Thanksgiving Day. Let all give humble, hearty, and sincere thanks, now, but the turkeys.
Mark Twain — Puddn’head Wilson
Once again, Thanksgiving Day is upon us – a most beautiful and anticipated holiday for the Andersen family. We appreciate the opportunity to thank the Lord for our blessings, we relish the menu planning and family time in and around the kitchen, and enjoy trying new variations on classic Thanksgiving dishes. Most years, Thanksgiving dinner includes a fresh green bean dish… no canned green bean casserole with prepared mushroom soup and canned french-fried onions allowed! This dish might be considered either a salad or a vegetable side dish, but the tangy lemon vinaigrette will be a nice counterpoint on a table laden with rich, heavy dishes.
I have hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for the majority of years since I married in 1980. When our sons were little, they used to ask why we couldn’t just have a “normal” Thanksgiving dinner. I’m not certain what their child-like version of “normal” might have been, but as adults, all 4 of them love to be involved in planning and cooking our menu. We do try to balance out the rich dishes with lighter ones like this one. Next week, I will probably include my Spinach Salad With Apples and Vanilla Poppy Seed Dressing as well.
I prefer haricot vert in this dish. Haricot vert is simply French for green beans, and is synonymous with string beans or snap beans. If you can’t find them, substitute the thinnest and youngest green beans you can find. I have a vegetable steamer that I use to steam them. It is easier to avoid overcooking them, and I like the fact that the nutrients are not boiled away in the water. I plump my dried craisins (or cherries) by covering them with boiling water while I make the dressing. I toast the slivered almonds in a dry sauté pan. Haricots Verts With Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette can be served cold or at room temperature, so the preparation timing is flexible. I dress the salad at the last moment to keep the almonds crunchy. You could toss the green beans and craisins with the dressing, store in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, and sprinkle the almonds over the top as you set the table.
A light, healthy green bean dish that provides a lovely counterpoint to the heavy, rich dishes that are typically on your holiday table...
15 minPrep Time
10 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- 2 lbs. haricots verts (French style green beans)*
- sea salt/pepper
- 1/2 cup craisins or dried cherries, covered with boiling water
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 lemons - juiced and zested (about 6 tbsp. of juice)
- 6 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 shallot
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
- ground pepper
Steam green beans for 8-10 minutes until crisp tender. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Taste a bean to check for seasoning.
While green beans steam, add vinaigrette ingredients to the bowl of a personal blender. Pulse until completely smooth. Start with the 1/4 tsp. of salt and a few grinds of pepper, taste it, and add more to taste. Set aside.
Drain the craisins or cherries. Toss with the green beans and vinaigrette to coat. Sprinkle toasted almonds over top.
May be kept in the refrigerator up to 24 hours, but reserve the toasted almonds to add just prior to serving.
* A thin, young green bean.
If preparing in advance, reserve toasted almonds to add just prior to serving.
This dish may be served chilled or at room temperature.