Fresh green beans are a summer treasure

This tender vegetable is delicious raw as well as a tasty ingredient in a wide variety of cooked meals

    Fresh green beans are a true treasure of summer.
    They are in season now, providing the opportunity to eat them raw in hand. Just pick them, give them a quick wash and munch on them.
    But, of course, they are also delicious when cooked — whether boiled, steamed or grilled.
    Green beans are often used in stir fries, stews, salads and curries, and, of course, traditional green bean casserole. Update this dish by using fresh green beans, a homemade creamy mushroom soup and the familiar fried onion topping.
    Green beans are widely used as a side dish, on their own or mixed with other vegetables or enhanced with everything from herbs to citrus juices and zest.
    Green beans, also called snap beans or French beans, mix well with cheese, nuts, mushroom, seafood, meat and many other foods.
    They are low in calories and are a good source of vitamins, minerals and plant-derived micronutrients.
    They are a rich source of dietary fiber and vitamin A, as well as flavonoids such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta-carotene.
    Snap beans are a good source of folates. vitamin B6, thiamin (vitamin B-1), and vitamin C and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium, which are essential for body metabolism.
    When selecting beans, avoid those that are limp or overly mature with tough skin. Select tender, long, firm but flexible beans that make a snap when broken. Make sure they are bright green.
    Store them in a perforated plastic bag kept inside the refrigerator at high relative humidity. Green beans keep well for as long as a week.
    Wash raw beans in cold water and, just before using, remove the strings and trim the ends.
    Following are a few green bean recipes from healthyseasonalrecipes.com.

 

healthyseasonalrecipes.com

Green Beans With Cranberries, Bacon and Goat Cheese

2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
6 slices bacon
1 cup fresh cranberries
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Salt
Pepper

    In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove bacon from the pan and set aside, but leave the grease in the pan.
    Place green beans in the pan and sauté  three to five minutes, tossing occasionally, until the green beans start to char. Cover the skillet and steam five to seven minutes.
    Add the cranberries and sauté, uncovered, for two minutes, until cranberries are warmed through and start to burst. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Plate the green beans with the cranberries, then crumble the goat cheese and bacon on top and serve warm.
    Makes eight to 10 servings.

 

Za’atar Roasted Carrots and Green Beans

1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced vertically
1 pound green beans, trimmed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons za’atar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
 
    Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees and have two large baking sheets ready to go.
    Fill a large bowl or resealable plastic bag with carrots and another with green beans.Drizzle each bowl with two tablespoons  olive oil, one tablespoon za’atar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss each to coat, then spread each on one of two separate baking sheets.
    Roast vegetables in a 425-degree oven and roast until nicely browned: 15 to 20 minutes for the green beans and 20 to 25 minutes for the carrots.
    Remove from the oven and serve separately or in one dish.
    If carrots are small, you may leave them whole. If they are larger, slice vertically so they are about the same size.
    Makes eight servings.

 

Roasted String Bean, Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Ravioli Salad
 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound string beans, trimmed
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon Tuscan or Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt
Black pepper
1/2 pound sweet potato, quinoa and kale ravioli
1/2 pound mozzarella balls, quartered
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted

    In a large bowl, toss the olive oil, string beans, cherry tomatoes, Tuscan seasoning, red pepper flakes and a hearty pinch of salt and black pepper. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven about 20 minutes, until beans are starting to brown and tomatoes are starting to burst. Set aside.
    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ravioli in the water according to package directions. Drain.
    In a large bowl, toss together roasted vegetables, ravioli, mozzarella and basil. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Top with the pistachios and serve.
    Makes three to four servings.

 

Fresh Green Beans With Bacon, Mushrooms and Herbs

1 pound thin green beans, trimmed
3 strips bacon
1 large shallot, minced
12 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook about two minutes, until tender-crisp. Drain, then immediately transfer beans to a bowl of ice water. Drain the beans again and set aside.
    Place bacon in a large skillet over medium heat and cook until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel, then crumble the bacon and set aside.
    Discard all but 1 teaspoon of the bacon fat. Add olive oil to the bacon fat and turn to medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms and cook two to three minutes, until tender. Add green beans and cook one to two minutes, stirring frequently.
    Add parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cook an additional minute, then add the bacon.
    Serve hot or at room temperature.
    Makes six servings.

