Veggie of the week: Green Beans
Green Beans are a common summer vegetable native to North, South and Central Americas. A green bean is ready to harvest about 45 t0 60 days from the time seeds are planted. Each plant is prolific so Green beans are a garden favorite.
“Green Beans”, “String Beans”, “Pole beans”, “Bush Beans” and “Snap Beans” or “Snaps” are all names given to different kinds of green beans. While most are green, some varieties are yellowish (wax beans) and others are purple or speckled.
Perhaps due to the prevalence of Green Beans, colloquial terminology spotlighting green beans are found in the English language, for example, “Spill the beans” means sharing a secret. “Full of Beans” means having high energy or high spirits. A “String Bean” could refer to a person who appears physically long and thin.
In Blairsville, Georgia the Green Bean Festival honors this vegetable by celebrating with the community with games, pageants and contests.
. Health benefits:
Green beans are considered to have characteristics of legumes without the high carbohydrate content.
They are high in protein, fiber and Copper.
Green Beans are a great source of Omega 3, Vitamins B6, Calcium and Iron.
Green beans are high in Vitamin K and calcium, which supports bone and connective tissue health.
They are full of fiber, which is great for heart health.
They are low in carbohydrates, which makes them a great choice for a diabetic menu.
Green beans have chlorophyll, which blocks the carcinogenic effect of charbroiling. Therefore green beans are the perfect pairing with meat on the grill.
Storage and Prep:
The seeds of green beans actually contain mild toxins so while green beans may be eaten raw, it’s best to steam, boil, sauté or stir-fry this vegetable as toxins are eliminated with heat.
1. FRENCH GREEN BEAN SALAD
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to boil and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the beans and cook for 1 minute only so the beans are crisp tender. Drain the beans and put them in the ice water until completely cool. Drain the beans again; dry on paper towels. Place the beans in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil to make an emulsion.
Pour enough dressing over the beans to moisten them well, reserving the remaining dressing for another use. Toss with the dill, season to taste and serve at room temperature.
(from Folk Lore, Tales from My Kitchen)
2. GARLIC ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH SHALLOTS & ALMONDS
2 lb. fresh green beans
5-6 shallots, peeled, and cut into thin slivers
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 T olive oil
1 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
1/2 cup almonds, sliced or chopped
1 tsp. lemon zest
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Trim ends from green beans. Peel and cut shallots and garlic, then place with beans in plastic bowl. Add olive oil, salt & pepper, parsley, almonds and lemon zest. Toss until ingredients are well coated with oil.
Spray roasting pan with nonstick spray or mist with olive oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer. (I used parchment paper for roasting vegetables and the results are great). Roast 12-15 minutes for thin beans, or slightly longer for regular beans, until beans are slightly shriveled, and shallots and garlic are lightly browned.
Recipe adapted from KalynsKitchen.com
3. Nicoise Salad Recipe
1/3 cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano or tarragon
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered lengthwise
1 1/4 pounds small young red potatoes or fingerling potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup niçoise olives
2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)
*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
1 In a jar, place the oil, lemon juice or vinegar, shallots, herbs, and mustard. Cover with a lid and shake until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
2 Place onion slices in a small bowl and sprinkle with 3 Tbsp of the vinaigrette. (The onions soaking in the vinaigrette will help take some of the bite out of them.)
3 Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 2 inches of water. Add 1 Tbsp of salt. Heat on high to bring to a boil. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or so, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain. While the potatoes are still warm, cut them into halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. Place them in a bowl and dress them with about 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette.
4 While the potatoes are cooking, fill a medium sized pot halfway with water, and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil on high heat. Add the green beans to the boiling water. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 3-5 minutes (more or less, depending on the toughness of the beans). Drain and either rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, or shock for half a minute in ice water.
5 Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Sprinkle the tomatoes and onions around the tuna. Arrange the potatoes and green beans in mounds at the edge of the lettuce.
6 Arrange hard-boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle everything with the remaining vinaigrette. Sprinkle with capers if using.
Serve immediately. Should be served slightly warm or at room temperature.
Quinoa w/ Purslane, Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella
- 1/2 cup Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 cups Red Quinoa
- 4 cupsWater
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Red Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
- 1 cup Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
- 8 ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella, Cut Into Small Cubes
- 24 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade) or Bee Balm leaves
- 2 cups of cleaned and chopped Purslane fresh from weeding the garden
Combine olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper in a jar. Put on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
Prepare the quinoa by bringing 4 cups of water to a boil, then adding the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Pour quinoa out onto a baking sheet and spread into a single layer to cool quickly.
Once the quinoa has cooled to room temperature, throw into a large bowl and toss in the tomatoes and mozzarella and the chopped Purslane. Stir gently while adding 2/3 of the dressing. Stir in the basil. After everything is incorporated, give it a taste; add more dressing if it needs it, or reserve the rest of the dressing for another use. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
NOTE: It’s best to make this at least a couple of hours ahead of time and stored in the fridge.