Marinated Green Bean Salad

Roasting is one of my favourite ways to prepare vegetables and lately I have been serving them with a variety of creamy tahini-based sauces such as lemon, lime or orange flavours. However, a marinade is also a great way to intensify the flavour of food with just a few simple ingredients.

aerial view of two dishes of green bean salad with peppers and limes

What is a Marinade?

Basically, a marinade is a liquid with seasoning for soaking food before cooking to enhance its flavour and texture. The roots of the word marinade come from the Latin word for sea (mare) and early uses of the word referred to steeping food in heavily salted liquid as way to preserve, flavour and tenderize.

However, today, marinades can include mixtures of vinegar, oil, herbs, or similar ingredients and the process of immersing foods in liquids can vary from minutes to days, and even months in unique situations.

front view of two dishes of green bean salad with peppers and limes

Origins of Marinating

The specific ingredients in a marinade depend on the country of origin and also on the particular chefs. According to Slurrp, the concept of marinating food can be traced to the deserts of Ancient Egypt.

Dishes in Asia have been marinated in soy sauce for centuries and in Roman times, marinades were added for flavouring. From the 13th century, the French also began marinating their food and in North America, bottled marinades have been used since the 1800s. 

front view of two dishes of green bean salad with peppers and limes


This salad is inspired by Deliciously Ella and is a tasty and crunchy, light summer salad. It is quick and easy to put together although it does need about an hour to marinade in order to infuse the colourful ingredients with more flavours. This recipe will serve 2-4 people and is very versatile as it can be used as a side or a main dish served with other additions such as some crumbled vegan feta cheese.


  • 2 peppers (mix of red, yellow or orange)
  • 225g green beans
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 TBS sesame seeds
  • 1/2 red onion


  • 2 TBS tamari
  • 1 TBS brown rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TBS maple syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • pinch of salt


  • 1 TBS almond butter
  • 1 TBS toasted sesame oil
  • 1 TBS brown rice vinegar
  • 1 TBS tamari
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • pinch of salt
front view of two dishes of green bean salad with peppers and limes


  1. Prepare green beans and chop into bite-sized pieces and add to boiling water and blanch for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent further cooking.
  2. Add to a bowl with chopped peppers, red onion, spring onion and sesame seeds.
  3. Mix the marinade ingredients and add to the salad coating everything in the liquid and cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  4. Mix together topping ingredients until it is a smooth consistency.
  5. When ready to serve, add the topping and a sprinkle of sesame seeds onto the salad mixture.
front view of two dishes of green bean salad with peppers and limes

Closing Thoughts

Although marinades work well with many foods, optimum soaking times do vary. Harder vegetables like potato, carrots and beets need at least 30 minutes and can be soaked overnight, whereas semi-hard vegetables such as green beans, asparagus, and peppers work well between 30 minutes to a few hours. Softer foods like tomatoes and greens only need about 10 minutes and, when marinated for longer than 30 minutes, they risk releasing water and getting soggy.

For a complete meal, don’t forget the vegetable proteins like tofu, tempeh and seitan which marinade well for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. The only downside of marination is that it does require planning ahead, but it is worth it as an easy way to be creative with adding flavours to everyday foods.

Other Salad Options:

Spiced Mango Chutney

When eating a diet consisting mostly of vegetables, there are many ways to make the meals varied and interesting. This can include the cooking methods used ranging from frying in butter or, my particular favourite of roasting, or by changing them visually such as spiralising, grating or julienning!

Seasonings are also key and can include salt and herbs to bring out the flavour or add something tangy like lemon juice which is sure to liven up many a veggie. Another method that I find increasingly appealing is adding a flavoured sauce or, alternatively, a mixture of flavours found in the many types of chutneys available.

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Three Variations of Orange Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

3 jars of orange tahini based sauces with orange segments in foreground and oranges in background
Front to Back: Orange Ginger, Orange Turmeric and Orange Miso

Of the citrus fruits, oranges are probably one of the most popular.  Although they are commonplace now, at one time they were considered exotic and precious. I recall from my own childhood, it was a tradition to add oranges to Christmas stockings. As children we were restricted to one piece of fruit a day because of the cost so a juicy and sweet orange was always a treat! 

