Looking for a healthy green bean side dish option? Tender crisp green beans are topped with orange segments, toasty pecans and a maple vinaigrette. The zesty, nutty flavor compliments your main dishes and pairs well with turkey, prime rib, ham, salmon or just about any main dish. Add a few fresh cranberries and you’ve got a very festive dish worthy of your Holiday table.
The addition of in- season fresh orange segments adds a bright burst of flavor. If you’re not familiar with how to segment an orange…it’s really very simple.
My favorite knife for segmenting an orange is the fillet knife. Fillet knives have long, thin, flexible blades. Meant to be able to make clean cuts along the backbone of a fish ( or a piece of meat). That same flexibility makes it very easy to run the blade along the edge of the skin of the orange. No worries, if you don’t have a fillet knife, a pairing or utility knife will also work just fine. Just make sure the knife has a straight edge and not a serrated edge.
How to segment and orange
1. Cut off both ends of the orange, making sure to expose a circle of the orange fruit. (not just the skin, you actually want to cut far enough into the fruit to expose the fruit as well).
2. Run the blade of your knife right along the edge of the skin to separate the skin from the fruit. Continue all the way around the orange. Once completed remove any remaining white outer membrane (pith).
3. Each Orange segment is separated by white membranes. You’ll easily be able to see them on each side of the segments. Working with one segment at a time, you will run your knife between the white membrane and the fruit. The segment can easily be removed once you’ve run your knife on both sides. (This step releases a lot of juice from the fruit, you might want to work over a bowl to collect the juice for dressing etc.)
Continue one segment at a time until all you have left is the inner membranes. If you are collecting the juice, give the membranes a firm squeeze to release even more juice.
This same process also works for segmenting grapefruit. An easy way to add some pizzazz to salads, or top Greek yogurt, or try drizzling honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top for a healthy snack.
Green Beans with Citrus, Pecans and Maple Vinaigrette
- 2 pounds green beans trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 oranges sectioned
- ¾ cup chopped toasted pecans
- Fresh cranberries or red grapes for garnish optional
- Toasted Panko crumbs optional
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon salt. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes, drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process, drain.
- While green beans are cooking, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and maple syrup in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the green beans and orange segments, toss to combine.
- Sprinkle with chopped toasted pecans just before serving.
- Garnish with fresh cranberries or red grapes if desired.
I like to add a little extra crunch to this salad with the addition of toasted panko crumbs (optional). To toast panko crumbs add desired amount to a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently until panko turns golden brown. Sprinkle over salad just before serving.