Did anyone else eat a version of green beans with almonds as a kid at just about every "fancy" family meal? My parents served it constantly, always slicked with a generous helping of melted butter. This green bean salad from The French Market Cookbook evokes that dish while adding its own twists. To increase the bulk of the salad, author Clotilde Dusoulier incorporates cooked red rice. Red rice is particularly nutty (and a fun color), so it works in harmony with the almonds themselves. In addition, she adds almond butter to the salad dressing; not only does the butter obviously up the nut factor, but it also acts as an emulsifier, so the dressing becomes luxe and creamy.
Why I picked this recipe: The pairing of green beans and almonds is one of my favorites, so this hearty take on that combo was an obvious choice.
What worked: The supremely nutty red rice was a perfect match for the rich almond butter vinaigrette. Elegant haricots verts brought the easy salad into dinner party territory.
What didn't: If you're fanatic about crisp-tender beans, you'll want to nix the steaming and gentle cooling technique for blanch and shock.
Suggested tweaks: You can substitute any brown or wild rice blend for the red rice. And if you're looking to mix it up with the nuts, hazelnuts and hazelnut butter would be fine alternatives. You could even try making the dish with sunflower seeds (and butter) if you need to go nut-free.
Reprinted with permission from The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen by Clotilde Dusoulier. Copyright 2013. Published by Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.
- Yield:Serves 6
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:20 minutes, plus 30-45 minutes to cook rice
- 2 pounds (900 g) haricots verts or thin green beans, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons all-natural unsweetened almond butter
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups (450 g) cooked red rice or brown rice, cooled (from about 1 cup (200 g) uncooked rice)
- 2/3 cup (85 g) almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 1 cup (20 g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
Set up a steamer. Steam the green beans, tightly covered, until just cooked through but not limp, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool. The beans can be cooked the day before.
In a large salad bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt.
Add the cooked beans and turn them gently in the dressing to coat. Stir in the rice. Taste and adjust the seasoning. The salad may be made a few hours in advance up to this point. Cover and refrigerate.
Just before serving, add the chopped almonds and parsley, sprinkle with black pepper, and toss to combine.