This salad will be sure to light up a crowd. I made sure to make it popping with color and flavor! Try green beans in a new way for your Holiday table! This salad packs a nutritional punch with heart healthy fats from the sunflower seeds and olive oil. The sunflower seeds offer up a good dose of polyunsaturated fats while the olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats. Both of these types of fats are considered heart healthy. Sunflower seeds also provide the nutrients: thiamine, folate, Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, protein and fiber. They are also a good source of Vitamin E, a potent antioxidant.
Pantry Tip: Store your sunflower seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to help preserve the oils and prolong shelf life. Sunflower seeds left out can go rancid very fast.
The harvest season for green beans starts in June and goes until mid-November. So starting in late June you should start to see them appear at your local farmers markets and grocery stores. However, in most grocery stores you can find green beans year round now. Green beans come in a variety of colors (green, yellow, and even purple). Above I picked up some green and yellow (AKA wax beans) at my local farmers market. To preserve their color a quick cook method is best followed by an ice bath to quickly stop any residual cooking. This cooking method will also help preserve Vitamin C in the beans, as heat destroys this nutrient.
To preserve the season’s bounty you can easily freeze green beans to use at a later time when they are out of season. Simply wash and cut green beans into 1 inch pieces, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place green beans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer and once frozen remove and place in a freezer safe container.
Green Bean Salad
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes: 12 Servings
Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 5 min
Total Time 20 min
1 lb Green Beans, cut in bite sized pieces
1 small Red Onion, diced
½ cup Sunflower Seeds, unsalted
1 Cup Feta Cheese
½ Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Red Cabbage, chopped
1 Medium Carrot, shredded
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 tsp Basil (dried or Fresh-chopped)
Pinch of pepper
Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil. Meanwhile prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. Blanch green beans in boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes until crisp/tender. Drain and then immediately transfer the green beans to an ice bath. This will help preserve their bright green color. Once cool, remove from the water and spread over a tea towel to dry. You may need to pat them dry before using.
In a small bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing and set aside.
Dice the onion, chop the cabbage and shred the carrot. Place in a large bowl.
In a medium sauce pan toast the sunflower seeds over medium heat tossing frequently. Cook just until the oils start to come out of the seeds, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer seeds to the bowl with the vegetables. Add the green beans, feta cheese and dressing. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.