Cucumber & Green Bean Salad with Soybean Paste Dressing

Let me start by saying this meal also consisted of a soy basted pork chop with herbs (which I will get to later in the post) but the star of the our dinner the other night was CLEARLY the raw cucumber and green beans doused in a ridiculously delicious tasting soybean paste dressing.  The snap of the crisp fresh vegetables paired with an umami BOMB of a dressing was seriously addicting.  I snacked on a few (or a lot) of the finished project while the pork was grilling and almost rendered myself too full to finish my pork chop… but not too full to have a second helping of this amazing side. This will now be my go to green bean side.  Pair it with a protein marinated with some asian flavors and you’ve got yourself an unstoppable dinner. Oh, did I mention there is no “cooking” involved?  So. Simple.

Green Bean & Cucumber Salad with Soybean Paste Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced into bite sized pieces
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 pound trimmed green beans
  • 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/8 cup of korean soybean paste*
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil

*Note on the soybean paste: I purchased it thinking it was miso while visiting an asian market – it was not, ha! Lesson learned but  I’ve been substituting it in recipes where white miso is called for not knowing that miso is a more of a clean soy flavor while doenjang has garlic and chili flavors.  After reading the differences between the two, I reduced the soybean paste from 1/4 to 1/8 of a cup as it may be too over-powering for some.

Instructions:

Lightly smash cucumbers with a rolling pin.  Place in a medium sized bowl and toss with a pinch of salt.  Let sit and prep everything else in order for the salt to sink in.

Place green beans in a large plastic bag, seal and roll over with the rolling pin.  The beans should be split open or bruised.

Whisk ginger, chile, vinegar, garlic, soybean paste, olive oil and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add dressing to the beans.  Drain the water from the cucumbers and add the cucumbers to the bag with the beans and dressing.  Seal up bag and shake to incorporate.  Dish out in a bowl or (like me) enjoy straight from the bag.

Soy Basted Pork Chops

(serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup of unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 4 1/2 inch pork chops
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • cilantro and serrano peppers for garnish

Instructions:

  • The night before you plan to make this, take the chops out of the fridge and prick all over with a fork.  This will ensure that the marinade gets absorbed into the meat.
  • Stir soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved.  Place the pork chops in a resealable plastic bag and add half the marinade and let sit over night in your fridge.  Go ahead and refrigerate the remaining marinade too.
  • When you are ready to cook, take the meat out of the fridge about 30 minutes early to get to room tempt (what a wonderful time to make the green bean salad above!).  Heat your grill or grill pan over medium and oil the grates.  Remove chops and discard the marinade.  Season chops with salt and place on grill.  Baste with marinade turning occasionally until cooked to 145 degrees, though I usually pull off a bit early and let rest and get to temp through carry-over cooking.

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