisk together the oil and agave until well-blended, then drizzle over the fruits and vegetables, tossing to coat. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Place the torn kale on a plate, then top with the green bean/apricot mixture. Top with fresh pink pepper and extra mint leaves, if desired.