As Bec, Laurel, and I have all confessed, right here on athletefood.com and on Instagram, we are none of us immune from the nutritional fail. Nashville’s stifling summers—my glasses just fogged up when I walked the dog—nip my usual weakness for huge chocolate bars. Taking its place is one stubborn appetite for salty chips.
These cumin-and-red-pepper-spiced sweet potato chips are my current love, and because I ate through two bags in one week earlier in the summer, I had to stop walking down the chip aisle for most of June.
Key to not missing them at lunch, I found, was replacing the bowl of chips with something else crunchy—and quick to prepare. A raw green bean salad with grainy mustard dressing has been my staple. And I was a little embarrassed by it, since I figured no one over the age of 10 really prefers raw pole beans to delicately blanched ones.
Then I ordered a green bean salad at City House, and bam: my raw beans are legit! I dream of recreating City House’s perfectly balanced Vidalia dressing, but until I do, I’ll keep a jar of this bracing mustard-tarragon vinaigrette in the fridge.
I let the chips back into the house last week. Armed with this salad and avocado toast, I’ve managed to limit myself to one bowl.
Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3 to 4 as a side salad
For the dressing:
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 5 tablespoons olive oil, fruity if you have it
In a jar with a lid (or small bowl), combine the mustard, vinegar, and salt. Cover and shake (or whisk). Let sit while you prepare the salad. Then, add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil. Cover and shake. Dip a bean into the dressing to taste. I like my dressing bracing; if you do not, add the 5th tablespoon of olive oil. The dressing will keep for 3 to 5 days in the fridge.
For the salad:
1/2 pound green, yellow wax, or purple pole beans or a mix, strings trimmed
1 beefsteak tomato
raw corn kernels from 1 very fresh ear of summer corn or ½ cup grilled frozen corn, defrosted (I found the latter at Whole Foods)
fine sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon, loosely packed, fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon, loosely packed, fresh tarragon, chopped
1 tablespoon soft goat cheese (Have you tried this Smokey Mountain Round from Goat Lady Dairy? I’m wild about it since it adds some smoky, bacon flavor without my having to deal with bacon grease.)
Cut the green beans on angle, into 1-inch lengths.
Slice the tomato vertically, then halve each slice. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
In a bowl with a lid, combine the chopped beans, tomato pieces, corn kernels, and herbs, and add a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper.
If serving the entire salad at once, start with 1 tablespoon of the dressing, taste and add more if it’s not flavorful enough. Crumble the goat cheese over the dressed salad.
If you plan to eat one or two servings at a time, store the dressing, vegetables, and cheese separately. I use 1 teaspoon of dressing per cup of salad.