Two bean and potato salad with creamy pesto
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might know that I’m not exactly what I would call a ‘salad person’ (meaning a person who loves salad, not some kind of weird person made out of salad… though I’m not one of those either). I definitely don’t hate salads, but they have to have plenty of yummy bits as well as just plain raw veg – and despite the somewhat uninspiring title of this recipe (if you have a better idea for what to call it, please tell me!), this two bean and potato salad is chock-full of yummy bits.
A while back, I asked for recipe requests on my Facebook page, and a few people asked for salad recipes (so apparently you don’t all exclusively eat cheese and lentils? Just me?). I’d been intending to make a lovely spring salad recipe, but since June has crept up on me, you get a summer salad instead. Pretty much all of the ingredients in this two bean and potato salad are in season at the moment – new potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce… All good, fresh ingredients, cooked simply.
This two bean and potato salad is so much more than just beans and potatoes. As well as the crispy roasted new potatoes, crunchy roasted green beans, and big fat butter beans, it’s also got juicy roasted tomatoes, milky mozzarella pearls, and an extra creamy homemade pesto dressing (as well as a bit of lettuce, for salad’s sake). It feels much more exciting than a plain old salad, but is still packed with lots of nutritious ingredients. To be honest, you could pretty much slather anything in this ultra-creamy pesto and I’d be sold, but it definitely helps when you start with a mixture that’s so yummy in the first place.
If you’ve been reading for a while, you may also know that if a recipe requires several different cooking methods, I’m almost certainly not going to make it. Frying, boiling, steaming and roasting, all for one meal? I honestly just can’t be bothered. So wherever possible, I try to cook my ingredients in the same way, just to cut down on time, effort, and washing up! This time, I roasted all the veg together – they do take slightly different amounts of time to cook, but you only need one big baking tray. Roast the potatoes for a little while first, then add the beans, and finally add the tomatoes for a few minutes at the end. Simples.
And there you have it – a simple summer salad with plenty of yummy bits, all tossed in that beautiful creamy, herby pesto dressing. I could eat this two bean and potato salad every day (any excuse to call roast potatoes a salad, right?).
Two bean and potato salad with creamy pesto
- 300 g (~ 10 1/2 oz) small new potatoes
- 1 tbsp oil
- Black pepper
- 115 g green beans, halved (~ 1 cup when halved)
- 400 g tin butter beans, drained (235g, or ~ 1 1/4 cups, when drained)
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
For the simple basil pesto:
- 1 small clove garlic, peeled
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (plus more to serve, if desired)
- 1 small bunch fresh basil
- 3 tbsp finely grated vegetarian parmesan-style cheese
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp water
- 125 g (~ 1/2 cup) mozzarella pearls
- 2 large handfuls salad leaves
- Cut the new potatoes in half lengthwise, and toss in a little oil. Lay them on a baking tray, and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 15-20 minutes, until they are slightly soft, but not yet fully cooked.
- Add the green beans and butter beans to the tray (add a dash more oil if needed), and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes. Then add the tomato wedges, and roast for 10 minutes more. Some of the butter beans may ‘pop’ during cooking, but that’s okay! They look a bit strange, but they taste the same.
- While the vegetables are cooking, prepare the simple basil pesto. Add the garlic and pine nuts to a mini food processor, along with the basil and grated parmesan. Blitz thoroughly to give a creamy paste. Add the extra virgin olive oil and a small dash of water, and blitz again. Continue adding water until the pesto reaches a pourable consistency (I needed around 4tbsp in total). Remember that not all food processors have water-tight lids, so pulse the button carefully!
- When the vegetables are ready, transfer them to a large mixing bowl, and add as much of the pesto as you like (you’ll probably have a decent amount left over). Add the mozzarella pearls and a bit more salt and pepper if necessary, and toss to coat. You can serve the salad warm, or keep in the fridge and serve cold. Just before serving, add a couple of good handfuls of salad leaves, and toss again. Serve with a few more pine nuts and an extra drizzle of pesto, if desired.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/3 of the recipe.