Fresh Green Bean Recipe
(With a Surprise ingredient!)
When you're swamped with garden/market produce, a fresh green bean recipe that's both easy and enticing can really save the day. In the first recipe below, we’ve combined green beans with grape tomatoes and a “surprise” ingredient: jicama. Not only do these three taste great together, but they also create a lovely combination of colors in the salad bowl.
The second recipe deliciously rescues beans gone a bit past their prime—remaining on the vine too long, perhaps, or just lurking in the refrigerator until some of their crispness dissipates. Best of all, you can whip it up in a flash.
Green Bean Salad
If you’re unacquainted
with jicama, you may simply think of it as a rather odd-looking brown
tuber. In fact, you may routinely pass it by when shopping in your local
produce markets. Next time you see one, take a chance!
Because, after peeling its rough brown skin, you’ll find a crisp white
veggie whose bright taste may surprise and delight you. (We love it
thin-sliced and tossed with lemon or lime juice and freshly ground black
But I digress. You're here for a salad recipe, and here it is.
- 1 pound thin green beans (or mature beans, frenched)
- 1½ cup peeled and julienned jicama
- 1 cup grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes, halved)
- 3-4 tablespoons lite olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- A dash or two of tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
- Salt, pepper (freshly ground), and herbs to taste; we often toss in a half-teaspoon or so of Italian herbs.
- Optional: Chopped chives or green onions as a garnish. We
don’t do that ourselves, as we dislike their effect on the jicama’s
fresh taste. You may decide otherwise.
- Trim the green beans and halve them crosswise. Or French them if using mature beans.
- Blanch in boiling water until al dente (no more than 3 minutes, if that).
- Drain and plunge into an icewater bath. When chilled down, drain and pat dry.
- Place the olive oil and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and whisk thoroughly.
- Add green beans, tomatoes, and jicama. Toss well and serve. Or
refrigerate (tightly covered) for 30 minutes or so before serving.
To make this an entrée salad, expand the dressing slightly, and toss in seitan chunks or *sautéed tofu.
*Preparation note: click on the link for tips on giving your tofu a chewier texture, which you may find you prefer to the original. (How to cook tofu: freeze and squeeze.) It certainly turned my own attitude around.
Green Bean Paté
Although we’ve kept this recipe on the lighter side in case of weight concerns, you may not even notice the difference. Plus, it's a great way to get some veggies down the hatch.
- ½ pound *green beans, steamed just until tender and blanched in ice water (see preparation note)
- 1 tablespoon chopped green chiles
- 1 hard-boiled egg), chopped coarsely
- 2 or 3 chopped shallots, or substitute a little minced garlic or even garlic powder if you're in a hurry
- A few sprinkles of oregano
- 1 tablespoon or less of olive oil
- ¾ cup sliced or slivered almonds
- Salt to taste—not too much, not too little
- ¼ to ½ black pepper, preferably freshly ground
- As the beans are steaming and the egg's boiling, sautée the chopped shallots (or onion) in the olive oil until very soft.
- When the beans are tender, drain and plunge into an ice-water bath; drain thoroughly again and pat dry.
- Combine the beans, boiled egg, and shallots in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Then add the remaining ingredients and pulse again until you have the consistency you want. If the mixture seems too dry, add in a little lemon juice, salsa, or dry white wine.
- Mound on a small platter or serving dish.
- Serve with toasted pita triangles, tortilla chips, raw veggies...or even potato chips (if you dip carefully).
*Preparation note: If you use frozen beans, microwave them just until tender. Then, drain and squeeze out the excess juice either with an actual press or by pressing the beans between absorbent towels. Otherwise, the paté may turn out too juicy.
Try one of these soon, if you can, as they're among the better (easy) fresh green bean recipes I've eaten lately. Well, besides the dish "Chef Dan" and I had last night, when he sautéed some green beans and fresh spinach as a bed for linguini tossed with pesto and pine nuts. And that's the great thing about veggies in general, isn't it? They lend themselves to endless improvisation.
Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.
Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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