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Green beans as the main dish for dinner? Stay with us

Updated: 
June 7, 2017 - 12:05am

Sometimes I just crave a big serving of. green beans. You too, right?

Hear me out. Green beans make one of my favorite veggie-based meals. They are loaded with vitamins, particularly C, A and harder-to-get K, and have only 30 calories a serving. But here is the real reason why I love green beans: They are a particularly filling vegetable, thanks to high fiber and a few grams of protein.

So that means that 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 as a side dish.

But if the beans are the star of the show for a meatless meal, I like a little more fanfare, and 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 — and 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 Green Beans to get the hang of it. Serve this bean dish with some quinoa or brown rice and you really may not miss the meat. But if you want, add small cubes of chicken or tofu to the saute pan first to cook through, or just add some leftover cooked chicken at the end.

Garlic Green Beans

This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prepare and serves 4.

3 cups green beans, trimmed

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 according to spice preference)

2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger

6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons honey

Heat a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Meanwhile, place the minced shallot, sesame seed and red pepper flakes in a small bowl, and have the ginger and garlic prepped and ready (separately), too. Add the shallot, sesame seeds and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until fragrant and sesame seeds are golden brown, about two minutes, stirring frequently with wooden spoon.

Lower heat to medium high and add the minced garlic and cook another minute. Add the green beans and the ginger and saute for two minutes. Add the soy sauce, honey and 2 tablespoons of water and cover to allow to steam for 2 minutes (or longer if you want softer green beans). Uncover the pan, and cook until the liquid reduces down to a glaze, coating the beans. Serve.

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