Cranberry Pesto Green Beans

Serve a vegetable side that steals the show this holiday season.  A traditional Italian dish gets a bright, festive twist with this one of a kind cranberry-almond pesto.  Full of vibrant color and flavor, and an absolute cinch to make, they’re the perfect accompaniment to a rich, decadent, holiday meal.

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and dried

1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup fresh basil leaves, loosely packed

1 clove garlic

3/4 cup sliced almonds, divided

6 ounces frozen cranberries, thawed

1 four ounce block parmesan cheese, grated, divided

1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of the sea salt.  Place the beans into the boiling water and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water.  When the beans are done cooking, use tongs to remove them from the boiling water and place them directly into the cold water.  This is called blanching and will keep the green color vibrant.

To make the pesto, place the basil, the remaining salt, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of the almonds into a food processor.  Pulse to puree. 

Add the cranberries and pulse to coarsely chop, but do not puree.  Add 3/4 of the parmesan cheese.  With the processor on low, stream in the olive oil.  Blend just until the mixture is homogenous, scraping down the sides of the processor bowl as needed. 

When ready to serve, microwave the green beans on high for 1-2 minutes to re-heat them.  Add the pesto and toss to coat the beans.

Place onto a serving platter and garnish with the remaining almonds and parmesan cheese.

*Tip:  blanch the beans and make the pesto ahead of time.  When ready to serve, just reheat the beans, toss with the pesto, and garnish with the remaining almonds and cheese.

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