Oranges and their origin

According to Nuovo, botanists believe that citrus trees are native to the tropical regions of Southeast Asia and have been around for 20 million years. Arab traders first brought them from India and Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) to some of the wealthiest families of the Roman Empire. Groves then appeared in Italy, North Africa, Spain and Portugal until at the end of the thirteenth century, they were bought by a Spanish boat to the United Kingdom. Since then, oranges have evolved from the fruit of European royalty and aristocrats to a kitchen staple for the masses.

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Three Variations of Lime Tahini-Based Sauces or Dressings

Three jars of lime-based tahini sauces: lime cilanto, ginger lime and spicy lime. Scene decorated with cut limes and scarf
Front to Back: Lime Cilantro, Lime Ginger and Spicy Lime

Tahini, the paste of crushed sesame seeds, is rich in nutrients, protein and healthy fats and it continues to be one of my most used and versatile ingredients. As well as adding protein and nutrients to a meal, the earthy flavour of tahini lends itself to both sweet and savory dishes making it an easy addition to sauces, dips, dressing or desserts.

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Christmas Mincemeat (Vegan and GF)

two jars of mincemeat with holly and Christmas decorations

Growing up in England, one of my strongest associations with feasting at Christmas includes mince pies! These days I make my own mincemeat and tend to experiment with different variations every year. Although the recipes generally include a mix of fruit, dried fruit and spices, one of the beauties of modern mincemeat is that it is extremely flexible and forgiving.  Some years, I have been ambitious enough to make candied peel from scratch. Not this year, however! Still, regardless of how it evolves, mincemeat with its distinct taste and aroma will always be a holiday favourite of mine.

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Raw Sweet Potato Salad with Curry Almond Sauce

When it comes to eating vegetables, I am not a big fan of crunching them uncooked and generally prefer roasted, stir fried or even boiled. It is a similar story with fruit.  Although I do enjoy more raw fruits over raw vegetables, the cooked version of many fruits such as apples, pears, peaches, berries and even bananas definitely has more appeal.

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Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

serving dish with farro, kale and roasted sweet potato salad

As we move towards the holiday season, it can be challenging trying to cook for a “mixed-eater household” or, if you are a vegetarian/vegan, visiting family and friends when “traditional” holiday meals are being served. In a household with a mix of meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, the Farro, Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad can make either a hearty lunch or a tasty and satisfying side dish that everyone can enjoy.


Plant-Based Ice Cream (“Nice Cream”) with Caramel Sauce

bowl of nice cream with frozen berries

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? It seems that ice cream is probably one of the most popular desserts consumed today and, as a result of refrigeration, it can now be a household staple. Enjoyed globally, each country has its own version of the frozen treat such as gelato in Italy, kulfi In India, and mochi in Japan.

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Chia Jams

row of jars of kiwi, peach, strawberry, blueberry chia jam

When I moved into my first house, in the garden there were a couple of vines bursting with green and red grapes.  Wanting to make use of these abundant crops, I entered the world of jam and jelly making. One of my first creations was a grape and sherry jelly and I remember it as a wonderful way to preserve summer fruits and enjoy them through the year.


Lemon Tahini Based Sauces and Dressings

two bowls one with lemon tahini sauce and one with golden lion tahini sauce and one small jar with basic tahini sauce
Tahini Sauces: Basic Tahini, Lemon Tahini and Golden Lion

In plant-based cooking, I have come to believe that it is all about the sauce!  Previously, the idea of preparing a meal with a sauce would not have been entertained.  For one thing, I was haunted with flashbacks from school days and the intricacies involved in making items like a lump-free roux sauce! The whole idea of cooking a sauce from scratch seemed too time consuming and required more energy than I had.  However, store bought sauces and dressings can be expensive and, more importantly, there is no control over the ingredients.

When making your own sauces, you decide exactly what goes into it and this was a big motivation when I moved to whole-foods, plant-based eating. Sauces have quickly become a big part of my food preparation and it turns out it does not have to be an ordeal.  There are many quick and easy recipes that can be made ahead of time and I now keep a few batches on hand. A sauce can transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary and with the great variety of seasonings available, the possibilities are endless for preparing new and different creations.

Continue reading Lemon Tahini Based Sauces and Dressings