Green Bean Salad with Quinoa, Cherries + Tarragon

Green bean salad with quinoa, fresh cherries, almonds and tarragon. An easy picnic salad that keeps well in the fridge. Vegan and gluten free.Bretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenGreen bean salad with quinoa, fresh cherries, almonds and tarragon. An easy picnic salad that keeps well in the fridge. Vegan and gluten free.

I had tears in my eyes as I locked the door to our little house back in Morzine. My hands were shaking and my heart was pounding and I wasn’t sure I was ready to let go of the key just yet. It was an unexpected moment of emotion as Matt waited for me in the driveway, standing in the middle of pouring rain beside our bikes, packed and ready to go. I guess I had been so looking forward to the start of our trip that I forgot to think about all the things I was going to be leaving behind. I moved out of my parents house to go to university when I was seventeen and since then I’ve lived in a few different cities and have had many different apartments and roommates, but nothing has felt more like a real home than the house we shared in the mountains. A lot can happen in three years and it is a strange feeling not knowing if or when I’ll ever be back there. And now, at 29 my home is a tent that my husband carries with him everyday on the back of his bicycle – no key necessary.

There are moments during the trip so far that I find myself missing home a little more than others. Sometimes, it’s when we are up early and rolling through villages that are still half a sleep, the sun just starting to shine through the windows and a faint smell of coffee in the air. I long for a morning spent in slippers and a warm breakfast at the kitchen table. Other times it’s late in the afternoon, when the dark clouds start to roll in and we find ourselves in an unknown town, everyone else seemingly heading home after a days work and we’re still unsure of where we are going to pitch our tent for the night. It is in these moments that we joke about how much we would like to back on the couch, cozied up under a blanket with a bottle of wine, watching old reruns of friends on tv. But every time the moment passes and we find comfort in our sleeping bags and a hot cup of tea, a good book and a head lamp. I’ve realized that you actually need very little to feel at home, but I rely on Matt a lot for that too. He puts me at ease and I can’t imagine sharing this whole thing with anyone else.  It’s not easy, but I can’t say it has been hard yet either, and I’m sure that this trip will be the best couples therapy we could go through. A few weeks in and I’m not really sure I can put it all into words, I feel like it is only just the beginning.

We’re eating well, mostly carbs – sandwiches and pasta with a few draft beers scattered in between to wash things down. I’m definitely aware that it’s not the most nutritional of diets but it feels nourishing all the same. We’re staying in an apartment in Bretagne this week, visiting with a bit of Matt’s family before we continue north. It has been a welcomed change to have a fridge and a working kitchen for a few days. There was a bustling little market on the port at the beginning of the week where we picked up a few supplies, and this salad came together pretty quickly afterwards. It was fresh and crunchy and just what I was craving on a sunny day, so I thought I’d share it with you all here along with a few photos from where we are at the moment. This area has been my absolute favorite yet. It’s low season now so things are quiet, the beaches are rocky and the coast line dotted by little stone houses with old blue doors. It’s pretty dreamy to say the least. Anyways, train to Paris tomorrow and taking off to Stockholm from there, spending the summer exploring Scandinavia. Almost 1500kms and counting, and I’m thinking the best is yet to come. Big hugs + happy days x

Green bean salad with quinoa, fresh cherries, almonds and tarragon. An easy picnic salad that keeps well in the fridge. Vegan and gluten free.Bretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenBretagne ⎮ happy hearted kitchenGreen bean salad with quinoa, fresh cherries, almonds and tarragon. An easy picnic salad that keeps well in the fridge. Vegan and gluten free.


GREEN BEAN, QUINOA + TARRAGON SALAD

A fresh summery salad perfect for picnics in the park or sunny days at the beach. I like to quickly blanch green beans so that they keep their color and crunch, plus they will last longer if you plan to make this salad ahead of time. The markets here are bursting with ruby red cherries, but I imagine strawberries would make a nice alternative too. Choose something fresh and local to you. Since we’re in travel mode at the moment, I am without kitchen equipment so quantities were a bit of an ‘eye-ball’ here. Taste as you go and adjust to your liking. A quick pulse of the cherries, almonds and tarragon in a blender would make a killer pesto/dressing sort of thing for this dish – just a nudge. Bon ap!

