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Green beans are easy; top and tail them, cook them briefly, add just a bit of flavoring, and they’re ready. Looking through recipe sites, most of the green bean recipes seemed to need no more information than their titles: Green beans with lemon and feta; green beans with bacon and chives; green beans with maple syrup and ham; green beans with olives and capers. If you’re looking for a whole bunch of recipes that use green beans, try this site:

And while you’re on the Splendid Table site—you’ll find great recipes for all our vegetables and fruit if you surf around.

So—here are 7 ways to cook string beans and 10 things that are often added to them—singly or in combinations; followed by a few recipes. At the end, there’s a recipe for a tian, a crustless quiche/pilaf dish that uses any combination of vegetables.


1. Blanch in a pot of salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain and plunge into boiling water.

2. Steam over boiling water.

3. Saute in butter or olive oil for a minute or two; add extra flavor by sautéing garlic, olives, and spices before adding the green beans to the butter or olive oil.

4. Braise in stock for 8-10 minutes

5. Microwave by putting them in a microwave-safe bowl with just a little water; a half-pound needs about 2 minutes on high

6. Roast them in a 400 degree oven; toss with olive oil then spread on a cookie sheet. They will be done in 5-10 minutes, depending on how well-done you like them.

7. Fry them; dip them in egg, then in seasoned flour or bread crumbs. Heat vegetable oil in a skillet, then place the coated green beans in the pan, in one layer; when they are golden brown on one side, turn them over until they are fully cooked.


1. Lemon, butter, salt, pepper—all you need.

2. Nuts. String beans amandine is the most familiar; pine nuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts also work well. Start with string beans cooked any of the ways listed above; add butter, lemon (or vinaigrette) toasted nuts, salt and pepper.

3. Bread crumbs, plain or flavored. You can make bread crumbs from stale bread; let it air dry, or dry It in a  225 degree oven for a few minutes. Crumb or break into chunks and grate in a food processor. Add spices or spice mixes—chili, curry, zaatar, herbes de provence—and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle over cooked green beans.

4. Meat. Sausage, bacon and bacon grease seem to be favorites, but bits of any kind of meat or seafood can be added.

5. Cheese. Crumbled feta or goat cheese, shaved parmesan, melted brie or cheddar, mixed in or used as a topping.

6. Herbs. Dill, marjoram, cilantro, and summer savory are common bean herbs, but the basil we’re getting this week will work as well, especially if you’re adding tomatoes.

7. Tomatoes. Chunks of tomato, with mozzarella, and basil is an easy salad. Or add diced tomatoes to a vinaigrette served over beans

8. Potatoes—especially good with creamy dressings

9. Other beans: For 3-, 4-, or higher-number bean salads, add garbanzos, cannelinni, kidney, pinto, lima, black, or any other bean and a vinaigrette dressing.

10. Dressings: Creamy dressings such as green goddess, horseradish, or bleu cheese; vinaigrettes; tahini- and peanut-butter dressings all work well with green beans.

GREEK-STYLE GREEN BEANS—From The Splendid Table, based on a recipe from Crystal Dragonwagon

1 pound fresh green beans, tipped and tailed

Vegetable oil cooking spray

3 tablespoons olive oil

About 1 tablespoon medium to finely chopped garlic (5 or 6 cloves)

1 large fresh tomato, chopped (I go ahead and leave the skin on and seeds in; if you are fussier than me, remove both and use only the chopped pulp of 2 tomatoes)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A few dashes of cayenne

1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill

Blanch the green beans: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, add the green beans and cook for 2 minutes. Drain them well, then rinse with cold water, and drain them again.

Spray a large, heavy (preferably cast iron) skillet with a tight-fitting cover with oil, and set it over very low heat. Add the olive oil, scatter the garlic over it, and add the blanched green beans (in contrast to most sautes, the green beans are added when neither pan, nor oil, nor garlic, is yet hot). Scatter the tomato over the beans. Don’t stir.

Still keeping the heat as low as possible, cover the beans and let them just barely cook, without stirring, for about 40 minutes. I know it’s hard, but keep on not stirring; leave the heat low enough so that nothing burns. If you like, you can push a few beans back to check on the garlic at the bottom of the skillet. It should not be browning, merely cooking very, very slowly. Some of the beans will be browned on oneside, which is good. If this hasn’t happened yet, cover again and cook for 10, even 15, minutes more.

When the beans are soft, lift the lid and stir gently. It is unlikely, but if there’s a noticeable amount of liquid in the skillet, turn the heat up and, stirring gently but constantly, evaporate the liquid off. You want soft, barely-holding-together green beans. They should be slightly shriveled-looking and browned lightly here and there, with a bit of the garlic-tomato jam sticking to them.

Turn off the heat. Salt and pepper the beans, sprinkle them with the cayenne and dill, stir one more time, and serve.

Bihari Green Beans Masala

Recipe by Julie Sahni

2 tablespoons vegetable oil or light olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Heat the oil in a 3-quart sauté pan over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring, until light golden. Remove from heat and transfer almonds to a plate or bowl; set aside for garnish.

Add onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, chili pepper flakes and salt to the unwashed sauté pan, and return to medium heat. Sauté until the onion is tender and begins to fry, about 4 minutes.

Add coconut milk and green beans. Mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the beans are tender, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle beans with lime juice, and toss lightly. Transfer to a warmed serving dish and garnish with almonds and cilantro. Serve with plain cooked rice or roti flatbread.


1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

½ pound green beans, trimmed and blanched or steamed

2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

Combine the sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar; whisk until sugar is dissolved. Pour the dressing over the green beans and toss. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the beans.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 3 large garlic cloves, to taste, minced

2 lbs of vegetables cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice

(eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, greens, what-

ever combination you want)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon

crumbled dried thyme

1/2 cup rice, cooked

2 eggs

3 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated (3/4 cup) (or a similar cheese)

1/4 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or dry)

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Oil a 2-quart gratin dish.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large, heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together for about 30 seconds, until it begins to smell fragrant, and stir in the squash. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft/translucent but not mushy, 5 to 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the thyme and rice, and remove from the heat

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Beat in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cheese. Stir in the zucchini

mixture and combine well. Scrape into the gratin dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top

is browned and the gratin is sizzling. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

FROM: The Splendid Table

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