The Long and Short of It

These long beans, measuring about a half yard in length, are a staple for me in Chinese cooking.

Snipped into manageable lengths, they cook up quickly for all-manner of stir-fry dishes.

But after snagging a couple of bunches recently at my local farmers market, I decided to give them a more Mediterranean treatment.

Cut into about 2-inch lengths and briefly blanched in the microwave, I used them as the basis for a quick salad that also made good use of preserved lemons from my fridge, as well as lemon thyme and lemon verbena, both growing miraculously in my backyard, despite my oft-black thumb. Some chopped parsley, crumbled feta, a squirt of lemon juice, a glug of olive oil, and a grind of black pepper completed it.

The slender,  sturdy long beans have more crunch than regular ol’ slippery green beans on the palate. They also stand up well to the assertive flavors of the salty cheese and preserved lemon.

Plus, I just love the way they look.

And that’s the short of it.

Long Bean Salad with Feta and Preserved Lemons

(Serves 4 as a side dish)

2 bunches Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths

2/3 of a preserved lemon (Note: see link for recipe below)

1 tablespoon EACH lemon thyme and lemon verbena leaves (optional)

Handful of fresh, chopped parsley

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

In a large microwavable dish, place cut long beans with 1/4 cup water. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes or until tender but still crisp. Drain beans and spread out on a large plate or cookie sheet to cool.

Rinse preserved lemon. Cut off about 2/3 of a lemon, scraping flesh from the rind. Finely chop the rind; save flesh for another purpose.

Pick  leaves from lemon thyme and lemon verbena stems, if using. Mince leaves.

In a large bowl, place minced preserved lemon rind, minced lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and chopped parsley. Add cooled long beans, along with olive oil. Toss until ingredients are incorporated. Add lemon juice and black pepper. Toss again. Finally, sprinkle crumbled feta over the top.

From Carolyn Jung

More: Making Preserved Lemons

More: Wok-Charred Long Beans with Black Olives

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  • I’ve never bought snake beans… That salad must taste extremely good. What a perfect combination of flavors!



  • My ex-mother-in-law was Thai and she made an AMAZING long bean and pork salad that was too die for! I am not a huge fan of green beans or anything in that family, I’ll eat it, but I am not going to go out of my way to get it, but her salad was heaven.

  • I LOVE long beans. Sometimes they are hard to find at my farmers market. But most of the time I can find them at the asian stores. I cook them the easy way, just sautee. But now I can make your salad. Thanks

  • I associate long beans so much with Chinese cooking that I always make it into a stir fry too! (with black bean) But this photo has inspired me to “think out of the box.” Thanks for the idea!

  • I love these beans, but I never thought to do anything with them other than stir fry!

  • Again with the mind-reader stuff! My jar of preserved lemons (courtesy of our very own favorite Food Gal) has been stretching up from the very back of my fridge to peek over all the other jars and containers and remind me to figure out how to actually *use* some of them. It’s time!

  • Chinese long beans with feta…now that’s fusion cooking πŸ™‚

  • These crunchy long beans probably hold up really well in a salad. What a great idea for summer!

  • My mom cooks those long string beans all the time, I’ve always liked them better than standard green beans myself, but they are harder to find…
    I’ve never had them with feta, I’ll have to try it.

  • I too, always associated long beans with Chinese stir-fry. I’ll keep this in mind next time I buy them!

  • I’ve never tried long beans before, but this sounds like a perfect introduction, considering they’re in such good company… plus, I have all of the ingredients on hand (aside from the beans, obviously), so if that’s not a sign that this is a recipe I must try, then I don’t know what is. πŸ™‚

  • Snake beans are fantastic but do take longer to cook – I didn’t realize you could blanch in a microwave – great to know.

  • I’ve always cooked these with asian dishes but the combination of feta and preserved lemon sounds amazing! πŸ˜€

  • I have been eating so much feta lately and loving it. Thanks for giving me an excuse to buy another container πŸ˜›

  • I know some long beans are grown locally here, but I haven’t seen them at the farmers’ market lately. Hopefully they re-appear. The preserved lemon in this sounds great!

  • A stunning & special feta & long beans salad!! this is great for ssummer to enjoy with grilled fish etc!!

    Thanks for sharing, my friend!! And you made your own preserved lemons as well! Waw!!!

    Kisses from Brussels to you!!

  • oh this bean is my favourite! love them cooked crunchy!

  • this is great, carolyn–i’m gonna have to try my beans with some frisky feta next time. πŸ™‚

  • Oh my, love the sound of this – just put together a fresh batch of preserved lemon. I know what one if its first contributions will be.

  • I love this recipe, particularly the preserved lemon and lemon verbena touches. I make a similar dish but without those exotic ingredients. Have a peek here:
    Greetings from Gibraltar,

  • i recently saw snake cucumber at a local international’s market. I was a bit trepidatious in picking up only b/c it looked kind of cookey, but I’d try these bean with the quickness. any variety of string bean is my friend. Great looking salad.

  • Bren: Snake cucumber, huh? How interesting! So was it a very long, slender coiled up cucumber? I bet you could use it just like you would any other type of cucumber, despite its scary appearance. πŸ˜‰

  • Interesting adaptation for these yard long beans! I like the feta cheese on top. Yum!

  • Yum. I always admire the long beans at the farmer’s market yet never buy them. I don’t know why I find them intimidating — they’re just beans! But because they are not the beans I grew up with I guess I’m a little chicken. Now I know not to be. πŸ™‚

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