While I’m not as Southern as Paula Deen, I grew up liking my beans slow cooked and porked, whether it was green beans that fell apart from a day of stewing with bacon or a big bowl of pinto beans thick as gravy with a side of buttery cornbread.
Almost every meal was accompanied by the star of Southern starches – potatoes. Mashed potatoes with butter pools led the pack followed closely by fried potatoes with blackened bits of potato crunchy goodness.
After I left home, I exchanged the potatoes for rice. I also experimented with being vegetarian. My bibles were Diet for a Small Planet and Laurel’s Kitchen. Back then it was thought that you had to combine foods to make a complete protein. How far we’ve come!
Slowly I slid back into the comfort of making the familiar foods of my childhood updating my mother’s repertoire with wok creations and rice. Fast forward 30 years and a divorce later and I’m back to seeking out healthy. But this time I’m moving towards healthy Southern style comfort food. And because I’m a huge animal lover, I want a kind diet. So I’m on a mission to create vegan recipes with a southern attitude.
This blog will not only put a little south in your mouth but we’ll look at the reasons to follow a vegan diet, address vegan controversies and identify resources for creating a vegan lifestyle. I’ll pull in other vegan experts and cooks. We’ll explore how eating vegan can help prevent Alzheimer’s, stave off diabetes and perhaps aid in weight loss. We’ll also talk about the challenges of adopting this lifestyle and how it can impact your relationships and social life.
Most importantly you’ll see fueling your cells can be kind, delicious and comforting. We can stay true to our Southern roots as fried, green Vegans.
Nutty Green Bean Salad
- 1 3/4 pounds green beans, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons roasted walnut oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon spicy mustard or mustard of your choice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 small green onions or 1/4 cup Vidalia onion, chopped
Blanch the green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender-crisp about 3-5 minutes. Remove the green beans from the boiling water and shock in bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the color. Drain and dry well.
Whisk together the walnut oil, vinegar and horseradish mustard in a small bowl. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Add the cool green beans to a large bowl and toss in the walnuts, cranberries and onions and drizzle in the vinaigrette. Place on a platter or serving dish and garnish with some chopped walnuts and cranberries.