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Spring bean salad

This is one of my favourite salads. I make it, or a version of it, on a regular basis as a side with fish or chicken dishes or as part of an Ottolenghi-style spread that I like to do for BBQs and big dinner parties. 

Since I started working at Natoora I have played around with the ingredients a bit. I used to always make it with green beans and mange tout, which are great and easy to source. However, Natoora focuses on seasonal ingredients so I have swapped out the mange tout for white and green piattoni (Italian runner beans). They are sweet and tender and they look gorgeous.

One of my colleagues suggested I use almonds in place of hazelnuts for my cooking demo a few weeks ago since they are just coming into season. The flaked almonds look pretty, but I like the taste of the crushed hazelnuts better. 

I sometimes make the dressing the night before to give the lemon zest and chilli a chance to infuse the oil. This dressing also works really well as a marinade or tossed through a seafood pasta with some fresh herbs.

Serves 4 as a side dish or 2 as a light lunch. 



1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
90ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 mild red chilli, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


250g green fine beans
200g runner beans (white and green, if available)
50g hazelnuts, finely chopped or crushed
Small bunch tarragon, finely chopped.


To make the dressing add the lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of the juice to a bowl, along with the olive oil, mustard and a little of the chilli. Season with salt and pepper, mix well and taste. Adjust with any of the above ingredients as necessary; be careful with the chilli though, you just want a little kick.

To make the salad wash and trim the green fine beans and runner beans. Cut the runner beans in half and then into strips, lengthways. Boil or steam the green beans until al dente, not soft; this should only take a minute if boiling or a few minutes if steaming. Refresh under cold water. Do the same with the runner beans.

In a large bowl, toss the beans with the dressing, tarragon and half of the hazelnuts. Season further with salt and pepper if necessary. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining hazelnuts.

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Reader Comments (3)

YUM! and how good is that photo!? The colours are wonderful. Annnnnddddd yay for jobs with foodie perks ;P

June 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie Brown

This looks so great I am going to try it while we are in Spain, and will send feedback!

July 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMa

Hi Cha, thanks - yes the pics came out quite well. Good natural light that day :-)

Hi Ma, how did it go? Did you get a chance to make it? :-)

August 26, 2015 | Registered CommenterVix

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