2 pounds fresh purple beans, or a mix of yellow, green, and purple beans
4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh thyme (optional)

Trim stem ends of beans and cut the beans into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Steam in the microwave or in a stove-top steamer until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cool water before transferring to a bowl. Cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, dijonnaise, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir until the sugar and salt dissolve. Then slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking the mixture. Pour over the beans, and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle with feta cheese and garnish with fresh thyme. http://www.vintagevictuals.com/2009/07/summer-picnic-bean-salad-with.html

Nutritional Value
Purple beans are fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol-free, low in calories and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Eating five daily servings of vegetables and fruits lowers the chances of cancer. A recent study found that eating nine or ten daily servings of vegetables and fruits, combined with three servings of low-fat dairy products, were effective in lowering blood pressure.

The bean’s pod turns green during cooking. Do not overcook to maintain its crisp-tender bite. To protect freshness and vitamin benefits, microwave, steam, blanch, briefly sauté or add the last few minutes to stir-fries. Simmer beans with chopped onion or garlic; toss in some chopped tomatoes; cook until just heated through. Reheat blanched beans in vegetable stock and a splash of lemon juice for a tasty side dish. Cooked beans love the company of fresh herbs. Enhance flavor with fresh parsley, sweet basil, dill or dried thyme. For a refreshing cold salad, cook beans until crisp-tender; chill; mix with tossed fresh greens or combine cooked chilled beans with diced fresh tomatoes and favorite fresh herbs; drizzle with an oil-and-vinegar dressing. To store, refrigerate in perforated plastic bag.

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