Today’s harvest: Green beans, Zucchini, Hazelnuts
Italians need to re-discover the love for salad. There is way too much gorgeous produce in this land not to take advantage of it.
Right this moment, this gorgeousness is properly represented by our green bean bushes.
The abundance of green beans in the garden these days is astounding.
Their luscious plants, flecked with tiny lilac-colored, butterfly-like flowers stand in their rows like emerald dressed soldiers, and they grow, they grow, they grow.
Right next to them sits a hazelnut tree, that keeps dropping its fruits on the ground like drops of water. I picked a bucketful, and they practically begged to be paired to their green neighbors.
Though this simple, lovely salad serves as a great accompaniment, I wanted this to be the prelude to a post I’m preparing about building a vegetarian protein dense one-pot salad. With green beans being so rich in protein, they serve as a great base for building a simple but nutritious side which can be eaisly turned into a main course.
Green Beans, Lentil and Hazelnut Salad
400g Green Beans
Another extra vegetable (I used 2 small zucchini, but cherry tomatoes, or mushrooms, would be great too)
1/4 cup lentils
A handful of toasted hazelnuts
A handful raisins
A couple small cloves of garlic
1 tbsp Olive Oil, for stir frying
2 tbsp Herb infused EVOO *
2 tbsp good quality Balsamic Vinegar
A sprinkle of Lemon juice
A pinch of Salt
Make it a one pot meal!
Green beans, Lentil and Millet Lunch Salad
I subbed almond slivers for hazelnuts, and added 1/2 cup raw Millet, and two tablespoons of Chia seeds.
Other great options are: Quinoa, Farro, Black or wild rice or any other whole grain,
Plus a sprinkling of seeds of choice.
- Cook the lentils and the grains you’re using, and toast the hazelnuts by tossing them in a pan that can accommodate them in one layer. Once toasted, rub the skins off with a kitchen towel. Roughly chop them.
- Wash, trim and steam (or boil) the green beans until they get softer, which could be 5 mins or slightly more depending on how much crunch you want. Wash and cut the second vegetable you’re using too.
- Add a glug of olive oil to a pan that can accommodate all the veggies, and lightly stir fry the garlic cloves to infuse the oil, then add the second vegetable with a pinch of salt. Whether it’s zucchini, tomato or mushrooms, They will need to cook (half-covered) for some 10 mins.
- Add the green beans and quickly toss everything in the pan for 2 to 5 more mins, to warm them through. I actually like to leave them in the pan until they get a bit browned.
- Put the lentils and vegetables in a bowl, and whisk together the marinade ingredients. Add the hazelnuts, dress the salad, toss to coat and check for salt.
* HERB INFUSED OIL
Add to a bottle of olive oil (75ml) a sprig of rosemary, a few basil leaves, a sprig of tarragon, 2-3 sage leaves, a sprig of thyme, and other herbs you like. Lightly toast the herbs in a pan before adding them. Let the oil infuse for a week or two, or even three depending on how strong you like it. It is great to dress salads, for marinades and as a bruschetta topping.
Nutrition (per serving, assuming 15 hazelnuts and 15 raisins are used):
– 14g Fiber
Lunch Salad Nutrition (Add Millet and Chia seeds)
– 17g Fiber