It’s no secret that most Americans don’t incorporate enough fruits and vegetables into their diets. Green beans are a year-round solution for adding more veggies to your meals. They’re high in fiber, low in sodium, and a good source of folate, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and other essential nutrients. Cooks steam them, roast them, blanch them, or toss them into a salad. Home cooks can add ingredients to elevate green bean dishes, but this vegetable is just as delicious with simple seasonings. The possibilities and variations for green bean recipes are endless.
Ask most professional chefs, and they’ll say the best-tasting vegetable recipes start with fresh vegetables. If you don’t have access to a farmer’s market, you’ll usually find a selection of fresh green beans in your grocer’s produce department. Choose those with a vibrant green color that are firm and free of blemishes or cuts. Pick slender, firm beans that snap easily. Busy households may not always have fresh green beans on hand. Frozen versions work just fine. Thaw them before cooking or add them to your favorite recipe, but don’t let them get warm or soggy. Canned green beans are readily available, and many home cooks have used them for generations. However, canned green beans have already been cooked, and salt was added during the canning process. Adjust seasoning and cooking times to avoid overly salty, mushy beans.
Whether you call them green beans, snap beans, or string beans, there are a wide variety of seasonings that enhance their flavor. Garlic, onion, basil, and lemon are popular choices. Try seasoning them with a chili powder blend to create a savory dish with a little heat. Most chili powders are a combination of chili peppers, cumin, oregano, and other herbs and spices that can create new flavor enhancements for your green bean dishes. Pesto is a blend of olive oil, basil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Toss it into steamed or roasted green beans for a flavorful side dish. Dress up your green beans with sauteed mushrooms, tiny bits of bacon or chorizo, capers, almonds, or thyme.
For many American households, the classic green bean casserole is as much of a comfort food as homemade mashed potatoes. But instead of using canned cream of mushroom soup, this upgraded recipe uses a creamy, homemade sauce made with fresh mushrooms sauteed in canola oil with chopped onion. Add one tablespoon of flour to the onions and mushrooms and cook for one-minute stirring constantly. To make the creamy sauce, use one cup of chicken stock and two tablespoons of heavy cream. Cook until smooth, but thickened, between one and three minutes. Blanch the green beans in boiling water. Arrange them in a baking dish and spoon the prepared sauce over the beans. Top with panko crumbs and grated parmesan cheese. Spray the top with cooking spray to crisp up the panko-and-cheese topping. Broil for one to two minutes, until golden brown.
One of the easiest ways to prepare green beans is to roast them in the oven. Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil or line it with parchment paper. Arrange a single layer of uncooked green beans on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, ground pepper, finely chopped fresh garlic, parmesan or romano cheese. Roast for about 20 minutes in a 425-degree oven. Add season to taste if needed.
Some people don’t like vegetables and refuse to eat them. Whether it’s the texture or the taste they dislike, flavorful blistered green beans will change their minds. Based on a Sichuan-style string bean dish, you’ll cook these green beans in oil until brown on all sides, until they’re almost crunchy. Resist the urge to over-stir. The beans will look wrinkled and blistered when done. Add in six sliced garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Capers, little flower buds that add a combination of salt and lemon flavors, enhance the dish even more. Feel free to eat these delights with your fingers.
Bacon may not make the list of healthiest foods, but it does add a delicious, smoky flavor to vegetables. These green bean bundles, wrapped in bacon and coated with butter, garlic, and brown sugar are a perfect side dish for a special occasion, holiday dinner, or a middle-of-the-week treat. Blanch the green beans first by dipping them in boiling water for about three minutes to make them tender. Wrap 8 to 10 green beans with a slice of cooked bacon and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet line, with the bacon seam-side down. Mix melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and garlic together to drizzle over the bundles before roasting. Roast for about 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
Substitute these tantalizing green bean fries for french fries, and you may boycott the potato version altogether. These gems taste best when made from fresh, crunchy green beans. Less-than-fresh or more mature green beans will result in stringy, chewy fries. Beat two eggs in a bowl. In a second bowl, add ½ cup of flour. In a third bowl, mix one cup of panko crumbs, ½ cup of parmesan cheese, garlic salt, and ground pepper. Wash and dry the beans. Dip first in flour, then the eggs, then the panko mixture. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes at 425 degrees until they are crispy and golden-brown. Serve with a dipping sauce if desired.
Not only is this vinaigrette version tasty, but you can also store leftovers in the refrigerator for a few days for an enhanced, bread-and-butter pickle-like flavor. First, quick-blanch green beans for a few minutes in salted boiling water until bright green and tender. Drain and transfer them into a bowl of ice water. This stops the cooking and locks in that beautiful bright green color and crispiness. Towel dry the beans after they’ve cooled. Create a vinaigrette using red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, salt, dijon mustard, olive oil, and honey. Whisk vigorously in a bowl. Toss a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette with the cooked green beans.
For many of us, simpler is sometimes better when it comes to preparing vegetable side dishes. Steaming green beans is a quick-and-easy method of cooking that preserves the nutritional content and the vivid green color. If using fresh green beans, wash thoroughly and trim off the stem ends. Fill a medium or large pot with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, and then set a steamer basket or colander inside. Add the green beans to the basket and steam for about five to seven minutes. Pour out the water, add butter to the steamed green beans and heat. Season to taste with salt, and pepper or one teaspoon of lemon juice and some minced parsley.
Forget what you’ve learned about serving green beans and preserving their bright green color if you choose this recipe. Southern-style cooks prepare fresh green beans in a big pot in chicken broth, slowly, over low heat, until they are no longer a bright green. The seasonings are simple: salt, garlic powder, and black pepper are all that’s necessary. Some cooks add a few red pepper flakes to add a little kick. Cripsy, cooked bacon is the co-star of this popular green bean dish. Cooks add butter, stir it until it melts, then add the cooked bacon to complete this traditional, delicious side dish.
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