I’m always on the lookout for fabulous side dishes. I want simple but unique. Anything unusual that boasts fresh, colorful vegetables works for me, especially when combined with other fresh goodies like fresh or dried fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, or whole grains. That’s why last night I chose Green Beans with Pecans and Clementine Dressing. I love green beans, I love pecans and I love clementines!
Green beans are also known as snap beans, pole beans or string beans, although the thin string that runs down the side of the bean is rarely found in modern varieties. The thin, French version is called haricots verts. Although mostly green, there are other varieties of “green” beans that are yellow, red, whitish-green and even streaked with color. Green beans are delicious in salads, main dishes, sides, soups, stews and snacks. They can be eaten raw or cooked, diced or whole. These are my favorite tips and recipes:
- Lightly steam. Add to leafy green or vegetable salads or try one of our salad ideas:
- Greens and Green Beans Salad with Blueberry Dressing
- Green Beans with Goat Cheese Dressing
- Three-Bean Salad
- Grilled Corn Salad with Green Beans and Tomatoes
- Crab Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Make a salad with sliced mango, avocado and green beans. Add favorite vinaigrette (Champagne or white wine would be nice).
- Serve tuna or egg salad over a bed of steamed green beans, or add green beans directly to the salad.
- Steam or sauté; toss with chopped nuts, garlic, green onions or chives. Add a squeeze of lemon juice for just the right finish.
- If you’re a curry lover, here are a couple of ideas:
- Use raw or lightly steamed green beans as dippers along with cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers and celery. Great with bean dip, tofu or sour cream dips and hummus. Enjoy these Steamed Green Beans with Carrot-Dill Dip.
- Add cut green beans to soups, stews, or chowders. Green beans cooked in vegetable broth, pureed, seasoned and topped with chives and a lemon slice is a great beginning to a summertime meal.
- Add to stir fries. This Beef and Green Bean Stir Fry is simple and delicious.
- Green Beans with Mint and Satsumas is another awesome, unique side dish.
- Toss with pasta or favorite noodles. Add olive oil and parmesan cheese or keep it very low fat by tossing with one of our delicious no-oil-added salad dressings.
- Pickle lovers will rejoice over these Pickled Cajun Green Beans and Carrots.
- Green beans compliment vegetarian proteins like tofu, tempeh or legumes as well as meats, fish, poultry and seafood. Crumb-Topped Tilapia with Green Beans is made with homemade bread crumbs and almonds.
- Top sandwiches with raw or steamed green beans. My personal favorite is green bean, tomato, parsley, and feta tossed with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano stuffed to the gills in fresh warm pita bread.
When shopping, look for smooth, firm green beans, no brown or soft spots and no bruises. Remember, they should snap easily. Keep them in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to a week. For easy backup, frozen green beans, either whole or cut, come in super handy.
Got a great green bean recipe? Let me know!