I love, LOVE green beans. I almost always buy the pre-washed bagged ones, and I rarely even take the time to steam or sauté them. I just open the bag and dip them in hummus or homemade ranch (yes it’s possible to make healthy and delicious ranch dressing), or snack on them while I’m grilling or waiting for some other dish to finish up baking in the oven.
So I’m particularly excited to share this colorful and crunchalicious veggie side. Yes, crunchalicious! So crunchy and delicious that you’ll completely disregard the label “side” dish, and make this your main source of fuel until it disappears from the fridge.
And you know how Sarah always says, “Bacon makes everything better“? Well, maybe she’s not alone in that sentiment. Maybe almost the entire world feels that way…but she does say it a lot. Yep, well she totally dug this dish ’cause it was covered with pig meat.
Ok. A few notes on getting the best results from this dish:
1. Do not, under any circumstances, over-cook your veggies. Give them 3 minutes TOPS in the boiling water. Probably more like 2 minutes. Also, immediately after their short boil, give them an ice-water bath. It stops the cooking process and keeps them crisp.
2. I know you want pretty bacon. I’ve always wanted it, too, but mine curls up like a little piggy tail and I’ve never known why. Sarah (let’s just call her the bacon expert from now on) told me that if you start your bacon in a cold pan and let the bacon heat up with the pan, it’ll keep it from curling up.
And voila! We had really beautiful bacon that was crisp and easy to crumble.
3. Don’t over-toast your nuts. *tee-hee!* ‘Nuff said.
Want a full dinner instead of just a crunchalicious side? We served it up with some moistilicious (hmmm, doesn’t sound as good, does it?) chicken and I’ve got a secret trick to share with you!
I use my leftover pickle juice for the best grilled chicken ever.
It’s so easy to do! After I use up all my pickles (I usually go through one jar per week), I add 2 large chicken breasts to the pickle juice that’s left IN THE JAR. It’s so simple. I just leave it in the fridge overnight. The next day, I pull the chicken out of the jar and toss it on the George Foreman grill for 8-10 minutes. It’s the fastest jar-to-mouth chicken action you can imagine.
You will have the juiciest, most flavorful chicken breasts with nearly zero effort. And your pickle juice didn’t go to waste either. AND you can eat them right next to these most awesome Warm Green Beans With Bacon Vinaigrette.
Or, if you for some inexplicable reason you don’t like pickles, or chicken, this Green Bean Glory goes great with anything from lean beef to fish. Just don’t expect me to save any pig meat for you.
- 12 oz washed green beans, cut into inch pieces
- 12 mini sweet peppers, orange, red, & yellow sliced into ¼ inch rounds
- approx. 30 cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp. of toasted lightly crushed walnuts
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled + 1-1/2 tbsp. of bacon grease
- 3 tbsp. stone ground mustard
- ¼ cup of Golden Balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- Cut green beans and peppers and place in a pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, blanching lightly. Remove from heat, strain and add to a cold water ice bath (a pot of ice water) to stop cooking and keep the vegetables crisp and bright.
- Add your walnuts to a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
- While toasting walnuts get started on your bacon.
- Cook bacon slices in a skillet on medium low heat. Bacon secret: Put the bacon in a cold pan and let it heat up in the pan to keep it from curling up. Flip it over after about 7-8 minutes (don't forget to check on your walnuts and take them out of the oven) and when cooked to a nice crisp on both sides, remove the bacon from the pan.
- Discard of the bacon grease and wipe the skillet clean reserving 1-1/2 tbsp. of bacon grease and adding it back to the pan.
- Whisk the mustard, vinegar and salt/ pepper together until blended and add to the skillet with the grease on medium high heat whisking together until the mixture starts to reduce and thicken.
- Reduce the heat low, dry off your green bean mixture with paper towels and add to the skillet with the cherry tomatoes.
- Mix together in the skillet until the dressing is well combined with the veggies and they warm all the way through.
- Remove from the skillet and add everything to a bowl topping the veggies with toasted walnuts and crumbled bacon.