Are you sick to death of the same hum-drum side dishes? I don't know about you, but I fall into a repetitious rut of making the same 4 or 5 veggies over and over. Maybe they're tasty but it's boring! After all, variety is the spice of life. If you're feeling this way (or if you're perfectly happy with your veggie preparation but just like the sound of green beans with pecans and maple vinaigrette) then have I got the side dish for you!
The hot beans are coated in a deliciously sweet and spicy dressing topped with the addictive crunch of toasted pecans. I dare you to resist picking out the pecans!!
While the pecans are toasting, you can cut the ends off of the beans. I would highly recommend using fresh string beans here, but in a pinch, I'm sure frozen beans would do well too. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!
While the beans are boiling, you have time to whisk together the vinaigrette, which is nothing more than oil, red wine vinegar, mustard, maple syrup and salt and pepper. The original recipe called for 2 tablespoons of mustard but some of us are not huge mustard fans here, so I cut it down to about 1/2 tablespoon and it was great. If you love mustard, by all means use the 2 tablespoons.
Once the beans are done, you drain them, run them under cold water and then toss them with the vinaigrette and top with the toasted pecans. The crunch of the beans and pecans together coated by the tangy sauce is just different enough to make you really appreciate this side and since the whole thing takes about 10 minutes, you can make it anytime. And everyone gave this the thumbs up, including me (ok, I'll admit it, I'm the non-mustard lover!!)
Green Beans with Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette
Makes 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes (including toasting nuts); Cook Time: 5 minutes
3/4 cup pecans
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoons mustard (you can increase to up to 2 tablespoons if you like it spicier)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 6-8 minutes, tossing once or twice, until nuts look toasted and give off a nutty toasted aroma. Set aside till cool and then chop roughly.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add green beans. Cook until tender about 4-5 minutes. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain again and pat dry with a paper towel.
3. Meanwhile whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add green beans and pecans and toss to coat. Serve immediately.