Monday, September 14, 2009

Genovese Inspired Green Bean and Potato Salad with Dandelion Green and Walnut Pesto

In Genoa a popular recipe combines pasta, potatoes, green beans and basil pesto. I eliminated the pasta and changed the pesto to dandelion green from basil. The resulting salad is refreshing and light. This salad is nice on top of lightly dressed baby greens. A few toasted walnut pieces would be great on this salad.

I prefer lightly cooked vegetables as I think they retain more of their nutrition. Three minutes is enough to make the green beans soft enough for us. I don’t put my vegetables into a cold-water bath to shock them as I think vitamins leach into the water. It has been reported that potatoes leach 75% of their minerals into the cooking water when cut prior to cooking. Since reading fact I cook my potatoes whole unless they are being roasted (which doesn’t happen often now that I know about acrylamide). I also leave the skin on the organic potatoes since it provided additional fiber and nutrition.

Genovese Inspired Green Bean and Potato Salad with Dandelion Green and Walnut Pesto
Serves 4


15 ounces of green beans, tipped
15 ounces of Yukon gold potato
4 tablespoons dandelion green and walnut pesto
1 lemon, zested and juiced


Steam the green beans for three minutes and remove to half sheet pan to cool. Steam the whole Yukon gold potatoes until tender. Remove the potatoes to the same half sheet pan to cool. (For those of you that have a pressure cooker, 7 or 8 ounce whole potatoes are cooked after 10 minutes on high pressure.)

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle cut into bite size pieces. Cut the green beans into bite sizes pieces. Combine the potatoes and green beans in a container with a lid.

Thin the dandelion green pesto with the lemon juice and whisk to thoroughly combine. Toss the potatoes and green beans with the dandelion green pesto and refrigerator until ready to serve.

When ready to serve taste for salt and pepper and correct the seasoning to your taste. I like to serve this on a bed of lightly dressed baby greens.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 149.12
Calories From Fat (15%) - 22.53

Total Fat - 2.7g
Saturated Fat - 0.28g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 49.95mg
Potassium - 743.76mg
Total Carbohydrates - 29.51g
Fiber - 6.86g
Sugar - 3.15g
Protein - 5.02g


If you are looking for a light potato salad and like lemon you should give this one a try. It is full of flavor but low in fat and calories. The walnuts provide healthy fat, some of it omega 3. Each serving of this salad contains 2650 mg’s of Vitamin A, 64 mcg’s of folate, 64 mcg’s of Folate, 120 mg’s of Phosphorus and 61 mg’s of Magnesium. Overall this salad is packed with high quality nutrition and it tastes great too.

You could substitute white wine for the lemon if you prefer a lighter flavor in your dressing. I will add lemon to anything because I love that acid hit but a dry white wine like a pinot grigio would make a fabulous substitute.


  1. Hi Alicia,

    Looks good...

    On the note of roasting etc...what do you think of roasting veggies whole with skin on, e.g., whole winter squash or whole potatoes, so they cook nice and slowly, and then removing the skin after, with flesh that has not been you think that will have less acrylamide?

    Dandelion pesto looks great and is a wonderful variation. I've read that dandelion greens can help the kidneys in blood purification. It's such a common herb that's so overlooked in American cuisine...I think traditionally, Italians are more tuned into I right?


  2. Rose,

    Very interesting question on roasted veggies! My gut reaction is that if you remove the browned skin you are also removing the majority of the acrylamide. I will definitely do a little more research to see if anyone has addressed this specifically because now that you asked I would like to know too.

    I also read about dandelion greens and blood purification. It seems that dandelion greens are credited with reversing or stopping almost every health problem that exists. When something seems to be too good to true it always makes me a little suspicious.

    Italians seem to love all types of "bitter greens", this one included. Italians are very fond of picking "wild herbs" and using them in cooking. Don't they call wild herbs and greens preboggion in Genoa?

    Do you know if the dandelion greens we buy are exactly the same as the weed that grows in the yard? It looks the same, but I wasn't certain if there was a difference and thought you would know.


  3. I'll have to look into the dandelion hunch is that the culinary dandelion seed that you can buy has probably been bred to stay tender as it gets bigger and not grow that rough hair on the leaves that you often find on naturally occurring dandies.

    But, they are essentially the long as the area is free of pesticides or any other toxic can totally eat the dandelions from your yard. They tend to get tough this time of year, but when they begin to grow again in spring the first ones are really tender.

  4. Rose,

    Who knew you could buy dandelion seed, but it makes sense. I am so clueless when it comes to gardening it is a little scary. Thanks so much for enlightening me I really appreciate it.



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