A simple salad of zucchini and green beans spruced up with DIY semi-dried tomatoes. Zucchini-green bean salad gets an even bigger boost from a creamy citrus Tahini dressing that takes this deliciously simple salad to new heights of plant-based, quilt free cuisine.
Are you one of those folks with a mountain of zucchini growing in the backyard? I’ve done it and I swear the stuff magically appeared every morning. It was seriously like the Dave Barry quote: The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini. Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.
Let’s face it. There’s only so much zucchini bread we can handle. Forced cooking creativity. Today, I’m arming you with another alternative.
For those of you not facing the zucchini overproduction dilemma, this recipe is also a great way to take advantage of those seasonal sales at your local market. I sauteed zucchini with sliced red chili for this recipe, but you can always opt for doing an oven roast. Simply line a baking tray with parchment paper and add it to the oven along with the tomatoes.
Besides the zucchini and green beans, this salad gets a special flavor from semi-dried tomatoes. Yes, you can buy these at the supermarket. But if you want to spare the expense and effort of trying to find oil-free ‘sun’ dried tomatoes, choose easy – DIY. Following my tried and true method for oven-dried tomatoes, I simply raised the baking temperature a bit and cut down the time. If you do this first, you’ll have loads of time to prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Zucchini-green bean salad is all about the dressing. To be honest, most salads are all about the dressing. A little Tahini makes a creamy, thick dressing without added oil. Orange juice, along with lemon, creates a sweet, light dressing that compliments our zucchini, green beans, tomatoes and that final toss in of fresh mint.
A word about Tahini
Tarrying down the plant-based path has been a far easier journey than I expected. Sure, there were some trials (giving up cheese, for example). Now that I’ve entered a more ‘advanced’ stage of following this lifestyle, I started to pay far more attention to exactly what’s in those jars of ingredients that are on my ‘approved’ plant-based list.
Just like those sun-dried tomatoes, all Tahini jars are not created equal. Avoid the cheapies folks, read the labels and just have a good look at that jar on the shelf. The amount of added oil can be stunning. Or abandon the idea and just make your own Tahini. It’s just sesame seed paste after all.
When I consider that ‘easy plant-based journey’, I must acknowledge that it hasn’t always been smooth. The easy part is knowing what to eat, leaving all that measuring, counting and approved combining diet stuff behind. I found eliminating all animal products entirely easier than moderating them. That’s just my nature. Besides, I was a bit beat up after decades of failed diets and guilty eating. My new phase of the journey casts a critical eye on plant-based processed foods. The good news is we’re starting to get a lot of new choices. The more challenging news is we need to pay attention to exactly what’s in them. Keep your eye on the prize (and the label). Peace.Print
zucchini-green bean salad with Tahini dressing
Zucchini-green bean salad with creamy citrus-Tahini dressing, DIY semi-dried tomatoes and a splash of fresh mint. Quilt-free deliciousness in every bite!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes (if you make your own semi-dried tomatoes)
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: Plant-based
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (or one jar water packed sun-dried tomatoes)
- 1-2 Tbsp. herbs de province
- 3 zucchini, sliced
- 1 red chili, thinly sliced
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 cups (8 oz./250 gm.) green beans, trimmed and broken into bite sized pieces
- 4 cups spring mix lettuce or lettuce of your choice (you can also use baby spinach)
- ½ cup (about a handful) fresh mint leaves, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp. Tahini
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Juice of ½ orange
- ½ tsp. date paste, agave syrup or another sweetener
- Preheat the oven to 4000F (2000C).
- Rinse and halve the cherry tomatoes. Place them cut side up on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tomatoes with herbs de province and a pinch of salt. Place them in the middle of the oven and allow them to bake and dehydrate for about 45 minutes.
- Next, make the dressing by whisking together the Tahini, garlic, lemon and orange juice and date paste. Add more lemon and/or orange juice if you want it a bit thinner. You’ll want to give it a quick whisk right before dressing the salad.
- Add the zucchini to a medium skillet and sauté it along with the sliced red chili until the zucchini is slightly browned. Toss in the juice of ½ a lemon right before taking it off the stove.
- Steam the green beans for 3-4 minutes. You want them to be tender, but still slightly crisp.
- In a large salad bowl, mix the lettuce, tomatoes, zucchini, green beans and fresh mint.
- Add the dressing right before serving or serve it alongside the salad so individuals can dress their own.
- The cooking time for this recipe, includes making your own semi-dried tomatoes. If you buy them, then your time for this salad is about 20 minutes total. Also, you can prepare the semi-dried tomatoes a few days in advance. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They will keep for 5-6 days.
- Prep time only accounts for the time to prepare the tomatoes for baking as the rest of the prep can be done while they are baking.
- Rather than sauteing the zucchini, you can also bake it along with the tomatoes. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and bake the zucchini for 25 minutes until it starts to brown. The red chili can be added raw or you can heat it by tossing it on the tray with the zucchini for the last 10 minutes.
Keywords: Zucchini-green bean salad