What would your Christmas table be without a delicious plate of green beans? These humble legumes are not only very versatile, but they also provide several vitamins and minerals. Looking for new and nutritious ways to serve one of America’s favorite side dishes?
Green beans, also known as string beans or skewers, are not just an American treasure. These green gems are native to South America and were introduced to the indigenous peoples of North America. The native peoples of both Americas grew green beans for more than 7,000 years.
When white Europeans invaded America, the indigenous tribes introduced them to green beans, which were a staple in their diet. It reminded them of the broad beans that are native to Europe and parts of Asia.
Europeans brought this new bean to their respective countries and successfully cultivated it. Soon, green beans became a favorite in culinary dishes in Europe and Asia. They were among the successful crops that were started in the American colonies.
Today’s Green Beans
Whether you call them string beans, skewers, or string beans, they have earned their rightful place on the world’s table. They are easy to grow and come in a wide variety of colors and cultivars. According to a recent USDA report, the United States processed at least 670,569 tons of green beans in 2019.
Although most people refer to snaps as beans, they are not real beans. Since they grow in pods, they are considered legumes like peas and peanuts. You will also see that most culinary traditions classify them as vegetables as well.
Have you ever seen a sign in the produce aisle that advertises bean greens? These French varieties are longer and thinner than American green beans. They are often served whole blanched or sautéed.
How nutritious are green beans?
Unlike their cousins’ delicious peas, beans, and pintos, green beans are not as starchy. Therefore, they are lower in carbohydrates And maybe a tasty option if you count your carb intake. They are part of a balanced nutritional diet.
For half a cup (100 grams) of green beans, you only consume 31 calories. However, they are loaded with calcium, iron, and potassium. You’ll also get healthy protein and only about five net carbs.
Since green bean varieties come in different colors, they contain phytonutrients that are good for the whole body. They also have fiber that benefits your digestive system. The extra fiber also helps you feel more satisfied after a meal.
Prepare green beans
Recipes for green bean dishes are as varied as the cooks who prepare them. It’s worth noting that while snaps are a healthy option, you should also consider how you prepare them. The classic casserole with cream on the Christmas tables of many people is not the healthiest way to enjoy it.
Green beans can be prepared in many ways while maintaining their nutritional value. They are also easy to preserve canned, frozen or dried. However, many canned and frozen varieties in stores have unnecessary green food coloring added.
Nutritious Green Bean Recipes
Are you and your family a fan of green beans? Would you like to discover some interesting ways to prepare them in addition to the usual fat-laden soup casserole? Here are some healthy green bean recipes that you and your whole family will enjoy. We searched the Internet for the three healthiest recipes recommended by nutritionists.
1 – Grilled green beans
If your idea of preparing green beans is to open a store bought you can think of them for microwave, this is new territory. Once you’ve tried the fresh green beans, gently charred in a skillet, you will fall in love with them all over again. Tarragon adds a tantalizing hint of anise flavor to smoked beans.
• ½ pound fresh whole green beans (washed and tips trimmed)
• Butter-flavored cooking spray
• 2 teaspoons of butter or vegetable butter
• 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
• ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
• 1 small bunch fresh tarragon, finely chopped
• Place a medium-sized heavy skillet without a nonstick coating over high heat for 2 minutes.
• When skillet is hot, carefully coat with cooking spray. Add beans immediately in a single layer. Sauté beans (without stirring) until slightly charred, about 2 minutes.
• Let beans sauté as you toss until beans are tender, crisp, and evenly charred on all sides, about 5 more minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
• After the beans have stood for about 1 minute, add the butter and allow it to melt. Mix the beans gently until completely covered. Add the vinegar and mix again. If you have too much liquid, relight the heat so that most of it evaporates.
• Sprinkle beans generously with salt and tarragon and mix again. Serve the dish immediately.
2 – Southern style beans and potatoes
Do you remember going to Grandma’s house for Sunday dinner and enjoying the produce straight from Grandpa’s garden? Sure, it probably had this classic green bean garnish. Here’s an updated version that would even make Grandma smile.
• 2 tablespoons of olive oil
• 1 small onion, thinly sliced
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
• 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
• 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 2 pounds of yellow or red new potatoes
• 1 pound fresh whole green beans, clean and with the tips trimmed
• In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil and heat until shimmering. Add the onions and sauté until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté until the onions are opaque and the garlic is fragrant, about another 3 minutes.
• Carefully pour in the broth and add the potatoes, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender but not mushy, about 10 minutes.
• Now add the green beans, cover the pot and simmer until tender, about 6 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans and potatoes to a serving platter.
• Increase heat to medium-high and boil remaining liquid until reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 to 6 minutes. Pour over the beans and potatoes and fold gently until completely covered. Serve this dish hot.
Of the uncountable Asian-inspired dishes, sofrito is probably one of the most popular in the world. This is a twist on the classic vegetarian stir fry that includes Thai-style tofu and peanut sauce. You can also omit the tofu, or you can add minced chicken breast if you prefer.
For the Thai peanut sauce:
• ¼ cup of water
• 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
• 4 tablespoons peanut butter chunks
• 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce, or to taste
• 1 teaspoon soy sauce
For the stir fry:
• 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
• ¼ cup soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon hot sauce
• 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
• 3 teaspoons of sesame oil
• 8-ounce package firm tofu (or a cooked boneless / skinless chicken breast) cubed
• 3 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
• 1 pound fresh whole green beans, ends trimmed
• ½ cup of water
• 1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced
• 1 handful of fresh mung bean sprouts, well rinsed
• First, make the peanut sauce. In a medium bowl, add ¼ cup of water, a tablespoon of brown sugar, peanut butter, a teaspoon of hot sauce, and a teaspoon of soy sauce. Use a whisk to mix well, then set aside.
• Next, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, add two teaspoons of brown sugar, ¼ cup of soy sauce, one teaspoon of hot sauce, and garlic. Use a whisk to mix well. Set aside.
• In a large heavy wok or skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon of sesame oil and stir to obtain an even layer. Heat the oil until sizzling.
• Add tofu or cooked chicken (if using) and half of the soy sauce mixture, then sauté until golden brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Take it out of the pan and cover it to keep it warm.
• Add the remaining two tablespoons of oil to the skillet and shake to obtain an even layer. Carefully add the carrots, bell pepper, and green beans. Sauté for three minutes.
• Pour in ½ cup of water and reduce heat to medium. Cover the wok / skillet and let the mixture simmer until the beans are tender and crisp, about 5 minutes.
• Now add the remaining half of the soy sauce, tofu or chicken mixture, half of the onions and bean sprouts. Sauté until sprouts are tender, about two more minutes. Sprinkle the plate with the remaining onions and serve with the peanut sauce.
If you’re used to a soft can of store-bought green beans or those drowned in a thick layer of mushroom soup, you’re in for a treat. You can easily make tasty and healthy green bean recipes. Your family will enjoy them and they will be kinder to your waist.