I first had this salad years ago in a dinner group I was part of. It was an amazing start to a great meal. The salad is both beautiful and delicious, with a variety of flavors and textures: sweet and juicy tropical mango (or papaya), crisp tender green beans, salty feta, dry roasted pistachios, and a tangy, easy-to-make apricot vinaigrette.
The vinaigrette dressing is good as is but sometimes I add a little olive oil, a small clove of garlic and some freshly cracked pepper when pureeing the mixture in the blender. These additions add another layer of flavor to the dressing. Play with it and see what you like best. I use Kerr’s apricot nectar because I’ve never been able to find apricot-pineapple.
The recipe calls for papaya but I prefer to use mangoes. You’ll need about 4 large, ripe mangoes. Here’s some helpful tips on how to cut a mango.
Everything can be made/prepped ahead of time but don’t toss the greens with the vinaigrette and assemble the salad until you’re ready to serve it (otherwise you’ll end up with wilted greens). Enjoy!
Green Bean Salad with Apricot Vinaigrette
-recipe from Bon Appétit Magazine
There is no oil in this most original salad. Serves 6.
1 11 1/2-ounce can apricot-pineapple nectar (or apricot nectar)
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots (about 1 ounce)
1 1/4 pounds slender green beans, trimmed
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens
1 papaya, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced lengthwise
3 tablespoons chopped unsalted dry roasted pistachios
1 1/2 ounces ricotta salata* or feta cheese, crumbled
*Available at cheese shops, some Italian markets and some specialty foods stores.
Boil nectar in medium saucepan until reduced to scant * cup, about 5 minutes. Mix in vinegar and apricots. Let stand until apricots soften, about 15 minutes. Puree mixture in blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool.
Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Cool in large bowl of ice water. Drain again. Pat beans dry with paper towels. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap green beans in paper towels. Cover vinaigrette and green beans separately and refrigerate.)
Place beans in large bowl. Add 6 tablespoons vinaigrette and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. In another large bowl, toss mixed greens with enough remaining vinaigrette to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Mound mixed greens in center of 6 plates. Surround with papaya slices. Arrange beans atop mixed greens. Sprinkle with pistachios and ricotta salata or feta.
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