Most of us think of vegetables as just an accompaniment to meat loaf, a broiled steak, grilled fish or roast chicken. But green beans – cheap and bountiful this time of year in both supermarkets and at farmer’s markets – can be the star of the meal.
Green beans, also called string beans or snap beans, are versatile and colorful. Yes, colorful. Bean pods can actually be green, yellow, purple or red speckled (which might get kids to eat them).
Choose fresh, well colored beans that snap easily when bent. Refrigerate green beans in a plastic bag and use within one week of purchase. Green beans are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and are naturally fat-free and sodium-free. This mild-flavored vegetable is liked by almost everyone and it lends itself to a number of flavor options. They can be boiled, roasted, stir-fried, sautéed or grilled (use a basket so they don’t fall through the grates!). They pair well with almonds, dried cranberries, garlic, lemon, Parmesan cheese and, of course bacon. They lend themselves to almost any flavor profile, from Asian to Mediterranean.
Here are some ideas for using them while in season.