Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Italian Green Bean Salad and a Basil Plant

This salad reminded me of my trip to Italy. The fresh basil, garlic and tomatoes just hit the spot. Plus, I served it in the bowl I brought back from the Amalfi Coast. So, I guess you can say that I'm feeling a little nostalgic for Italy. Isn't my bowl just gorgeous?
We have added a new plant to our houseplant collection. Meet my beautiful basil plant! I've become very sad over the fact that I have no backyard to have my own garden. You see, we live in an apartment (a very cute one I might add), but we have a nonexistent backyard. Ok, it actually looks like a jungle because our landlord doesn't take care of it at all.  But we have awesome window sills and copious amount of natural sunlight streaming in at all hours of the day, so it's perfect for potted plants. I just love my basil plant. It makes me happy. And it reminds me of Italy. Go figure.
This salad isn't completely raw. I made it last week before I started by raw food experiment. But it can be made raw (just don't blanch the green beans) and be just as good. You can literally throw it together in no time at all and it pairs really well with anything Italian themed. I happened to serve it alongside some whole spelt pasta tossed with farmers market broccoli rabe, olives, garlic, and olive oil. It was perfect.

Italian Green Bean Salad

3 handfuls of fresh green beans, stems removed and cut in 2-inch pieces
3 or 4 fresh Roma tomatoes, cut into wedges, seeds removed if you'd like
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
10 fresh basil leaves, either chopped or left whole
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, while the water is coming to a boil, have a large bowl of cold water with ice cubes in it ready. When the water in the pot comes to a boil, add the green beans and let "cook" for about 30 seconds to a minute, or until they're super bright green. Then, quickly drain the beans in a colander and add them directly to the bowl of ice water to "shock" them and lock in their color. Let them sit in the cold water for at least 3 minutes and then drain them.

2. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained green beans, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. In a small bowl, wisk together the vinegar and oil and then add this to the vegetables. Season with sea salt and pepper or more vinegar to taste. Toss and serve. For best flavor, let marinate for at least an hour before tossing again and serving.




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