Bean there, done that


Let’s talk about lunch for a minute. For me, it’s usually leftovers, but this time of year I don’t generate many, so I’ve had to get creative and plan ahead a bit.

And so it was that when I got home from work yesterday, literally minutes before the sky opened up, I got to work on last night’s dinner and today’s lunch. We had beans aplenty in the fridge from our weekend marketing, and since this week’s Summer Fest is all about beans and greens, a fresh bean salad was in order.


I got a big pot of salted water going on the stove to both blanch the beans for my salad and boil the pasta for dinner, then sat with a cocktail and started shelling a bunch of fresh cranberry beans. I ended up with about a cup of shelled beans, so I decided to use an equal amount of each of the other beans I had on hand for the salad. I trimmed and cut green and yellow wax beans and Romano beans into 1(ish)-inch lengths, popped them into my boiling water for a minute or two, moved them to an ice bath to cool, then set them aside on a towel to dry.

blanched beans

I cooked the cranberry beans with a little bit of water, olive oil, a smashed garlic clove and a crumbled chile de arbol until they were tender, adding a bit of salt to finish them before moving them with a slotted spoon to a big mixing bowl. When the cranberry beans had cooled to about room temp, I added my blanched and cooled string beans, some thin slices of Purplette onion, and some diced fresh tomato. I wanted a really vibrant dressing for this bean salad, so I whizzed up lots of big fresh basil leaves in the mini chopper with sea salt, the juice from one big lemon and some extra virgin olive oil, then I poured it over the bean salad, tossing it well.

4 bean salad with lemon basil dressing

I’m eating this as I type, and I am loving the interplay of the crunchy string beans and creamy cranberry beans with the bright flavors of tomato, lemon and basil. This is definitely not your mama’s bland bean salad.

10 thoughts on “Bean there, done that

  1. Bean salads have such a bad connotation, from the oily messes my parents and their friends brought to potlucks when I was a kid. But this is definitely not my mother’s bean salad — the colors and textures are glorious!

  2. Camille says:

    I love beans of all kinds, especially fresh cooked but for the most part shy away from bean salads & not because of my Mother’s. They are usually swimming in a dressing that overpowers the wonderful flavours of the beans & the texture is often bordering on mushy…gag! This salad however, looks & sounds divine…no surprise coming from your kitchen! I will definitely give this a try…thank you!

  3. Wow – this looks amazing. Definitely not my mom’s bean salad but so summery and fresh. A beautiful way to display the best of summer 🙂

  4. This sounds lovely and just the sort of thing Stephen would love for lunch. We’re finding the same problem with the lack of leftovers at this time of year, this does indeed sound perfect.

  5. What a wonderful combination of the lemon and basil with the various beans … I may have to pick up some beans at the market this weekend!

  6. I really love green bean salads; sadly, I’m the only one in the house with such an affinity. I am usually pretty heavy handed with the rice wine vinegar, but now am dying to try your version with basil and lemon. Maybe this is the perfect dish for my Saturday night hockey widow meal.

  7. Jennifer Hess says:

    Hi Ina – thanks and welcome!

    Lydia – thank you! I’ve had plenty of bad bean salads, but more good ones. Hopefully this can change some people’s minds 🙂

    Camille – thank you! The lemon keeps it fresh and light, I think.

    Ashley – Thanks!

    Kerri – I can vouch for the fact that it traveled well, and was even better the second day!

    Jennifer – Thanks! I love beans this time of year – can’t get enough of all of the beautiful varieties and colors.

    Elizabeth – oooh, rice wine vinegar sounds great in a bean salad. Yet another reason I need to add a bottle to my collection of vinegars. 🙂

    Julia – So true!

  8. Nik says:

    I dont usually like salads, but I used yours and made a delicious one with pink lady peas, fresh green beans from my CSA, and french white beans (cooked with garlic, serrano chilis and bay leaves). Loads of lemon and basil made the dish. Thanks!

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