Crunchy Bean, Quinoa & Carrot Salad

At least a few times each month various people ask us if it isn’t time for us to get married. The short answer to that question has always been no, both from me and Luise. I realize that this might seem a bit provoking for some, but personally I don’t feel the need to marry to prove my love for Luise. We have loved each other deeply from the moment we met, and we have an insanely cute child together. Our proof of love is right there in a pair of Adidas, size XXS. No ring needed.

Growing up during the 80’s, almost all my friends parents got divorced, and so did mine. Somehow I am stucked in that. Marriages only end up in divorce. I don’t blame my parents. They are still friends. And at birthdays and celebrations we have dinners together as a big and genuinely happy family. So me and my sister haven’t hurt much from their divorce, except for this aversion to getting married. Luise comes from a similar background, so luckily she has more or less the same standpoint. We even talked about not getting married on our first date (I didn’t realize until later what a suicidal topic that was to bring up).

Now, I invite you to prove me wrong. We’d love to read your own stories of long and happy marriages, it’s been to little of that in my life. And maybe, just maybe, we could at least talk about reconsidering what has been decided since our first date.

One reason to get married that I can easily relate to, is the wedding. They are always so incredibly fun. I love how the air is vibrating of promises, possibilities and I do’s. We are attending a wedding in Copenhagen this weekend, and that is probably the reason why I am thinking so much about this right now. I know that the bride (and of course Luise) will look stunningly beautiful, and I really look forward to the whole thing, regardless of my personal standpoint.

Before leaving, I had to clean out the fridge. We had some beautiful seasonal vegetables that have been lying there almost too long, and I combined almost everything we had into his dish. I have always been in favor of mustard dressings, especially with more crunchy vegetables like these. First time we made this dressing was in this bean salad. Today I made it into more of a meal, by adding quinoa, roasted carrots, raisins and hazelnuts. I also added some lingonberries, which I guess are typically Scandinavian. They are quite tart, and therefore add a tangy twist to the salad. You can substitute them for red or black currants or fresh cranberries.


Crunchy Bean, Quinoa & Carrot Salad
Serves 4

If you time it right, this salad can be prepared while the quinoa is cooking. Then you won’t only have a quick salad, but it will also be lukewarm, which is how I like it best. If you don’t time it right it will be served cold, but that tastes pretty darn good too.

1 lb (450 g) green and yellow beans, trimmed
2 cups quinoa

8 heirloom carrots, sliced thinly
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup raisins
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped or halved
1/2 cup lingonberries (can be replaced with red or black currants or fresh cranberries)

4 tbsp Dijon mustard, preferably coarse grained
3 tsp honey
juice from 1 medium sized lemon
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp olive oil
sea salt & black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Trim off the edges of the beans and put them in a large sauce pan with boiling water and a pinch of salt. Remove after only 1 minute, using a sieve. Put the water back on the heat. Rinse the quinoa and then add them to the water. Let boil for about 15 minutes, or until you can see the small tails on the quinoa. Meanwhile, add the carrot slices to a small bowl. Pour about 2 tbsp olive oil over them and toss until all are coated in oil. Spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Sprinkle some salt over and bake for about 7-8 minutes (depending on how thinly sliced they are). Keep an eye on the oven so they don’t burn. Remove when the edges are starting to curl. Now it’s time to make the dressing. Whisk together mustard and honey. Add lemon juice, vinegar and oil and whisk for about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper according to taste.

Assembling: Add beans, cooked quinoa, roasted carrots, onion and raisins in a large salad bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss, using your hands, until everything is well mixed. Top with toasted hazelnuts and lingonberries and serve immediately.


