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green beans

My family likes green beans but sadly I have been very uncreative with them. My best green bean dish consists of blanched green beans sauteed in a little butter, freshly ground salt and pepper, lemon juice and scallions. Do you have any favorites? Just as a side note, my preference is to not add a lot of calories, so I would prefer not to add crumbled bacon, etc. Thank you.

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  1. You can make them Southern-style, but without something porky, they won't be the same. What you'd want to do is cook those green beans (cut in half lengthwide and topped) in water w/ a little salt for at least an hour. (covered.) Add sauteed onions, and cook another half hour. Taste for salt and pepper. Now add quartered new potatoes; just place them atop; cover the pan and cook until potatoes are completely tender - skins should be starting to pull off. Toss it all together, taste again for salt, drain extra liquid; add a dab of good butter and just a dash of vinegar. Serve at table w/ hot pepper vinegar so people can add more.
    Ordinarily, you'd be doing this by stewing the beans down with some ham hocks or salt pork or bacon and following these delicious. I can't believe how hungry this just made me.

    1. My favorite is with glazed chestnuts but I think it's more about the glazed chestnuts than the green beans. It uses 1/4 c butter but you can cut that substantially if you want:


      1. I like to make them the way you do "sweetpotato", except minus the scallions & lemon juice & adding a goodly amount of dried or fresh-chopped Marjoram to taste. Marjoram is my favorite "go to" herb for fresh green beans - whether bush, pole, wax, or flat romano/runner type.

        1. The Ritz in Paris makes their green beans by sauteeing them in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper until they're bright green (but still crisp) -- then they add a little chicken or veal stock and braise another 5 minutes until done. *delicious* and easy.

          You can also roast or grill green beans -- toss in olive oil, and spread out in a single layer on a roasting pan -- oven roast at about 375 until they begin to color just a little and are crisp-tender (or to your taste) -- the dry heat brings out an entirely different flavor profile that is just delicious.

          We usually eat the skinny little ones (haricots verts) steamed lightly and tossed with a little butter. Probably our all-time favorite.

          But I make them Southern style (see mamachef's post above) just because we like 'em that way.

          (Mamachef, you got me, too...might have to find some beans tomorrow.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunshine842

            Yup, you can take the girl out of the south, but not the south out of the girl: gotta have green beans cooked to death, but they're delicious! Oh, also needs a spoonful of bacon fat...

          2. Try them Szechuan style--stir fry til barely tender, add some fish sauce and Thai sweet chili paste. For a main dish version, add ground pork and serve with rice.

            1. I like to prepare them two ways.
              1. Boil until tender/crisp, drain, then into a pan with some butter. Toss for a few minutes, mix in some chopped nuts (we like peanuts) and serve.
              2. Boil until tender crisp, drain, set aside. Chop several slices of pepper bacon and cook slowly until cooked through but not quite crisp. Add the beans, toss beans and bacon together; serve.

              1 Reply
              1. re: todao

                Love the peanuts instead of sliced almonds (classic). And I forgot to mention this above, but if you brown your butter, you will never look back. It's practically magic on any green vegetable.

              2. I love them roasted with garlic and just a smidgen of olive oil.

                1 Reply
                1. re: magiesmom

                  I'm with you on the garlic!! I cook fresh green beans in a little water and salt till just done, drain them, throw in a blob of butter (2 Tbsps.) and a sprinkle of garlic powder, mix well, cover and let the butter melt, stir again and serve. Yum! Either that or throw in 2 cloves of chopped garlic while cooking the beans, then drain and add butter. Again, YUM!

                2. When you are short on time or just not up for a big production, steam them and sprinkle with Trafer Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute, which is salt-free and not spicy hot. It has lemon, black pepper, and a variety of other herbs/spices. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter. Or steam and drizzle with just a tiny bit of your favorite vinaigrette or other non-chunky dressing (Ranch is good). Stir to coat.

                  For the Chinese buffet style green beans, steam slightly, then stirfry with minced garlic. Add soy or teriyaki sauce, some chile heat if you like, and a few drops of toasted sesame oil.

                  1. Ingen no goma ae (green beans with a sesame dressing). Easy to make in advance and serve at room temperature. The sesame dressing is made of roasted, ground sesame seeds, soy and sugar (and sometimes a bit of dashi). You can use the dressing with spinach, broccoli rabe and asparagus, etc.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BigSal

                      Oh my goodness, that dressing sounds like it would be absolutely delicious on sliced peeled cucumber, too - sort of a sunumono.

                    2. i love them room temp with a dijon/lemon vinaigrette, with minced shallots. but, truth be told, i love that dressing on just about anything, from salads to cold boiled potatoes. a sherry vinegar with minced garlic over still warm steamed beans would be good too. also, a soy/orange/sesame oil/mayo dressing would be nice, with toasted sesame seeds strewn over.

