get fresh + festive – with this perfect summertime salad
If all goes according to plan, the summer season fills our days with warm days, blue skies, sunshine, friends, playtime, picnics and parties. Being in Chicago, I haven’t been able to enjoy much of the first items I mentioned (yet!) but hopefully you have had a chance to spend late nights and long weekends with your nearest and dearest.
It goes without saying that a packed social schedule usually involves food in one form or another. Whether you’re a host or attendee – you need a simple, fresh dish that’s simple, fresh and festive. Here’s my favorite make ahead summer salad that is vibrant, colorful + packed with flavor. The best part? No need to sweat and slave away in the kitchen! The ingredients all keep pretty well in the fridge, so you can buy ahead of time and put it together when you have a chance. Ideally, make it a day ahead of time, and let the dressing flavor the vegetables. Toss before serving.
Green Bean Salad with Crispy Cauliflower + Tomato
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil (+ more for dressing)
1 pound green beans, trimmed (I used haircots verts)
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 scallions, chopped (white and pale green parts)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ cup olive oil
sea salt + fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cauliflower on pan, and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until cauliflower is tender and caramelized.
Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan to a boil. Add green beans and ‘shock’ for 2-3 minutes. Remove quickly (and carefully!) from pan, and run until very cold water to stop the cooking process. This will make sure your beans are bright green and crisp. I like to dry them by placing on a clean dish towel. This will make sure the dressing sticks.
You can also prepare the dressing while the cauliflower cooks. Juice lemon in a small bowl, and add minced garlic, mustard, and a pinch of salt. Gently whisk to combine. Stream in olive oil and whisk.
Add your cooked beans, cauliflower, halved tomatoes, and chopped scallions to a large bowl. Season a bit with salt + pepper. Pour your freshly made dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat. Ideally, let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can also make a day ahead of time.
*Add olives and/or capers.
*Add a handful of your favorite fresh herb: basil, parsley, dill, tarragon, etc
*Add feta, goat cheese, or shaved parmesan
*Add a kick with chopped fresno chilis, serrano or crushed red pepper flakes
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