Most of us know the importance of eating our vegetables, specifically our leafy green vegetables, which are lauded for their health benefits. Green string beans are no exception. High in vitamins A and C, immune-boosting antioxidants, and high in fiber and magnesium, both needed for healthy digestion, green beans hold their own in the company of vegetable powerhouses such as spinach, kale and broccoli.
An added benefit is that they are really reasonably priced. In the summertime months in the mid-Atlantic where I live, green beans are everywhere. I bought a pound of them at the grocery last week for less than 2 dollars. I used this pound of beans to make the salad below, which will last me about 4 meals this week. I eat A LOT of vegetables at my meals (they fill about half my plate), so this is saying something.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends that fruit and vegetables make up half of our plates during meals, with vegetables making up about 30-35%. It is recommended that adult men and women eat between 2 ½ to 3 cups of vegetables per day (exact recommendations vary depending on age, sex and activity level).
The recipe below is a great side dish for any meal and is perfect to bring to your next picnic or potluck. It super easy to whip up and doesn’t contain many ingredients (another money saver).
Makes approximately 4-5 servings
1 lb green beans, rinsed with ends snapped off
2 scallions, chopped with ends discarded
20 grape tomatoes, rinsed and halved
15 kalamata olives, halved
2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
Steam green beans. I use a basket steamer that fits inside a pot on the stove. Place the beans in the steamer basket, cover the pot and turn the burner to high. One pound of green beans takes approximately 10 minutes to cook. They are done when you can stick a fork through them.
While beans are cooking, combine scallions, tomatoes and olives in a bowl.
When beans are done, pull the steamer basket out of the pot and empty it in the bowl containing the scallions, tomatoes and olives. I use a fork and an oven mitt to do this. Beware of the hot steam when you take the lid off the pot as it can be very hot and burn you. I recommend turning the burner off, removing the lid of the pot and letting it sit for a few minutes to cool before removing the steamer basket.
Toss entire mixture with coconut oil, adding salt and pepper to taste.
To make the greens beans more bite-sized, I use a fork and sharp knife to cut up the mixture in the bowl.
Serve immediately as a side with your favorite protein and whole grain.