Tender-crisp green beans, in a sweet, spicy Asian-inspired sesame dressing.
Simple and delicious, packed with vitamins and minerals.
Do you ever become obsessed with a new ingredient and use it in everything? Or go through phases when a single favoured food starts popping up in everything you cook? Right now, I seem to be in the middle of a sesame seed fixation and I’ve been sprinkling these little beauties here, there and everywhere.
It’s not even like sesame seeds are new or unusual. These tiny seeds are long-term residents of my pantry, typically coming out to be sprinkled over challah, bourekas, or other savoury pies and pastries before baking. But recently they’ve started to make their way into stir-fries, soup-toppings, snack mixes, and salads too. Like this delicious green bean salad with its lip-smacking sweet-savoury-spicy sesame dressing.
There are plenty worse things to become hooked on, I’m sure. Sesame seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition, as they are packed with healthy oils as well as several B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. Pairing them with crisp green beans that are rich in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate, means this delicious salad not only tastes good, it does you good, too!
As well as cooking with sesame seeds, I’ve also rediscovered gomasio – a Japanese condiment sometimes called ‘sesame salt’ which I first discovered many years ago in Israel. It’s very simple to make and adds a blast of savoury flavour to everything from plain rice – which is how it’s traditionally eaten in Japan – to salads, soups and my favourite, eggs.
To make gomasio, simply mix 4-5 tsp sesame seeds (black, regular, or a mixture) with 1/2 tsp salt and 2 tsp water. The mixture will clump together. Fry it in a small pan, stirring constantly, until the seeds are lightly toasted, the water is evaporated, and the salt residue coats the seeds. You can use the gomasio like this, or grind it in a mortar and pestle to release some of the fragrant oils and give a more interesting texture.
Keep your gomasio in an airtight container and use it within a few days as the oils will oxidise and it will develop an ‘off’ taste if left for too long.
I don’t know how long my sesame obsession will last, but I’m enjoying it while it does!
Green bean salad serves 2-4.
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Sesame green bean salad
- 200 g fine green beans (approximately 1.5-2 cups)
For the dressing
- 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp tamari (soy) sauce
- 2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp sriracha - or to taste
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 3-4 tsp white or black sesame seeds, or a mix
Trim the beans. Blanch in boiling water or cook in a microwave for 1-2 minutes until crisp-tender. Plunge into cold water.
Whisk together all the dressing ingredients except the sesame seeds, and pour over the beans. Add the seeds and gently mix everything together.
Serve cold, with any excess dressing on the side.
If you’d like more delicious salad recipes, how about this roasted vegetable and barley salad with tahini dressing, or this vibrant blood orange salad with avocado, radish and dill?
I’m linking this recipe up with CookBlogShare.