Fresh green beans, also known as string beans and snap beans, make a colorful, delicious side to many main dishes. They can be boiled or steamed and then sauteed with lots of garlic and seasoned to taste with salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne for Moroccan flair.
- 1 pound/1/2 kg fresh green beans
- 1 to 2 tablespoons butter (or olive oil)
- 2 to 4 small cloves garlic (pressed or very finely chopped)
- Dash salt
- Dash black pepper
- Dash cumin
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
- Trim or snap off the ends from the green beans, removing any stringy fibers which may run the length of the bean. Not all beans will have this fiber. If the beans are excessively long, they can be cut or broken in half for easier eating.
- Wash and drain the beans.
- Cook the beans just until crisp-tender by boiling or steaming. See the Note.
- Melt the butter or heat the olive oil in a saute pan or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute just for 1 minute until fragrant; do not burn.
- Add the green beans to the pan and season to taste with salt, black pepper, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Toss gently and cook just until the beans are heated through.
- If using parsley, gently stir it in and sprinkle over the top as a garnish. Serve immediately.
Note: If boiling the beans, place them in a pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer until tender-crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Immediately drain the beans and submerge in an ice water bath for a minute or two, then drain again.
If steaming the beans, bring a small amount of salted water to a boil in a pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add the green beans, cover, and steam until crisp-tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
These green beans are delicious all on their own, but if you want to gild the lily, try these variations:
- Add 1 tablespoon lemon zest along with the optional parsley.
- Toss cooked green beans with 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese.
- Add 1/4 cup toasted sliced or slivered almonds along with the optional parsley.
- If boiling the green beans, use half chicken broth and half water in place of all water.
How to Select Green Beans
When buying green beans, choose brightly colored, unblemished ones. Beans that look dull or have brown spots are usually woody. Younger, thinner beans are preferable, as are beans that are firm enough to easily snap in half. If not cooking the beans right away, refrigerate them in a plastic bag with a paper towel inserted to absorb excess moisture.
Health Benefits of Green Beans
Green beans are low in calories and fat and contain no cholesterol. Plus they’re a good source of vitamins A C, and K, folic acid, iron, and fiber. And it has been proven that taking these nutrients in supplement form is not as beneficial as getting them directly from food.
Green beans contain a high amount of chlorophyll, which potentially can block the carcinogenic effects of highly charred meats.
A study conducted by Harvard Medical School revealed that consuming iron from plant sources like spinach, beans, pumpkin, and green beans might promote fertility in women of child-bearing age.
It has been shown that folate consumption can prevent an excess of homocysteine in the body which can interfere with the natural feel-good hormones like serotonin and, thus, cause depression.
The vitamin K in green beans can help prevent bone fractures because it improves calcium absorption.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||6 g|
|Saturated Fat||1 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||4 g|
|Dietary Fiber||13 g|