Green Beans and Benne Salad

I serve this salad all year long, to rave reviews; there is never any left. It is an absolutely delicious combination of flavors that complements all sorts of meals.


  • 2 pounds young green beans, stemmed but with the tender young green tip intact
  • ¼ cup benne (sesame seeds), roasted
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Plunge the beans into a large pot of rapidly boiling water and cook them, uncovered, until they just become tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Taste them frequently and do not overcook them. When they just lose the raw flavor, immediately pour them into a colander and rinse them thoroughly in cold water to stop the cooking and to retain the bright green color. You may wish to have some ice water handy if your kitchen is warm and your tap water, like mine, is not cold. Set aside to drain.

When all of the water has thoroughly drained from the beans, toss them with the remaining ingredients and serve at room temperature.