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa
3 cups green beans (haricots vert)
Large handful fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh cherries, pitted and halved
A few handfuls roughly chopped marcona almonds (or toasted slivered almonds)
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red  or white wine vinegar
Pinch flaky salt, such as fleur de sel or maldon

Instructions

Start with the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under cold water in a metal sieve for about 30 secs. Add rinsed quinoa and 1 cup water to a pot and season with salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until quinoa has increased in sized and absorbed most of the water. Remove from heat and let sit with the lid on for another 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.

Wash and top the green beans. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add in the beans. Cook the beans in the boiling water for no more than 3 minutes (I like them with a good snap still). Then strain and rinse under cold water until cooled. Beans should be bright green with good crunch.

Toss cooked quinoa with olive oil and vinegar, season pepper if desired. Top quinoa with beans, almonds and fresh cherries. Sprinkle with tarragon and drizzle with olive oil. Add pinch of flaky salt just to finish.


Let me in on your kitchen creations – tag your photos #happyheartedkitchen and share the love!

23 Comments

  • Reply
    Shelley Ludman
    May 28, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Stunning photos lady — what a seriously magical place! It is so lovely to get a mini update. Sounds like the journey has started off well, and I am just so excited to see where you, yours hubby and your tent go next. Big hugs across the pond! safe travels xx

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      May 28, 2015 at 9:01 am

      Thanks Shelley! So far so good and the legs still work ok. Miss you tons, big love x

  • Reply
    the kale project
    May 28, 2015 at 8:44 am

    What an exciting journey! I can’t wait to hear and see more of Sweden. I love Brittany. I always think “oh, it’s not going to be that sunny… it will rain…” and while it does, the sun does come out creating such beautiful colors!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      May 28, 2015 at 9:00 am

      Thanks Kristen, it is so beautiful here! And guess, I found kale! Thought of you! We will be in Paris on Friday, any must stop recommendations for a quick lunch or treat before I take off to Sweden? I might end up treating myself to a falafel – haha! Hope you and the little one are well xx

  • Reply
    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    May 28, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    I absolutely loved this Jodi! So good to hear from you and your thoughts on your travels thus far. Sounds like an absolute dream and as if you are both learning and growing so much! The best couples therapy indeed! Gorgeous photos of this neck of the world you’re experiencing right now, cannot wait to see Scandinavia! Big time mega hugs and well wishes for the travels to come – you two RULE. <3

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 12, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Oh Jessie! I don’t have enough time or phone charge to check out all you’ve been up too and what magic you’ve been making in the kitchen but just a quick thank you, a big hello and huge huge congratulations on your recent recognition! Thank for being our cheerleader, its really rainy up here and motivation is running thin, coming back to your comment reminded me why were here! Hope you are warm and happy and healthy! Big love girl xx

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    May 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve been wondering how your travels were treating you and it’s such a treat to be able to read a post like this and have a sneak peek into some of the places that you’ve been to so far.

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 12, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      A little late here but thank you, Kathryn! Norway is wet and rainy so far so I’m hoping you’re getting a bit of sun down in London! If so soak some up for me! xx

  • Reply
    Link Love Sunday | Add A Little
    May 31, 2015 at 10:03 am

    […] this quinoa, green bean and tarragon salad with beautiful red […]

  • Reply
    Anna
    May 31, 2015 at 10:27 am

    omg love this post so much <3

    https://aspoonfulofnature.wordpress.com/

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Thank you so much Anna! x

  • Reply
    Melanie Atkinson
    May 31, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    So nice to hear how you are getting on! Loads of love xx

