What happened? It’s already the end of the summer — the time when we often have a lot of vegetables left over from our numerous trips to farmer’s markets, co-ops, and supermarkets. Two vegetables that seem ubiquitous are cucumbers and wax beans. Recently, we faced a conundrum — our refrigerator’s crisper was filled to overflowing with cukes and beans. We’d rather perish than waste food, especially fresh veggies! Fortunately, with very little fuss, we were able to whip up this yummy salad. It requires few ingredients, and is cheap and easy to make. On those muggy summer nights when hot food is unappealing, this dish is a winner.
3/4 cups wax (also known as yellow) beans
1 cucumber, peeled
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2-3 chopped scallions
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (get the kind with the “Mother”)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Make the marinade by combining mustard, turbinado sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Stir vigorously and set aside. Meanwhile, slice the wax beans sideways along the seam, then chop into 3-4 shorter pieces. Lightly steam the beans for 2-3 minutes until they are al dente, but not hard or mushy.
Place the beans into a large bowl. Peel the cucumbers and slice into rounds. Be sure to compost or eat the skin! Chop each round into 3-4 smaller pieces and add to bowl with beans. Toss in the chopped onion, chopped scallions, and marinade. Stir all of the ingredients together and allow them to marinate for 1-2 hours. You can either marinate them on your counter or in the refrigerator, depending upon your preference.
Drain any excess fluid from the salad by placing it into a colander inside your sink. Toss the salad and transfer to a smaller bowl. You can add an endless variety of garnishes for a festive touch –cracked pepper is good, or mint sprigs, diced sage leaves, or fresh, chopped basil, or anything that appeals to you and your guests. Get creative!
This deceptively simple but delicious salad is great as a side dish with a protein-packed, vegan main such as fried tempeh. It’s also delicious with other, more robust sides like gluten-free bread, brown rice, or quinoa. Serves 2-3 people, but feel free to increase the size of the recipe if you have more guests. Gotta use up those beans and cucumbers! You’d better enjoy the waning days of summer, because autumn is just around the corner.