First things first, my book is now available from Amazon.com! Thanks for your patience as I worked out the kinks this week. Head on over and order your copy. And once you have your book, I’d love for you to leave an honest review with your thoughts and comments. Happy reading!
Now, onto the recipe…
Green beans are a summer staple for me. Steamed or roasted, they’re an easy side dish to serve with burgers or grilled chicken. Blanched and cold-shocked in a bowl of ice water, you can also freeze them to keep on hand for winter stews and casseroles.
With the warm weather waning, at least here in Wisconsin, I’ve been dressing up snappy green beans with more autumnal flavors lately. My homemade mustard adds delicious kick to this simple side dish. Raisins provide sweetness while pecans deliver buttery crunch. No need to serve this dish piping hot, either. It’s great room temp or even chilled.
When I’m constructing salad dressings, I like to keep a few flavor factors in mind:
- Tangy: Add vinegar or another acid (citrus juice, for example) to dressings to give them some bite and zest.
- Sweet: Balance out that tang with just a splash of something sweet like maple syrup, agave nectar, or even stevia.
- Creamy: Adding mustard to dressings helps to emulsify the oil and vinegar together and give your salad an underlying creamy flavor. A small scoop of avocado flesh, nut butter, or mayonaisse will do the same thing.
- Salty: Every good dressing needs a bit of seasoning to make the flavors pop. A pinch of sea salt works wonders.
This mustardy dressing works well with just about any steamed or blanched vegetable. Rich with the tang of mustard and the sweetness of maple syrup, it really does taste like autumn on a plate.
Here are a few more of my favorite side dish recipes:
- Celery Root Salad with Apples & Fennel
- Cabbage & Apple Slaw with Tahini Dressing
- Brown Rice Waldorf Salad
As we head into a new season, what are your favorite fall side dishes? Share in the comments.
Mustardy Green Beans with Raisins & Pecans
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon dark maple syrup or agave nectar
¼ cup pecans, chopped
¼ cup raisins
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring 1 inch of water to boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the green beans, cover, and steam over medium-high heat until just tender to bite, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, and agave nectar. Pour the dressing over the beans and toss to coat. Stir in the pecans and raisins. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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