  • Reply
    Sarah | Well and Full
    June 3, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    You are so brave to have embarked on such a nomadic experience! As I was reading this, I was reflecting upon the fact that I’ve never lived more than 25 miles from my hometown. Ever. And while it feels incredibly safe and familiar to have stayed in the same area, sometimes I do wonder what it would be like to test the waters in a different place. To me, the prospect sounds terrifying but also liberating, so it was fascinating for me to read about your travels. I wish you the best of luck as you continue upon your journey! :)

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm

      Oh wow thank you Sarah! It is hård sometimes, at least once a day I find myself missing some sort of comfort from home – food, shower, warmth, friends. But then I guess we turn a corner and a new view or meet some other travellers and you remember why youre doing what youre doing! Plus yoy just know youll appreciate all the comforts of home so much more! Its pretty wet and rainy here, so heres hoping its a hot and sunny spring where you are! Have a wonderful summer and chat soon xx

  • Reply
    Vera Greutink
    June 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Gorgeous photos! What andventure you are on! I think you’re very brave to cycle through Scandinavia – I studied in Oslo and rode my bike everywehre but it was pretty tough even just within the city. Having spent the past years in the very flat Netherlands, I don’t think I would be up to it anymore… Have a great trip!

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 12, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you so much, Vera! We are a bit further North now, heading to Bodo, anf it is indeed lots of ups as and downs along the fjords! Beautiful though! Hope its warm and sunny where you are (not here)! xo

  • Reply
    Jennifer Adams
    June 15, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    First off, I wanted to say that your recipes and food images are both Amazing! I found your blog through “Cookie & Katie”‘s food blog.

    That being said, I tried this recipe last week, and really enjoyed it, but found it to be missing a bit of flavor for me. I tend to like my dishes to be aggressively spiced and flavored. I’m still a tad new to cooking, and was wondering if you might be able to give any suggestions on ways to punch up the flavor, or possible variations on this recipe?

    Thank you so much! :)

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 16, 2015 at 7:39 am

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you so much for all your feedback! I’m loving it! I totally understand where your coming from, the travel pantry is a little lack luster and I though this was just a perfect light and fresh salad to bring along on one of our picnics. Im always up for adding more nuts/seeds, so perhaps some salted roasted almonds or pine nuts, or some toasted pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds. Now i’m thinking maybe some sort of pistachio dukkah spice blend? My husband (being french) said it was missing cheese, so if you’re not vegan a little sheep’s milk feta or grilled halloumi would add some extra tang. A yogurt or plant based yogurt dressing would be nice to, like a sort of tarragon tzazikki. A great way to add more flavor to grain salads is to cook the grains in something flavorful, like a good old vegetable stock or maybe even some coconut milk? Phew, just a few ideas that come to mind. A balsamic reduction with a bir of cocao would be nice with the cherries, but I don’t know how it would jive with the tarragon, but another idea for you try! If you try the salad again and love your alteration, please let me know! So happy to have you here, hope you’re having a warm and healthy spring! xo

      • Reply
        Jennifer Adams
        August 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

        I know it’s been a while Jodi (we underwent a move across country), & we’ve been loving our new location!

        I wanted to write you back to thank you for your cooking wisdom and expertise (I had to Google most of your suggestions). :)
        I think I’m going to try the balsamic reduction with cocao you mentioned, and will let you know how it goes! I’m not sure if I’ll add the tarragon if I go that route or not, but we’ll see.

        Thank you again for your wonderful blog and recipes!

  • Reply
    kristie
    June 25, 2015 at 5:00 am

    Wow, this looks like an absolutely incredible trip! I love your photos, and this salad is for sure a stunner.

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      June 25, 2015 at 11:27 am

      Oh thank you so much Kristie! xo

  • Reply
    Nicole Spiridakis
    July 28, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Your photos are stunning and your trip sounds amazing! Hope the summer treats you well and look forward to hearing about your next set of adventures.

    • Reply
      Jodi Kay
      July 31, 2015 at 7:09 am

      Wow! Thank you so much, Nicole! The trip has been so much more than we could have hoped for, can’t wait to share more of it here! Hope you’re having a warm + happy summer x

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