  • This looks so good! I love quinoa, but can only find the lighter variety here in Amsterdam. Is there a big difference in taste, you think? Maybe it would be worth to continue my search then:) I laughed when you mentioned talking about not marrying during your first date. But hey: it did work out great, right?!:)
  • I can relate to you guys on so many different levels. I too come from a broken family (sadly not a happily separated one either) and decided very early on that marriage was not going to ever be for me. However after I met Si everything change and for the first time I started to see the beauty of marriage. It was never going to be the big fairytale white wedding for me, as that's just not my style. We always knew we'd get married one day but was in no rush to do so and went on to have our two beautiful children first. It was just before moving overseas to live that we finally decided to make it official. Having been together over 8 years already we felt like we were married already, but there really is something special about making it official. We surprised all our family and friends with a simple little ceremony at our farewell party and it was the most perfect way I could ever imagine doing it. I feel like it has brought us together as a family unit more, even though after 18 months I am still undecided as to whether I will change my name or not... these things take time! If it's not something you ever want to do, don't. It's something that I feel should only ever be done for you, not to please others. All the best xx
  • Maisa
    I have been following your recipes for a few months on Facebook but never had courage to try anything on my own. Yesterday I bought green beans without anything specific on my mind, came home and there was your fantastic recipe for green bean and quinoa salad. And today I had a great lunch! Thank you!!!!!
  • Mrs
    Hi, my two cents over marriage... I'm happily married since 2 years and I'm so glad we did it. I don't love my husband more since we're married, nor it was needed for us to publicly demonstrate our love and committment. We do it every day. But since because we love each other, we are not afraid to take the duties and committments that marriage implies. Moreover marriage gives you a legal framework about your child, your pension, your insurance and bank accounts, what happens in case of accidents (in some countries you're not allowed to visit your partner in hospital because you're not a relation) and so on. And this all over the world. And having the good luck to not have any family pressure (which is not everybody case), you can decide how to celebrate without feeling the pressure of pleasing your family and do what they like and not what you like: a traditional wedding, just the two of you, an exotic wedding in a tropical paradise, the possibilities are endless... And last but not least: ending a long relationship is always painful, divorce or not. Not being married will not make it easier emotionally and certainly it will give more work to family lawyers.
  • Oh gosh you guys!!! Thank you for sharing so many beautiful and personal stories of love and marriage. They are truly heart warming to read. Keep the love celebrations coming!
  • The comments above have warmed my heart - thank you all for sharing so honestly! I'm a twenty-something who's been in a cross-cultural relationship for seven years and married for three. As young marrieds we are an oddity in the Netherlands, and often are asked by curious strangers to explain our How and Why. My transition to this new country was much rockier than I anticipated, and I was glad in those darker moments that my lover and I had expressed our commitment to each other so explicitly. As someone who has lived on three continents and experienced the angst of rootlessness, I can say that I have finally found a home in my marriage and my partnership with my husband.
  • Lovely salad. I guess you like your green beans very crunchy, but not your carrots. I've never had fresh lingonberries-- maybe someday if I visit Scandinavia. Living here in the US Pacific Northwest I think I would substitute huckleberries since they are in the woods right now. As far as marriage, my husband and I have been married for almost 30 years and are still in love. It meant a lot to us to stand up in front of our family and friends to say our vows. Our relationship was becoming part of the greater community and they were there to celebrate and support it, too. It's not only about you two, you will see that when your family is grown and you want to witness and support your daughter's journey with her life partner. As part of the pre-marriage process for the type of wedding we had, we picked three long-time couples we knew whose marriages we respected and met with them to discuss all kinds of questions and possibilities about what we saw for our own relationship. It was thoughtful and actually pretty romantic. If you do get married, I hope you enjoy the process and it's meaningful to you. If not, I hope you take a day as your 'anniversary' anyway so you can have a special time together each year to celebrate your relationship.
    • Hi Mary, thank you for your thoughtful words on marriage. Right now we celebrate the day that we officially became a couple, as our day. And if we don't get married we will definitively keep that tradition. Regarding the carrots. You could absolutely serve them raw in the salad, to add even more crunch to it. But I think the salad becomes more nourishing and complete with roasted carrots. /David