                      1. I think the favorite preparation in our house is a quick blanch and then an even quicker stir fry with some oyster sauce, garlic, and a little bit of sugar to give it a little bit of caramelized yum. My kids can easily eat a pound of them between the two.

                        1. I like them sauteed in olive oil until burnt - the only food I like with anything resembling char. Just put them in the pan and don't stir but once or twice. Add lots of chunky salt and it's done.

                          With that as my starting point, if I have the ingredients or inclination, I'll also add fresh garlic and/or rosemary, crimini mushrooms, and/or goat cheese. We have them probably 3 times a week in any of these combos.

                          1. If I'm not roasting, I'm steaming and tossing in a mix of dijon, cider vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil, S&P, and a little sugar.

                            1. Do you enjoy Indian food? There are many delicious ways of cooking different kinds of green bean in Indian cuisine. One of my favourites is from Kerala. Chop the beans into 1-2 inch lengths and cook until half cooked with a little turmeric and salt. Drain. Then heat a tablespoon or two of coconut oil (make sure it smells of coconut and is not just a bland white fat - otherwise there is no point in using it). When hot add a couple of tablespoons of thinly sliced coconut pieces and 2 dried red chillies. The coconut pieces are optional but really delicious. Fry until the coconut pieces colour a little. Then add a 2 or 3 thinly sliced (half moons) shallots and 5 or 6 curry leaves, stir and fry for a minute or so. Add the beans and chilli powder to taste (check for salt too). Stir and fry until the beans are tender but with a slight crispness from frying. Serve hot.

                              8 Replies
                                1. re: chowser

                                  Please do try it, it's a great dish. Note that the coconut pieces should be from a fresh coconut, not dried coconut pieces.

                                  1. re: Muchlove

                                    Great memories of being in a resort in Kerala. The mali shimmied up a coconut palm, "harvested" one, then handed it off to the kitchen. I hung around the kitchen long enough to get a big chunk raw before it got ground into the green bean dish. The finished dish got a goodly splash of buttermilk. Just delicious.

                                2. re: Muchlove

                                  +1 on the Green Beans Thoran -- One of the great green bean dishes in the world.

                                  I brown curry leaves (10 or so per pound of beans) and split black gram or channa dal along with dried red chilies when tempering the oil, and toss in frozen ground coconut at the very end of cooking, just to heat it through. (Just make sure the frozen ground coconut is unsweetened).

                                  1. re: ninrn

                                    Thoran is also delicious with green beans but for the record, the recipe I gave was for a dish called mezhukkupuratti.

                                    1. re: Muchlove

                                      Thanks for the correction, Muchlove. Aside from the coconut being sliced and, I guess, the addition of shallots, your dish sounded a lot like thoran to me. Maybe because in the part of Kerala where I'm from we don't add coconut to mezhukkupuratti. Or maybe I just have thoran on the brain. I make it at least once a week. I'm definitely going to try green bean mezhukkupuratti your way next time, though.

                                      1. re: ninrn

                                        Hey I wasn't sniping at you, just wanted to clear up confusion. And I'm not claiming to be an expert here! I am pretty sure it is a central Kerala dish. It is similar to thoran but the seasonings are simpler and actually the coconut pieces (not grated) are optional. Also texture is different, it has more of a "fried" feel to it IMO, not oily but different texture.

                                        incidentally I have always used mustard seeds in thoran but I see that you don't. Is this common in your part of Kerala?

                                        1. re: Muchlove

                                          No worries. Your mezhukkupuratti sounds much better than mine, and that's the perfect description of the difference between that and a thoran. "Mezhukkupuratti" means 'spread (purrati) with grease (mezhukku)' and that's the way mine usually comes out. And, yes, I do use mustard seeds in thoran, just forgot to put them in the post.

                                3. My son-in-law, granddaughter, and I prefer them raw, if they're good and fresh. Very easy to prepare.

                                  1. +1 for roasting: toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 450 until starting to look shriveled with dark brown spots (usually 15 minutes or so, but depends on the thickness of the beans).

                                    We also love them grilled. Same prep as roasting, but tossed onto a perforated grilling pan on the grill. Give them a stir/turn every five minutes or so until they are done.

                                    1. A small amount of finely chopped ham will do a lot of what bacon will with much less fat. When I do them that way, I saute it in a little olive oil, with some chopped garlic, then add chopped tomato and white wine, reduce slightly, and that's enough fat and liquid to finish the dish by steaming in it's liquid- a pretty simple preparation, similar to what you're used to.

                                      1. I love Barefoot Contessa's recipe for string beans with shallots. You can cut back on the butter and oil a bit.


                                        1. I toss them with onion chunks (or fennel), cut up potatoes, and a little olive oil and sea salt and roast them in the oven (375) for about 30 minutes.

                                          1. I cook them in the microwave. Rinse the beans, shake off excess water and put them in a covered dish. Microwave for about three minutes and they come out bright green and crunchy. I add a bit of butter, lemon juice and fresh or dried dill.