Flash in the Pan: Roasted Green Bean Salad with Citrus Balsamic Reduction (Plus Candida Diet Variation)

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Sugar-Free, low glycemic Roasted Green Bean Salad with Citrus-Balsamic Reduction on Rickiheller.com

When I was in nutrition school, there was one instructor on whom all my friends and I had a bit of a “girl crush” (let’s call her “Rawxy”). Rawxy seemed to glide, rather than walk, into a room; there was something slightly ethereal about her, with her thin, translucent skin; long, elegant arms and narrow fingers; even, calming voice; and batik tops that fluttered behind her like curtains billowing in a summer breeze. Rawxy’s fine, shoulder-length hair would sway this way and that as she crossed the room during lectures, and she’d smile serenely while edifying us on topics like raw foods, spirituality, or meditation.

Rawxy was herself a raw foodist (or “living foodist” in more contemporary parlance), and she practiced what she preached; whenever her classes spanned across our lunch hour, she’d pull out an environmentally friendly glass container that held her lunch, usually a salad or, on occasion, fruit. One day, as she slurped on her third consecutive mango, she explained the concept of “monomeals”: consuming large quantities of a single food or single dish, either at one meal or for the entire day.  While I could understand the theory behind it, the notion of eating a single food in massive quantities seemed unspeakably boring.

I recall a friend of mine in grad school telling me that her normally ne’er do-well husband had finally decided to make amends and cook dinner for her. Searching the kitchen, he’d found only one item he knew how to cook, so when she arrived home that evening, the house infused with a familiar enticing aroma, her husband proudly presented her with a full, steaming cast iron frypan filled with caramelized onions.  And nothing else. Ah, yes: the unintentional mono-dinner.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that my mom was a lousy a mediocre a talkative an uninspired cook. Although she never used many processed foods (thank goodness, or I’m sure my health woes would be even worse than they are), her repertoire of from-scratch meals was pretty limited. Every now and again, she’d come across a new recipe in a magazine or via my aunt, and she’d then cook that again and again for the following few weeks, until we began to feel as if we were living in a Sci-Fi movie, on the planet where they had no real food and had to eat the same slop over and over, day in and day out.

Roasted Green Bean Salad with Citrus-Balsamic Reduction on RickiHeller.com

When I was in high school, my mom re-joined Weight Watchers for the seventh or eighth time. At one point, she discovered Weight Watchers “Cheesecake”: a mixture of cottage cheese, artificial sweetener and canned crushed pineapple baked in a pie pan, then sprinkled with cinnamon. Because it was sweet, she ate it. I think she once ate an entire pie in one day–her own version of “monomeal” (though I guess that kind of defeated the purpose of making a Weight Watchers cheesecake in the first place, didn’t it?).

Since Mom was determined to make the diet work, but since she was also perpetually hungry, she sought out all of the “free” foods (usually vegetables). In her WW pamphlet was a recipe for “Green Bean Casserole.” It consisted of “French Style” canned green beans, baked in a huge lasagna pan with canned button mushrooms, all blanketed with a layer of shredded diet cheese. The recipe was supposed to serve around a dozen people as I recall, but we usually polished off an entire pan in one sitting since it was “free.” For a while there, we ate Green Bean Casserole for dinners, lunches, snacks and probably the odd breakfast as well. It turned me off green beans for a very long time.

Well, about a week ago, a reader on Facebook asked if I had any green bean salads on my blog. What do you know–I didn’t! (In fact, the only recipe with beans on this blog is  mock chopped liver, and Emily’s version definitely helped to turn me around on those beans). So I went out that night, bought a bunch, and concocted this salad. The beans are roasted, but only enough to soften them (nothing like those gray, limp “French style” beans of old!). Then they’re tossed with a fresh orange-balsamic dressing, orange wedges and sunflower seeds. Super simple; super delicious.

I never thought I’d warm up to the concept of monomeals. . . but with this salad, I’d say I’ve come pretty close.

