I like the challenge of cooking with what I have on hand. It always surprises me when I look in the refrigerator and think there's nothing to eat, and then start pulling things out, and suddenly, there's a plan, and then a meal. When we were gifted with a big bag of fresh green beans from our friends' garden, I had no plans for dinner, and no real idea of what to do with the beans. A bag o' beans on its own isn't really a meal, and I didn't want to make Dream Beans again, since I'd done that with the previous batch. So I just jumped in and started cleaning the beans, snapping the ends and pulling off strings. All alone in the kitchen, this kind of work can be sort of a meditation, and I find that when I do that and open the space, something delicious is likely to come through. Sure enough, my mind flashed on that marinated 3-bean salad Mom used to buy in a jar. I was off and running.
I only had 2 kinds of beans - the greenies, and a batch of chickpeas I'd just cooked the day before. So, starting from there, I added a few more things from the seemingly "empty" fridge, and a beautiful salad was born. Here are the basics. Amounts are up to you. This made a nice big bowlful - I'd say about 8-10 cups. After I got it all put together, I thought to measure the marinade ingredients, just in case it came out good. It did!
Fresh Green Bean Salad
fresh green beans, cut into bite sized pieces, and blanched for 3 minutes
thinly sliced onion
kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
2 T juice from the kalamata olive jar
3 T juice from the pepperoncini jar
minced garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh oregano
Mix everything together in a bowl with a snap-on lid if you have one, so you can turn it upside down every so often to move the marinade around. Otherwise, just stir it when you think of it. Make this in the morning and let it soak until dinner time at least. I served it on a hot summer night with cold leftovers from the fridge (which I'm now convinced will never be empty). Quinoa, hummus, and a little green salad with a creamy "cheese" dressing rounded out a nice palate of flavors, so good, we might just have it all again tonight.