Green beans and tomatoes are at their best right now. Aside from the great cost savings you’ll reap from eating seasonally, both green beans and tomatoes taste their best when they’re home-grown and picked fresh. The ever-growing local farm-to-table markets throughout the country also make fresh, locally grown produce more available than ever before.
For tomatoes, there are many varieties of large heirlooms, as well as plum, grape and many colors of cherry tomatoes. They are rich in vitamins C and A, the antioxidant lycopene, fiber and potassium and have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that a diet rich in tomatoes reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, tomatoes help protect you from sun damage.
Green beans are one of the healthiest vegetables. These high-octane sources of antioxidants are also rich in vitamins C and K, as well as fiber. Combined with nutrient-packed tomatoes, they can improve our skin, bone and brain health.
Green Bean Panzanella Salad Recipe
Green beans, basil and tomato are perfect companions in this healthy, crunchy Green Bean Panzanella Salad, which is loaded with nutrients. To retain the beautifying benefits, cook your green beans whole, and then cut in smaller lengths after cooking.
Makes 10 servings
Serving size: 1 cup
4 cups 100 percent whole grain bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white grape juice
1 teaspoon chia seed
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, finely minced
½ teaspoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, ground
4 cups home- or farm-grown ripe tomatoes (about 3 large), cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups fresh green beans, ½ lengths, blanched
1 cup cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, ½-inch slices
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced
3 cups arugula, firm packed
1¼ cup basil leaves (about 25 leaves), chiffonade
Preheat oven to 350 F. On a large non-stick baking sheet, place cubed bread and bake until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored, about 10 minutes. While bread is in the oven, make the vinaigrette in a large mixing bowl by whisking together vinegar, grape juice, chia seed, garlic, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper and set aside. Remove croutons from the oven and let cool. Add tomatoes, green beans, cucumber and red onion to the vinaigrette and mix well. Add arugula, basil and croutons, toss until well mixed and serve.
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