Green beans, a staple of summer sometimes called string beans or snap beans, are all over farmers’ markets and produce departments throughout the Treasure Valley right now. That, and their nutritional profile, make them the good for you food of the week. Packed with a surprising variety of nutrients, these crisp, thin little pods are a great addition to any summer meal.
Would you believe that something as simple as a green bean contains 18 nutrients? They look so humble piled up on the grocery store shelf, don’t they? But they’re nutritional powerhouses. An excellent source of vitamins K and C, as well as manganese, green beans also contain vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, plus dietary fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, tryptophan, calcium, phosphorous, protein, copper, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids. And a cup has only 43 calories. Did that just make you wonder why you’re not eating more of these? Seriously, the nutritional content of green beans is similar to fortified breakfast cereals, so eat up.
When you buy them, just look for smooth green beans with a nice bright color and no bruising. Don’t wash them until ready to use. They should last about a week in the refrigerator.
Steve Martin was right when he said, “The French have a different word for everything,” and when it comes to green beans, they call them haricots verts. (What? Didn’t study French? That’s pronounced “airy coat verre.” Sorta. De rien.) Anyway, les haricots verts are a principal ingredient in Salade Nicoise, which also contains tuna, red potatoes, tomatoes, capers, hard-boiled eggs and vinaigrette. And if you’re a purist, you top it with anchovies, and say non to putting it over a bed of lettuce. Good quality Nicoise olives are a must; other vegetables are optional. Julia Child made it famous on this side of the Atlantic and it makes a hearty, healthy summer meal. The video below shows how to make it. Bon appétit!
Green beans have a fairly neutral flavor, so most herbs and seasonings will simply enhance their taste. Steamed green beans are a nice accompaniment to nearly any grilled meat. They can also be dressed in vinaigrette and served as a salad. They are especially tasty when paired with tarragon. Or try roasting them with garlic and sprinkling with salt, pepper, and a little balsamic vinegar. Chop them up and sneak them into casseroles or omelets. Stir fry them in a little sesame oil with slivered almonds to add an Asian flair to your menu.
Talk it up:
Do you enjoy green beans?
What’s your favorite way to prepare them?
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