  • I think I'm in the same boat on the marriage thing. I just want to have a big party with amazing food, dancing into the wee hours, champagne, big smiles etc. Marriage (at least in North American culture) seems like such a HUGE thing anymore. I mean you have to meticulously plan the proposal, the ring is a monumental thing for whatever reason, everything has to be just right, there are gift registries etc etc. Love is this beautiful, close and humbling force. Being lucky enough to have it in your life is enough I think. Regardless, have a lovely time! Beautiful salad too. I love mustard-y vinaigrettes with beans. Always a good match.
  • This is a beautiful salad and I just happen to have green beans that need to be used! The reasons to get married are a personal thing and I'm sure you and Luise will find the path that is best for you. My husband and I met young and have been together for 12 years this fall and married for 8. We knew we never wanted to be apart, so marriage was talked about quickly. The wedding and honeymoon were very nice, but I'm most grateful for loving him now more than I did the day we were married. This isn't because we have a marriage certificate, but because we live together side by side, learning things about each other and doing things we love together. I'm sure it is the same way for you and Luise. If you do decide to marry, I can picture you two having the most beautiful, intimate wedding celebration :) Have a wonderful time at your friend's wedding!
  • Tanja
    Man skal helt sikkert ikke gifte sig for at vise omverdenen sin kærligheden til hinanden eller overfor gud - der giver jeg dig ret. Men et eller sted synes jeg, at det er lidt egoistisk ikke at gifte sig, i sær når man har et. For det første er det at gifte sig den nemmeste måde at sikre hinanden på, hvis der skulle ske noget. Dette især i forhold til rettigheder overfor jeres skønne guldklump, men også rent økonomisk (jeg studerer økonomi og går 100% ind for lige rettigheder mellem mænd og kvinder). Ved at gifte sig bliver mand og kvinde også stillet lige i forhold til blandt andet pensionsopsparing - mange kvinder kan ikke spare lige så meget op til pensionen, da de jo har en større andel af tiden på barsel. For det andet synes jeg personligt, at man er forpligtet overfor de børn man får! Måske er det fordi mine stadig er gift, men jeg ved at det kan lade sig gøre. Og ja, mine forældre har også haft hårde tide - men et handler alt sammen om man er villig til at kæmpe for det. I det øjeblik man indgår ægteskab er det jo et symbol på at man er villig til at kæmpe for forholdet. Men kan jo også sagtens kæmpe for forholdet uden at være gift. Jeg kan sagtens følge jer! I dag har man jo langt fra de traditionelle familieformer som vi før har set. Og alt andet lige kærlighed er ikke lig med ægteskab! Skønt med en post, som får tankerne i gang!
  • I love the colourful carrots and the look of this late summer salad. I am getting married in a few weeks time and cannot wait for that beautiful day ;)
  • I've been happily married almost 10 years & have two lovely kids. We were married at 21 (so young!) we're sooo lucky in hindsight that we made the right decision! I recommend marriage (to the right person) it's awesome.
  • Sytske
    First of all, love the salad! Going to try a variation of it, I am sure. I am a happily married woman, we've been married for almost 4,5 years, and have been together for almost 9,5 years. We got married ofcourse because we love each other. We knew very early in the relationship that we wanted to be together when we are old. But the main reason we got married was very practical. My (now) husband was diagnosed with chronic leukemia and we wanted everything to be arranged for if something happened. So by marrying, I would have no problem getting his benefits if it turned out for the worse. Not a very romantic reason. But my parents married before my dad had to go into the army, because married couples got more money than unmarried couples.. Maybe the unromantic reason runs in the family :-) But I have great examples, this year my parents ar married 40 (!) years, and they are still so happy together. And my husbands parents are married for 33 years. Parents of my friends are also still together. So i grew up in a happily married environment. But I don't believe it's a must. My brothers and sisters are not married, but some do have children and I do think that is what really means you love eachother. But being a beautifull bride, a party just for you and your love. Is also a wonderfull thing.
  • Beautiful salad! Perfect for summer with gorgeous beans and all the other ingredients.Mustard dressing is definitely a perfect match for beans.
  • This salad looks of my favorite hobbies is looking at pictures of i happen to be in love with your blog! As for the marriage thing...i was the typical Princess on my wedding day..15 years ago...big poofy dress, big party, too many pictures to count! I was in my mid-twenties...from a divorced family...yadada. 15 years later, after going through some really rough ups and downs, more downs than ups, really; my husband threw me a huge surprise anniversary party and we renewed our vows. It was unforgettable, and much, much more meaningful than our first wedding. As our minister said after the renewal ceremony, "when you guys get married in your twenties, you have no idea what you are sAying i-do to." and, boy was he right! I couldnt feel more blessed to have my husband in my, as for you and Luise...i agree with the others, follow your will never steer you wrong!
