Food & Drink

String Bean Salad With Toasted Walnuts And Goat Cheese

11/02/2011 01:28pm ET | Updated August 31, 2012

In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello, a chef, author and food stylist, shows busy moms how to make tasty, healthy meals using ingredients they already have in their pantry, solving their unique cooking challenges.

In this video, Lauren shows Jennifer C., a busy mother of two and P.R. professional, how to make a colorful, flavorful salad that she can enjoy as much as her predictably picky toddler. When Lauren discovers that Jennifer's son recently took a liking to string beans, she decides to use yellow and green string beans as the base for her salad. She first shows Jennifer how to blanch the vegetables -- boiling them in heavily salted water to bring out their bright colors -- which gives them a crisp but tender texture. The salad is dressed in lemon juice (as an alternative to vinegar), and when the beans are tossed with goat cheese, they're given a creamy coating. Since Jennifer had walnuts in her pantry, Lauren toasted the nuts -- bringing out their natural oils and intensifying their flavor -- and added them to the salad, but she noted that other nuts, such as almonds or pecans, would work just as nicely.