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This salad is cheesy, crunchy, toasty and just slightly sweet. The shaved Parmesan adds so much more flavor than the pre-grated stuff ever could. If you can find young green beans––the small, thin, more delicate ones––it will be even tastier. If you’re vegetarian, look for a Parmesan-style cheese with a microbial rennet (Bel Gioioso makes one).
Cut the green beans into pieces about 4 inches long (if you’re using small young beans, no need to cut them). Put the beans into a pan along with 1/2 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pan. Turn the heat to medium and let the beans steam for about 5 minutes till tender-crisp. Smaller, younger beans will take less time to steam so check them after 2-3 minutes. Drain the green beans and transfer them immediately to a bowl of ice water. Leave them there to cool.
Put the chopped walnuts into a skillet over medium heat. Let the walnuts toast for a few minutes, stirring frequently, till the nuts are fragrant. Don’t let them toast too long or the skin will burn and the walnuts will taste bitter. When they’re nicely toasted, remove from heat and pour them immediately into a bowl.
Drain the green beans and pat them dry with paper towels. Put them into a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Pour the dressing over the green beans and toss to coat. Add the chopped mint and walnuts to the green beans and toss to coat. Taste the salad. Season with salt and white pepper to taste, if desired.
Shave the Parmesan cheese with a grater. Break apart the shavings into small pieces. Sprinkle the shaved Parmesan over the salad. Serve.
I promise you that this salad is as delicious as it is strange—and that’s saying a lot because it sounds pretty strange. The berries provide a bit of sweet/tart flavor, the beans make it hearty, walnut adds a bit of umami, and the onion adds a savory touch. Somehow it just works. Like magic.
Nancy is the Coupon Clipping Cook, which means she not only has an astounding number of recipes to share with us (her TK recipe box is busting at the seams!) but she's also got loads of money-saving tips in her blog (she worked at a grocery store for a number of years, so she knows her stuff). She has some pretty amazing creations, like Roasted Garlic Potato Soup and Nutty Coconut Chicken. Go check them out!
Heather is a Texas native and the blogger behind Heather's Dish. She's mom to Weston, wife to Nate, and they live in Little Rock, Arkansas with their two "stubborn and saucy" dogs Bunker and Keira. In her blog, she shares her photographs, random musings (serious and silly alike), and all kinds of scrumptious recipes---and not just evil variations of her favorite mac and cheese. Her enviable TK recipe box is a testament to that. Go see for yourself!