  • I, too, like a good grainy mustard dressing. And I love that you added lingonberries! They certainly are charmingly Scandinavian and I miss eating them. I totally hear where you are coming from about growing up in the 80s and having divorced parents. I am certainly grateful that divorce exists as a means of getting out of an unhappy marriage (unlike in the old Hollywood movies where women took trains to Mexico to get divorces or in India where the divorce rate is something crazy like 1 or 2% but where many couples live estranged instead as divorce is still a taboo). That said, I am also grateful that marriage and weddings have greatly evolved. They seem to have become more personal over the years and less stiff. They are about celebrating and having fun instead of merely following tradition. Besides love, marriage entails a lot of practical matters. Scandinavia is quite evolved in this matter especially in Sweden with the concept of sambo. However, in a lot of countries getting married makes a huge different financially and legally. I'm Canadian and my partner is German. We live in Germany and if we were to get married he would save a good 600 euro a month on taxes! Marriage in Germany (as well in Canada) means a nice tax-break. It also resolves visa issues for partners with different nationalities. We've been together for seven years. To be honest, if we shared one nationality we'd probably not even consider marriage as an option. However, it certainly makes paperwork easier which makes the idea quite tempting. And if we get married we might as well celebrate. But also who says that big parties celebrating love are reserved for marriage? You can always throw a big bash with lots of friends and family and lots of food to celebrate your relationship together, your life together and your family together. Why not?
  • What a gorgeous end-of-summer salad! My husband and I have been married for nine years. At first I thought it was an unnecessary convention, but I will never forget our wedding day, surrounded by all the people we love, who came because they wanted to wish us well. I am still grateful to them for their warm show of support for our relationship... even if the true commitment that my husband and I have to each other remains very private.
  • Danielle
    Hi David and Louise, first of all Thank you for your great posts. I personally feel that marriage is something within, for you and the other. It has nothing to do with party, dresses and best day of your goodness, what about the others day left ;) It is not only about being in love, more about trust in being naked-blanko to another person and yourself. I married 12 yrs ago, and we didn't need the day with all the formal stuff, that was more to please the family that time.Though we kind of married the day we gave each other rings made from stone, cheaply bought on a market, years before on a holiday together. Marriage is not a tattoo nor romantic bliss to me and as Xander is contract wise sometimes better in case of death, housing etc. Apart from that we share our precious time of life on earth with the other, to care, support and to grow. You def don't need formal paperwork for that. (And why should you say this only once on your marriage day?) So, as I read from your posts, I imagine for your family, a very natural setting were two people together with their child, tell each other what they believe in, in front of a small group of best friends, to celebrate life, love, trust, support and care with their friends and especially the 3 of you. And you can do this every year as you wish,over and over again, with your great home made dinner.... it will def influence a lot of other people to celebrate love regularly as well :)
  • This salad looks just perfect for this time right now. its slowly getting colder and fall is arriving.... also in austria! It also looks so vibrant :) Marriage nowadays has become a totally different "commitment" than a couple of decades ago and while some people dont like the concept at all anymore , some others still love the idea of bonding for a life long. A marriage is something so romantic and i believe if you have found the right person and it feels right... nothing more beautiful than a wedding!
  • Hello David and Louise. Again, it breaks me heart no to being able to reach for those Swedish berries, here in London. I met my husband 12 years ago, we've been together for 8 years and got married last June! Whatever the reasons for getting married I think in the end it will always have to be because you want, and not to make parents or friends happy. I wasn't expecting a proposal, it wasn't something we had talked about, so, it was a complete surprise. For me, I am also scared because my parents have been divorce ever since I was a child. Not his parents, his parents are still together, but when the proposal came, it just felt right, I lost all my fears and thought that I can learn with my parents's situation . Before the proposal I always knew he was the one and wanted to live together forever, but now, somehow it makes us closer, it's not like a heavy burden that you have to carry. Life's the same, like it always was with him: beautiful, giving support to each other, laughing together, admiring each other. If this is not the way it is before the wedding, it's not a wedding that will change that. Soon now I hope to have some miniature Adidas or crocs too!!
  • Xander
