Green beans make one of my favorite veggie- based meals, loaded with vitamins — particularly C, A and harder-to-get K — and have only 30 calories a serving.
But here is the real reason I love green beans: They are a particularly filling vegetable, thanks to high fiber and a few grams of protein. That means my kids can load up on green beans and add a couple of ounces of rotisserie chicken on the side for a quick dinner that doesn’t have them hungry again in an hour.
We’ll eat green beans tossed in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, or even simply steamed with a little salt and pepper.
But if the beans are the star of a meatless meal, I like a little more fanfare, so I do a simple glazed vegetable dish: Cook veggies and aromatics (such as onion, garlic, spices, or ginger) in a little oil in a large saute pan, add a little liquid — soy sauce, broth, or fruit juice work well — cover the pan to steam for a couple of minutes, and then uncover to allow the liquid to evaporate into a glaze that coats the veggies.
The strategy works for all sorts of veggies, but start with my craveworthy garlic beans to get the hang of it.
Serve it with some quinoa or brown rice and you may not miss the meat. An easy way to add protein: Toss in some tofu or some leftover cooked chicken.
Either way, I’ll bet you’ll be craving green beans too.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (or half olive oil and half sesame oil)
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 3 cups green beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 tablespoons water
Heat oil in large saute pan over high. Add shallot, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant and sesame seeds are golden, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Lower heat to medium-high and add garlic; cook another minute. Add green beans and ginger; saute 2 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey and water; cover and let steam 2 minutes (or longer for softer beans).
Uncover and cook until liquid reduces to a glaze. Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional information, per serving: 106 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fats, no cholesterol, 444 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 3 g protein.