I like to eat salads. I must have one serving every day. Aside from being crunchy, they are very inviting because of their bright and fresh color, and man, are they cool (said like a 70s hippie expression). Of course, they immediately qualify as healthy because of vegetable, fruit, nuts and other ingredients.
Salads are good as a meal starter, as a side dish to balance the overwhelming taste of a main dish or to compliment it. Some folks eat salad as a meal in itself, or to snack on, especially those on a diet. If you feel like eating and you have a salad, what can be wrong with that?
French Bean Nicoise Salad with Grilled Eggplant is one such salad as described above. Nicoise salad originated from Nice, the French city on the Riviera. According to famous English cook, Delia Smith, it is “one of the best combinations of salad ingredients ever invented”. British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay says, “it must be the finest summer salad of all.” (from a BBC feature). Nicoise salad is traditionally made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, anchovies, and dressed with olive oil. Since its introduction to the world, ingredients have been added or substituted depending of the preference of the one who’s preparing it. Ours is amended to make it an authentically vegan Nicoise salad.
Also read: Quinoa Salad with Eggplant
Instead of tuna, our recipe uses grilled sweet potato rubbed with our special dressing which uses blitzed capers instead of the more common anchovies for that salty, savory flavor.
Well, in terms of healthy nutrients, each one of the ingredients is rich in vitamins and minerals. Getting this salad ready should not take more than 20 minutes. So there’s no reason not to get started with your salad meal, meal starter, side dish, or snack, isn’t it?
- 350 g mixed green and yellow beans
- ½ baguette
- 12 black olives , (stone in)
- 3 ripe mixed-colour tomatoes
- 1 romaine lettuce
- 20 blanched almonds, soaked
- 1 lemon
- 1 big bunch fresh basil
- 2 tbsp CAPERS
- 14 blanched almonds, soaked
- 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large (2medium) sweet potato , cut into 2.5cm thick
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Line the beans up and cut off the stalks, put them into the pan with a pinch of salt, then cover with boiling water and the lid
- Slice the baguette into 2cm chunks and put on the griddle pan, turning when golden
- Pick and reserve 10 baby sprigs of basil
- Rip off the rest of the leaves and blitz them in the liquidizer with the anchovies (capers), juice of 1 lemon, the extra virgin olive oil and a splash of water.
- Pour about 40% of the dressing on to a nice serving platter and put aside
- Rub 10% into the chopped sweet potato and season with salt and pepper
- Pour the rest of the dressing into a big bowl with the vinegar, mustard and honey, then mix together
- Drain the cooked beans, remove the stones from the olives, roughly chop the tomatoes, then add it all to the bowl of dressing and toss together
- Spread the sweet potatoes on lined baking tray and grill for 15-20 minutes until golden
- Chop the lettuce into 2cm chunks, tear the toasts into croutons and arrange over a large board with the lettuce
- Scatter the dressed beans, olives and tomatoes over the top
- Tear each tuna steak in half and add to the dressing platter
- Scatter over the reserved basil leaves, crumble over the feta and serve with lemon wedges
Feel like you’re in the sunny city of Nice in Provence on the French Riviera. Imagine the warmth of the Côte d’Azur. Then have a crunchy, sumptuous and cool French Bean Nicoise Salad with Grilled Eggplant. Betcha, it’s gonna be a heaven of a day!
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