Active time: 25 minutes Total time: 25 minutes
This bright, springy salad is fresh and crunchy and will quickly become your favorite side for roast chicken or a go-to lunch piled on a bed of arugula. Before being added to the salad, the raw green beans get a light smash with a rolling pin. This process softens the beans and breaks them open to fully absorb the tangy citrus dressing. If you can’t find canned or dried white beans, chickpeas also work here, or even fresh shell beans from the farmers market.
RD tip: Serve as a side to your favorite protein source, like grilled fish, chicken or tofu for a complete and filling meal.
Spring Bean Salad With Toasted Fennel Vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
- Kosher salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 (14-ounce/414ml) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 2 cups cooked dried beans (365g)
- 6 ounces (170g) green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 small fennel bulb (100g), very thinly sliced, plus 1/2 cup (7g) reserved fennel fronds
- 2 celery stalks (125g), very thinly sliced on the bias, plus 1/2 cup (7g) light green celery leaves
- 1/2 cup (7g) mint leaves, torn
In a small skillet over moderately-low heat, toast the fennel seeds, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and beginning to brown, 3–5 minutes. Scrape into a mortar and lightly crush with a pestle. Alternatively, you can use a spice grinder.
In a large bowl, whisk the crushed, toasted fennel seeds with the shallot, mustard, lemon zest and lemon juice. While whisking constantly, slowly stream in both oils until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the beans to the dressing and let sit while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Cut the green beans into 2-inch segments and transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin or the bottom of a small saucepan, gently smash the green beans to split the skins and soften the insides without completely pulverizing.
Add the smashed green beans, fennel, fennel fronds, celery, celery leaves and mint to the bowl with the marinated beans. Gently toss and season with salt and several generous grinds of black pepper. Serve immediately.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: About 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 253; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 516mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 11g; Sugar: 4g; Protein 8g