Last Year at this Time: Cocoa-Goji Granola(gluten free; ACD  Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Baked Sweet Potato Falafel (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Three Years Ago: Red Lentil Pâté (gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Four Years Ago: Grain-Free Hazelnut-Cilantro (or Parsley) Crackers(gluten free; ACD All Stages)

Five Years Ago: Sweet Potato, Quinoa and Black Bean Bites (gluten free; ACD  Stage 3 and beyond)

Roasted Green Bean Salad with Citrus-Balsamic Reduction on RickiHeller.com

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  1. Haha, I think we all know a “Rawxy” type figure! I love to cook too much to just eat one food for a meal though.
    Your green been salad looks delicious- the green beans are finally appearing in the garden now so I’ll soon have enough for a meal-sized green bean salad!
    P.S Those WW dishes sound horrendous! I hope you weren’t subjected to them too…

    • Thanks, Emma! And I must admit that yes, I did eat those WW meals! I actually made the pie several times myself and ate it because, well, it’s diet food, right? 😉 I don’t think I could ever stomach canned green beans again, though!

  2. Monomeals are not my thing – e would eat the same pasta for lunch every day and not mind but I would get bored very quickly. I love the sound of the green bean salad – I often now throw green beans into your chickpea, potato and tomato stew which is a great way to use them up as I can be a bit meh about green beans. It is a shame you didn’t learn to cook young for your mum because you could have made some decent meals for her – imagine how impressed she would be at your cooking today.

    Looking forward to your new look.

    • The HH is the same way! He’d eat pretty much the same thing for breakfast every single day if he had a chance. And he keeps asking me to repeat recipes, but then I find that I’m too bored of the same thing over and over, too! I did learn to bake while my mum was still alive (she was a very good baker), but hardly ever cooked anything at home. Strange!

  3. I plan on making this very soon…I have dragon tongue beans coming out my ears currently, so I love finding new ways to use them Ricki1

  4. Our markets are overloaded with green beans, every year! I swear, farmers over-plant them! I will try this for sure,since I’m tired of steaming them. And I love the sounds of roasting them! And oh how I want to be Rawxy!

    • I’d love some of Rawxy’s serenity, too, for sure (SERENITY NOW!!!). 😉 I find roasted is a lot more appealing to me than steamed, too. 🙂

  5. Hello Ricki. What a lovely, simple dish.

    I am making this tonight. Will share a picture on FB> 🙂


  6. What would you recommend in place of oil? I am trying to omit processed oils from my diet and eating plant based whole foods. Thank you

    • Hi Lili,
      I’m not sure there is a replacement that could create the same effect as oil, but you could simply toss the beans in a little vegetable broth, or just roast them as they are, with a touch of salt. They’ll still taste really good! 🙂

  7. love roasted green beans- the citrus twist sound like a great addition!

  8. I am getting heaps and heaps of beans from my garden this summer and this looks like a great way to use them!

    • I wish I had heaps and heaps!! Just the idea of growing something that succeeded to that extent would make me want to eat more of them. Hope you enjoy the salad! 🙂

  9. I know it sounds weird, but I’ve been craving a balsamic reduction lately. I’d been trying to decide what to make it with – this looks like one delicious way.

  10. On occasion, I get to have these rashes which the family doctor says is a yeast (candida-caused) infection. I’m printing your Flash-in-the pan roasted-green-bean-salad-with-citrus-balsamic- reduction-plus-candida-diet-variation recipe and pasting this on the kitchen cupboard. Will try it. Am sure it’s going to help. And it looks good too!

    • Ricki Heller says

      Hi Susan,
      Thanks for your comment! Rashes are pretty common with candida. If you’re just starting the diet, balsamic and oranges are out, but the variation should be good! Just check with your doctor that s/he approves the grapefruit and apple cider vinegar instead (not all diets allow those in stage 1). 🙂

  11. Hi Ricki,

    Your green bean recipe is making an appearance at my Thanksgiving dinner this year! I made it last year and everyone LOVED it! Yay!


    • Yay! So glad it was a hit, Amber! I only tried “classic” green bean casserole a month ago (and loved it, too). But this salad is definitely a fave! 😀 Hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving! xo


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