There’s a new green bean salad in my dreams lately. Not only does it have green beans, tomatoes and hearty chickpeas, but it’s full of zesty flavour too. And colour … just look at that colour! Wouldn’t it make you happy to have that on your plate?
It’s no secret that my favourite coffee shop is The Black Walnut Bakery Café in Wortley Village. I even wrote about it in my travelogue about the village a few years ago. What may come as a surprise, though, is that my favourite item on their menu these days isn’t a croissant, a scone or a slice of cake (like this one, inspired by them). No, what I’ve been craving there lately is a green bean, tomato and chickpea salad. What can I say? It’s so good and makes for a totally satisfying lunch. After which I buy a scone.
I wanted to come up with a version of this green bean salad that I could make at home, and I must say, the recipe below is pretty true to the dish at the ‘Nut. It’s the kind of recipe that you can throw together in the morning, and then keep in the fridge for a couple of days for quick meals. Unlike my other favourite bean salad, this one has chickpeas and feta cheese, so it’s a source of protein. Then there are the other fun ingredients, like Kalamata olives and diced red onion, and those crunchy, squeaky green beans, of course. There’s lots going on in this dish, even though it’s uncomplicated and fairly quick to throw together.
Colourful with briny, tangy and vegetal flavours and an interplay of textures … what more could you want from a salad?
Green Bean, Tomato & Chickpea Salad
© Marlene Cornelis, Urban Cottage Life.com 2017
This green bean salad is great for summer. Make it in the morning before it gets too hot out, then refrigerate it and you can dine cool and comfortable later in the day. That said, I’d make this one any time of year. Thanks to the Black Walnut Bakery Café in Wortley Village, London, Ontario for the salad that inspired this one!
You’ll notice the directions call for adding the balsamic vinegar in stages — I’ve found this vinegar comes in a range of intensities. Unfortunately, I’m out of my favourite, which is sticky, sweet and very tangy; the one I had on hand isn’t as assertive and I needed more.
- 1/2 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
- about 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 can (19 oz/540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup diced red onion
- 2 large plum tomatoes, chopped
- about 12 Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
- 100 g feta cheese, cubed
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full of water and bring to a rolling boil. Add the 1/2 tsp salt (the water will roil up), then the prepared green beans. Cover and cook the beans for about 4 1/2 minutes for a tender crisp result, during which time the water will return to a boil. Ready a large bowl of ice water and have on standby next to the stove. Once the beans are done to your liking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them from the pot to the bowl of ice water. As soon as they’re cool, drain the beans in a colander (I scoop out any remaining ice first), shake off as much water as you can and then spread them on a clean tea towel and roll up to dry further.
Tumble the chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, olives and cheese into a large bowl (make sure it’s big enough to stir and toss the entire salad). Add the beans, and dress with the olive oil, one tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar, and the oregano, pepper and salt. Toss well, and taste. Add additional balsamic vinegar and seasonings to taste.
You can eat this right away, but it’s even better after a few hours in the refrigerator or the next day, as the additional time gives the flavours a chance to meld and further develop.