Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: This recipe appeared in CRIME RIB, the second Food Lovers’ Village Mystery, set in high summer in the village of Jewel Bay, Montana. It’s perfect for this time of year because everything is in season, it’s easy to prepare, and only one ingredient—the green beans—require any cooking. I’ve also made it in winter—the red and green color combination makes it a holiday fave—and taken it to numerous potlucks. I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit since then—as all honest cooks do.

I like wandering out to my garden and picking fresh green beans. In the off season, we use the thin French style, also called haricots vert.  Since then, I’ve migrated from steaming green beans to cooking them briefly in boiling water; steaming occasionally leaves tough skins.

Although I’ve included an easy pesto recipe, I will confess we often use jarred pesto from Costco—it’s thin and pourable, unlike Mr. Right’s heartier version.

On the onion: we prefer a small white onion; sweet, red, or even green onions also work well, but the one time I used a yellow onion, I found it too strong.

We served the salad with Mr. Right's Famous Stuffed Burgers---I'll save that recipe for another time. It's wonderful with pretty much any meat, fish, or chicken, especially grilled!

So, with no further ado —

Erin’s Two Bean and Pesto Salad

one pound of fresh green beans, stemmed and cut in bite-sized pieces
1-14 oz can white beans
about a cup of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
a small white onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh pesto (recipe below) or more, to taste
kosher salt and fresh ground black or white pepper

Bring 2-3 quarts water to a boil. Stir in the beans and cook until tender-crunchy, 2-3 minutes. Pour into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking; drain and cool, and place in your serving bowl.

Rinse and drain the white beans and add to your bowl, along with the tomatoes and onions. Toss with the pesto. Add sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature or chilled, by itself or on a bed of greens.


2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 or 2 cloves garlic, to taste
½ cup olive oil, more or less, to taste
½ cup Parmesan, grated
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)

Toast the nuts in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes, or toss in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until they begin to darken and become fragrant. (Don’t overcook; they will continue to cook as they cool.)

In a small (2 cup) food processor, loosely chop about fresh basil leaves. Toss in the garlic—the pesto will blend more easily if you slice or chop the cloves first. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse. Add oil and pulse until you get a good consistency for mixing with other ingredients. Add grated Parmesan and nuts, and pulse to mix well.

From the cover of KILLING THYME. coming October 4 and available for pre-order now: 

At Seattle Spice in the Pike Place Market, owner Pepper Reece is savoring her business success, but soon finds her plans disrupted by a killer…

Pepper Reece’s to-do list is longer than the shopping list for a five-course dinner, as she conjures up spice blends bursting with seasonal flavor, soothes nervous brides fretting over the gift registry, and crosses her fingers for a rave review from a sharp-tongued food critic. Add to the mix a welcome visit from her mother, Lena, and she’s got the perfect recipe for a busy summer garnished with a dash of fun. 

While browsing in the artists’ stalls, Pepper and Lena drool over stunning pottery made by a Market newcomer. But when Lena recognizes the potter, Bonnie Clay, as an old friend who disappeared years ago, the afternoon turns sour. To Pepper’s surprise, Bonnie seems intimately connected to her family’s past. When Bonnie is murdered only days later, Pepper is determined to uncover the truth. 

But when Pepper roots out long-buried secrets, will she be digging her own grave?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. The president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model and avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website  and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebookwhere I often share news of new books and giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. This sounds delicious.
    I wish I Had beans growing in my yard. What a treat.

    1. I'm not managing to grow much this year, but the beans are happy!

  2. This looks delicious and a perfect side dish for a piece of grilled meat or fish which is mostly what we do in the summer!

  3. Looks so fresh and lovely, Leslie! Thank you! MJ/VA