What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.John Steinbeck
Every once in a while there comes along a recipe that no matter what you know you just have to try. For me it was this one, with a picture so breathtaking it jumped off the page as I got home from my recent holiday with a stack of fresh reading from our annual trip to Powell’s in Portland. My monthly subscription to Bon Appetit ran out some time ago, and in an effort to cut back on unnecessary spending this year I’ve been hesitant to renew any of my beloved magazine deliveries. I realize now this is silly, as I read through some of the picks that drew me in this year — I love books and magazines that deliver gorgeous images and inspire me to cook and to create and experiment.
In addition to a few foodie magazines, I finally got my copy of the Tartine Bread book, as this fall is set to be a glorious adventure in culturing and growing my own sourdough starter. Love. I can’t wait for the temperature to settle down so I can settle into the kitchen and focus on this baking project, as I’ve had a life long love affair with good bread. Other than foodie reading, I also just wrapped this easy to read book from vegan ultrarunner Scott Jurek — a worthwhile look into the incredible life of a truly inspiring man. Even if you’ve never run a mile, this book is worth the read and I’ve been loving my lace up sessions (just a little) more of late as I fall back in love with my favourite meditation. Running is so good for the soul, and it will be even more wonderful in the cool fall air after a lunch of homemade bread. Am I right?
Life seems to be settling a little as I allow myself to breathe for the first time in a long while. The hard work is now being countered by some streamlining and balance. I’m finally able to let go a little and slow down. Take a deep breath and really listen to my own words – it’s a good thing.
This recipe is a suggestion based on the original you can find here. The dressing was so intriguing that I just had to try it, a lovely fresh take for any tahini lover. Use any cooked grains that you’ve got on hand and enjoy the fresh veggies that are so abundant right now. Take a deep breath. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Greens Beans & Brussels W/ Minty Tahini Lemon Dressing:
– Adapted from Bon Appetit
- (1/2-1 cup) cup cooked quinoa, rice or bulgur
- (1/2) pound green beans, trimmed
- (15) Brussels sprouts, halved
- (1) cup chopped fresh cherry tomatoes
- (¼) cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- (¼) cup fresh dill sprigs
- (¼) cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves with tender stems
- (¼) cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- (¼) teaspoon red pepper flakes, whole or crushed
Minty Tahini Dressing:
- (6) tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- (4) tablespoons olive oil
- (4) tablespoons tahini
- (1) teaspoon dried mint
- (2) teaspoons pure maple syrup
- (1) tsp salt
- (1) clove garlic, crushed or grated (optional)
This recipe is such a simple one that you could simply take it and run with it any way you like. To me, the real draw is fresh green beans and that dressing. Admittedly full of some lovely ingredients, it’s a lovely twist on the standard tahini lemon dressing.
To make this super easy and to keep the kitchen temperature down, start with some cooked grains like rice, barley, or quinoa (even cooked orzo pasta would work here) and gather all of your veggies. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash, trim, and halve the Brussels sprouts, laying them on a clean sheet of parchment paper on a roasting pan. Coat lightly with olive oil and salt and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes, making sure to jostle them around mid-way through cooking.
While the Brussels sprouts cook, wash & trim the green beans and place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. On high, bring the pan of beans to a boil and cook them at a gentle boil for 4 minutes, no longer (never overcook these beauties they are too gorgeous and should be just bright green and still tender to bite). When ready, drain the beans and allow them to chill in an ice bath. Prepare the dressing in a blender and set aside. Chop the herbs and gather the walnuts.
Cover the cooked grain in a heat proof bowl with foil and place in the oven to warm in the last 8-10 minutes of Brussels sprout cooking time.
When all the ingredients are ready, and the cooked sprouts have cooled just a little, toss everything except the herbs, tomatoes, walnuts & chiles in a large bowl, using only half the dressing to start and adding as you desire. Serve in a bowl garnished with freshly chopped herbs, tomatoes, walnuts & seasoned with red pepper flakes. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, crumble some feta over-top, this dish would be right at home with this addition.