 

Sriracha Honey Roasted Green Beans

1 pound fresh green beans, washed and patted dry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

    In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, sriracha and pepper. Pour over the beans and toss well to coat.
    Spread the beans on a Silpat or foil-lined baking sheet and roast in a 450-degree oven for eight to 12 minutes, until beans are tender and the edges start to shrivel. Serve hot.
    Makes two to four servings.

Green Beans With Basil Viniagrette

1 pound green beans, stem end trimmed off
1 small clove garlic, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water for an ice bath. Place green beans in boiling water, stir to submerge and cook three to four minutes, until beans are crisp tender. Drain, then transfer to the ice bath. Let sit in ice bath until chilled, drain and transfer to serving platter.
    Chop garlic, then sprinkle with salt and continue to chop and mash with the side of a chef’s knife until it forms a paste.
    Puree basil, olive oil, vinegar, Dijon and the garlic-salt mixture in a blender or mini-prep food processor until smooth.
    Pour dressing over the green beans and grind pepper over to taste.

 

Green Beans and Corn
 
1 small shallot, minced
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 cup corn kernels
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Freshly ground pepper

    Combine shallot, oil, vinegar and salt in a jar and set aside.
    Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Place green beans in basket, then top with corn. Cover and steam three to four minutes, until beans are bright green and crisp-tender. Remove the steamer and spread vegetables out on a large platter. Shake the dressing to blend and drizzle over the vegetables. Top with basil and pepper.
    Serve hot or cold.

 

 

Szechuan Green Beans With Ground Pork

1-1/2 cups medium grain rice, uncooked
1 pound fresh green beans
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon plus a drizzle vegetable, peanut or olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or finely minced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
4 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red chile pepper flakes
Sea salt
Ground white pepper

    Combine rice with three scant cups water and a big pinch of salt in a large pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to its lowest setting for 15 minutes. Turn off and run a fork through the rice.
    Bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Snap the ends off the green beans and cut in half. Place in boiling water and simmer three minutes, until just al dente. Drain immediately.
    Heat oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Add pork and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and white pepper. Cook, breaking up meat, about five minutes, until browned through. Drain any grease.
    Add another drizzle of oil to the pan, then return pork to the pan and add grated garlic. Stir for 30 seconds, then add hot drained green beans. Add remaining ingredients and stir to until everything is well coated. Cook over medium heat for three to five minutes, stirring most of the time. Taste and adjust seasonings.
    Serve over the hot rice.
    Makes four servings.

 

Balsamic Green Beans

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound green beans, trimmed

    Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 to 90 seconds, stirring until the garlic just barely shows signs of turning brown. Immediately pour into a large mixing bowl.
    Place one to two inches of water in a large pot fitted with a steamer, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and cook four to five minutes, covered, until beans are crisp tender.
    Transfer green beans to the bowl. Add walnuts, balsamic and salt and toss to coat.

 

 

Chicken and Green Bean Stir Fry

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons. minced fresh ginger
1 chicken breast, sliced thinly
3 cups green beans
4 tablespoons. mirin
2 tablespoons. hoisin sauce
1 teaspoons soy sauce
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Pinch of white pepper
Fresh mint, for garnish
1 lime
2 cups cooked jasmine rice

    Heat oils in a wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and cook one minute. Add chicken, two tablespoons mirin and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir-fry two to three minutes, until chicken no longer has any pink on the surface. Remove from wok and set aside.
    Add green beans, remaining mirin and a pinch of salt and pepper to the wok. Add a little more oil if needed. Saute three minutes, until the beans are crisp-tender.
    Return chicken to the wok, along with hoisin and soy sauce. Stir-fry one minute to coat. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh mint.
    Makes two servings.

 

 

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