    Beautiful salad. I am married and have been for 13 years. I got married because I thought you ought if you loved each other. Since then I have redefined how I view marriages and relationships. I think people who want to be together should. For as long as they want. I do not think my relationship is more or less successful than any other just because it lasted for a while. When a relationship ends it doesn't prove failure but closure. A relationship can be very successful and happy but last for less than a lifetime. I am happy I am married to my sweetheart but if our love faded or changed I would still regard the marriage as a success even if it ended before our lives did. I'd probably remarry any other great love. Not because of the wedding. I'm not that into them. But because it gives a great pre-package of legal rights that is hard to match in common contracts. I want my love to be my closest person legally if anything happens. For now. If I don't want it I'll get a divorce. If a relationship is happy or not for a lifetime is not defined by the legality but the parties. And a relationship is not defined by the ups and downs but how you communicate during them.
    • tunie
      Oh this is so well said, thank you. Very nice and helpful to hear from a man who has thought about it carefully.
  • First time, long time. Just be happy. No wedding? No problem. My now husband and I waited 10 years. All that time I kept thinking my other friends were rushing in to it. But when we finally got married, it was the best! Mexico, private villa, the ocean, street carts, mariachi, fresly pressed churros, cheaper than a boring country club wedding in the states, so worth it. Take your time and eventually (or never) make it what you want!
  • On the marriage situation, I'm very happily married for exactly 5 years now, our anniversary was last saturday. And we are together for 9 years, living in one place for 8 and spending our days together, since we both work from home. I believe I qualify for giving marriage advices :)) So, here are a few things to consider before deciding not to get married: * the day of the wedding is the best day ever! Even Deo says so (my husband) * you will make your parents extremely happy (we are Europeans, if that matters) * you will have a honey moon, which you may turn into a tradition (we travel abroad every year as a new honey moon, it's a tradition we created for ourselves, but we love it) * every woman wants to be a bride, even if Luise says she don't want to, don't trust her :)) * you will have all legal rights in front of banks, the country administration, etc for just about anything * and finally, I believe Elsa will be the cutest flower girl ever :)
    • aninalu
      I'm a woman.. I don't want a wedding. No seriously. Maybe I want to get married once, but it won't be for the ceremony, the dress, the cake, the party, the attention or all that other stuff. It's just not for me. I find it all to be.. too much. People are diffrent. If you want a dress and a party and a "honeymoon", who says you can't have that, if you don't want to get married? Who says it will be less meaningful, if you don't feel like signing a contract (symbolically and legally)?
  • This recipes is so fresh and delicious! It reminds me of a Greek bean, tomato and potato salad my mother made when I was a child. As for love & marriage "follow the beat of your own drum".
  • Let me first start by saying how much I love reading your stories and recipes, and both me and my husband have been enjoying the benefits of your recipes for over a year now! We just celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary, and I could not be a more happily married woman. I love everything about marriage. I love the symbol of what it means for us and our family (we have 2 little boys). I was fortunate enough to have a beautiful example of marriage from my parents who just celebrated their 26 year wedding anniversary. You both have chosen to spend your lives together enjoying every moment with each other and your precious little girl. You live the life of a married couple despite the fact that you are not "legally" married, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that. But I do think weddings are a beautiful and public display of your commitment to each other, and could not even imagine how beautiful your wedding would be. Either way, you love each other and that is all that matters. But I can assure you, when you have that love, legally marrying someone only makes life better! Marriage really can be a beautiful thing.
  • Beautiful salad! My boyfriend and I both come from happy, intact families, so are optimistic about forever, but even then we don't feel the need to marry. Still, people change their minds, so who knows. Sounds like you're warming a little to the idea!
  • I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought. If you're not into marriage, maybe someday you could just have a big party with all your friends and family there, and you could say some nice words to each other. I'm married, and it works for me and makes me happy, but it's understandably not for everyone!
  • emily
    That looks like a perfect August vegetable salad. I am not married either, but when I meet the right one, I do hope I will be. I am just a sucker for romance, and I don't think there is anything more romantic than to get married.
  • This looks yummy as well as beautiful. Where do you find fresh lingonberries?
    • Hi Julie, since we live in Sweden we find fresh lingonberries in all the forests outside of Stockholm. If you can't find lingonberries, they can be replaced with currants, cranberries or fresh huckleberries. /David

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