This flavorful Green Bean Caprese Salad combines slender green beans and baby potatoes with classic Caprese ingredients. The salad is finished off with a drizzle of delicious Lemon Basil Oil.
It's me again, with another Caprese (pronounced kuh-prey‐zee) salad. You may have guessed by now that I have an obsession with the trinity of fresh mozzarella, summer tomatoes and fresh basil. The cool thing is, there are a zillion ways to combine these delicious ingredients and each one is totally unique. One of our all time favorites is this Stone Fruit Caprese Salad that just about shouts "SUMMER!". This time, I couldn't resist adding slender green beans, baby potatoes and a dressing of Lemon Basil Oil. I'm calling it Green Bean Caprese Salad and I think you're going to love it as much as we do!
The slender, French-style green beans (haricot verts in French) work best in this salad. They're just briefly blanched till crisp, yet tender.
Several years ago, Scott planted the French green beans and enjoyed them in so many dishes!
If you can't find them, you could also use larger green beans, cut into bite-size pieces.
What's the difference between fresh mozzarella and "regular" mozzarella?
If fresh mozzarella isn't a frequent flyer in your shopping cart, you're missing out on something wonderful. It's so different from "regular mozzarella"; the shredded stuff you buy in bags for pizza and paninis.
- Fresh mozzarella is made in small batches, usually from whole milk (although in Italy, water buffalo milk mozzarella is common).
- It's pure white in color, with a buttery, delicate flavor and a soft texture.
- "Regular" mozzarella is sold in blocks as well as shredded. It has a slightly rubbery texture that's most suited for use in cooking, as it has wonderful melting qualities.
- Although regular mozzarella can be made from either low fat or whole milk, you'll always see a "low moisture" description on the package.
- The moisture content is actually the main difference between the two. Fresh mozzarella has a much higher water content (in Italy, by law, it has to be at least 52% moisture).
- While the higher moisture content is a big part of its desirable flavor and texture, it also makes fresh mozzarella much more perishable.
Fresh mozzarella comes in a fun variety of sizes
I love to buy the little fresh mozzarella "pearls" (Perline) as they're a perfect little bite-size, but it also comes in several other sizes; Ciliegine (cherry size), Bocconcini (a little larger) and Ovoline (egg size). Fresh mozzarella also comes in larger balls which can be cut into bite-size pieces. The little pearls are becoming more widely available; I've even found them recently at Super Walmart.
This salad can be made in advance and actually gets more delicious as the wonderful Lemon Basil Oil melds with the other ingredients. If you don't have the time to make the Lemon Basil Oil, the salad would also be wonderful drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and finished off with lots of chopped fresh basil in lieu of the oil.
Do you have a family get together coming up? A summer picnic or potluck? This Green Bean Caprese Salad will be a healthy, welcome addition! It's also wonderful for weeknight dinners and dinner parties, as it can be made in advance and is a perfect pairing with just about anything from the grill. Put it on your menu before the summer slips away. You won't be disappointed!
Café Tips for making this Green Bean Caprese Salad
- The salad can be made up to a day in advance. Wait till right before serving to add pine nuts.
- Don't cut back on the salt in the water when cooking the green beans and potatoes. It sounds like a lot, but the majority of it stays in the water. The beans and potatoes will be nicely seasoned.
- Lemon Basil Oil can be made up to a week in advance. It can also be used in lots of other delicious ways. See this post for ideas.
- Pine nuts are expensive, but add a wonderful finishing touch to this salad and you don't need many. I find them to be most reasonable at Trader Joe's, Sam's Club and Costco. You can also purchase them online.
- Look for the slender, French-style green beans. They sell them for a great price at Costco and Trader Joes.
- 1 pound fresh slender green beans
- 1 pound small yellow potatoes
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 1-½ cups fresh mozzarella pearls see Café Tips above
- freshly ground black pepper
- flaky sea salt
- For the pine nuts:
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- Lemon Basil Oil
1. Fill a large pot or Dutch oven three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender.
2. Scoop beans out of water with a slotted spoon and place in a large strainer. (Do not discard water.) Rinse beans with cold water to stop cooking process. Spread the beans out on a kitchen towel to cool. If making in advance, wrap beans in several thickness of paper towels and place in a zippered bag in the refrigerator.
3. Return water to a boil and add the potatoes. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain potatoes. If cooking in advance, drizzle lightly with olive oil and refrigerate when cool.
4. For the pine nuts, combine pine nuts, oil and salt in a small sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until light golden brown.
5. Combine the cooled beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls on a large serving platter.
6. Drizzle generously with Lemon Basil Oil. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
7. Scatter toasted pine nuts over the top, just before serving.