The Lean Green Bean

When I was growing up the only green beans I knew of came from a can or a frozen box.  A popular side dish at our family dinner table was frozen French style green beans with melted Parmesan cheese from a can. "Cheesy Beans", she lovingly called them.  I think she felt that she had to name them in order to get us to eat them. It was as if they were called something, other than what they really were, we would find them more appealing. Its like with broccoli. My sister in law Jan called them "trees" for her children, and when I had my children I called them "trees" too.  That was the only food that had a name, thankfully!  The only other time we would have green beans would be on Thanksgiving Day.  You all know that gloppy green bean casserole with the crunchy onion topping. That was THE popular side dish back in those days, and it still is popular with some today (why?). I admit I loved both of the green bean dishes my mom made when I was younger, but as an adult I discovered fresh green beans to be so delicious. Why cover them up with condensed soup and salty fried onions from a can?

Fresh green beans are a beautiful bright green and are crisp, something that canned green beans just are not. Just the thought of the smell of canned green beans grosses me out. The color of frozen green bean have a much better color and I don't mind them if I can't find fresh ones. With summer upon us, now is the perfect time to find fresh green beans at the grocery store or farmer's market. I've come up with a few new ways to liven up green beans all summer.  You can enjoy these dishes hot or as a cold salad.  I hope you try them.  
M :)

P/S -  Thank you to my taste testers Sammie and Carmel.

For all the recipes use 4 cups of green beans, washed and trimmed.
Steam them either in the microwave for about 2 to 3 minutes, or use a steamer in a pot and simmer until still a little crisp, about 8 minutes. Mix in the ingredients while the beans are still hot. Serves 4.

Pesto Green Beans
3 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese to taste

Pesto and Parmesan Cheese

Mediterranean Green Beans
2 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
1/2 cup feta cheese

Oops! I forgot the olives

Asian Green Beans
1 to 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
3/4 cup cooked, shelled edemame
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
You could add some chili garlic sauce for some heat

Sorry no picture. My taste testers ate them before
I could snap a photo. But they were fantastic.
You'll have to trust me.

Lemon Garlic and Basil Green Beans
1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
5 basil leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


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