One of my favorite Parisian lunches is a warm goat cheese salad. Little baguette toasts topped with goat cheese and baked, then used as a topper for a big green salad. This is a Parisian bistro standard, and I never tire of seeing “chèvre chaud” on the menu. All the virtuousness of ordering salad for lunch, but with the decadence of creamy goat cheese toasts on top. But why limit chèvre chaud to just salad greens? Pondering how else I could add those delicious toasts to my life, I decided to pair them with a green bean salad.
We eat lots of green beans in our house, since it is one vegetable that all four of us enjoy. Several evenings a week I find myself boiling fresh green beans just until al dente, then tossing them in butter or olive oil and a bit of salt when they are done. For holidays, I often boil, then toss them with pomegranate seeds and sliced almonds sautéed in butter. But giving green beans the salad treatment is really tasty. The cider vinaigrette in this recipe adds richness and a bit of acid, cut nicely by the creamy cheese toasts. Cherry tomatoes also brighten up this dish (both visually and flavorfully) and pair delectably with the goat cheese.
How to make green bean salad with baked goat cheese
First, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the water is heating, rinse and trim the green beans (see below for my favorite technique), and halve the cherry tomatoes. Then add the green beans to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Drain, and rinse with cold water until just warm.
In a large bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pat the green beans dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel so they don’t water down your vinaigrette. Then toss the beans and cherry tomatoes gently with the dressing.
When the oven is ready, cut the goat cheese into 8 even slices, and place one on each baguette slice. Here in Paris, you will often see Crottin de Chavignol used in a baked goat cheese salad. Crottin de Chavignol is a goat cheese made in the town of Chavignol in the Loire Valley. Though only 200 people live in the town, this cheese is protected by the AOC seal. It can only be labeled as “Crottin de Chavignol” if it is made from the area around this small town and under very strict production criteria. If you find it, Crottin de Chavignol makes a perfect baked goat cheese, but other goat cheeses work just fine.
Place the goat cheese toasts on a sheet pan or baking sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper. Drizzle goat cheese toasts with honey and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
Bake for 10 minutes, until goat cheese begins to melt, and is golden brown on the edges. Divide green beans and cherry tomatoes onto 4 small plates or bowls, and top each with 2 goat cheese toasts.
What’s the best way to cook green beans?
My favorite method for cooking green beans is just to boil them, as in this recipe. Boiling is easy, and you can adjust the time based on how thin your green beans are. If you have very thin haricot verts, you will need to boil them for only a few minutes. If you have large thick green beans, you may need to add a minute or two to the cook time. Just keep on eye on the beans, and test them when you think they might be done. They should be bright green and just barely tender. When you drain them, running very cold water over them will make sure they don’t continue to cook after they have been taken off the stove.
If you have small, thin green beans, you can also cook them in a skillet with olive oil or butter. For larger green beans, this is a trickier method since they will need longer to cook or steam. And all green beans are absolutely delicious when roasted in the oven at high heat with olive oil and a bit of salt. You’ll just need to watch them carefully as smaller green beans will cook much faster than thicker ones.
What’s the easiest way to trim green beans?
As I mentioned above, we make green beans a lot in this household. And I’m continually forgetting to start them until the rest of the meal is almost done. So finding the quickest way to trim green beans was critical. First, stack a large handful of them together, with the stem ends all next to each other on a cutting board. Then use your knife to cut all of them off at once. If you cut a little more or a little less off of each bean, so be it. You’ll find this cuts (pun intended!) your prep time down considerably.
Can you make green bean salad ahead?
Yes, absolutely, but keep your components separate until you are ready to serve. Prep the green beans and tomatoes, and make the vinaigrette, but don’t combine them. If you let the green beans and tomatoes sit in the vinaigrette for an hour or more, the cider vinegar in the dressing will cause the green beans to soften and turn olive-green. As for the goat cheese toasts, prep those in advance but wait until just before serving to bake. They are most delicious right out of the oven!
Can you make green bean salad for a crowd?
Yes, and what a stunning platter to bring out for a dinner party or a potluck. For a crowd, toss the green beans and tomatoes with the vinaigrette and spread out over a large platter. You can make as many goat cheese toasts as you’d like on your foil-lined sheet pan, then arrange them decoratively over the green beans and serve.
If you’re looking for other French-inspired recipes, please see my Tomato Salad, my French Yogurt Cake with Almonds, and my Caprese Crepes recipe. If you’re looking for more healthy and delicious lunch ideas, don’t miss my Classic Nicoise Salad and my Spinach Frittata with Mushrooms and Feta.
- 1 lb green beans
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
- 3 T. olive oil
- 4 oz log of fresh goat cheese
- 8 slices of baguette
- 1 T. honey
- 1/2 T. olive oil
- kosher salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Rinse and trim green beans.
- Halve cherry tomatoes.
- Add green beans to boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, until bright green and just tender. Drain, and rinse with cold water until just warm.
- In a large bowl, whisk together cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Pat the green beans dry with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel so they don’t water down your vinaigrette, then toss the beans and cherry tomatoes gently with the dressing.
- When oven is at temperature, cut the goat cheese into 8 even slices, and place one on each slice of baguette.
- Place the goat cheese toasts on a sheet pan or cookie sheet covered with tin foil or parchment paper. Drizzle goat cheese toasts with honey and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
- Bake for 10 minutes, until goat cheese begins to melt, and is golden brown on the edges.
- Divide green beans and cherry tomatoes onto 4 small plates or bowls, and top each with 2 goat cheese toasts.
- Sprinkle lightly with pepper.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 738Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 1372mgCarbohydrates: 109gFiber: 8gSugar: 18gProtein: 27g