Green Beans Recipe & Nutrition | Precision Nutrition's Encyclopedia of Food

Green Beans

Green Beans

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At a Glance

Green beans are a mild-tasting, nutrient-dense vegetable. Packed with vitamins, one cup of raw green beans contains only 30 calories. Green beans are seasonal in the summer, but generally available year-round, and can be purchased fresh or frozen. Fresh green beans should have a bright color and crisp texture when raw. They can be easily prepared by steaming, boiling, sautéing, or stir-frying. For best results, trim the beans of their wispy ends and avoid overcooking them.

Overview

The term ‘green beans’ refers to the edible fruit of various cultivars of the common bean plant. They are sometimes called string beans, snap beans, or wax beans.

There are many different types of green beans: over 130 varieties are known. Depending on the variety, green beans grow as either bush beans (where the plant remains short and bushy, producing beans among its thick leaves) or pole beans, which tend to grow tall, twisting their vines around any nearby supports.

Green beans are enjoyed for their mild, sweet flavor, and crisp texture.

Generally available year round, green beans come into season during the summer. However, they are often enjoyed at holidays (for example, green bean casserole is an American favorite at Christmas or Thanksgiving).

You can find green beans fresh (usually sold in bulk or pre-packaged in the produce department), frozen, or canned.

Note: don’t confuse green beans, which are a vegetable, with dry beans, which are legumes.

Identification

Most commonly, green beans are in fact, a bright green color. But you can also find yellow and even purple beans that fall into this general category.

Green beans are long and lean, about the width of a pencil, which taper to a short, wispy string at each end.

You may also find Haricots Verts (French for ‘green bean’), which are similar but more slender, with a slightly more delicate flavor and texture.

Nutrition Info

One cup of raw green beans has about 30 calories, 1.83g of protein, 0.22g of fat, 6.97g of carbohydrates, 2.7g of fiber, and 3.26g of sugar.

Green beans offer vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K, as well as beta-carotene, folate, and potassium.

Selection

If possible, buy loose, fresh green beans – not pre-packaged. That way you can check for freshness and pick out the best looking beans of the bunch. They should have a bright sheen and feel firm and crisp in your hands, not soft or limp.

You may also find frozen green beans in the freezer section of your grocery store; you can usually choose ‘cut’ or whole. Sometimes they are sold with a selection of other vegetables (e.g. carrots and peas).

If buying canned green beans, check the label for added ingredients. The salt content of canned green beans can be surprisingly high, so you may wish to seek out low-salt varieties.

Storage

If buying frozen, store in your freezer immediately; do not de-frost.

Canned green beans can be stored in your pantry until the can’s expiry date.

Fresh green beans will stay in the crisper of your refrigerator, in an open plastic bag, about three to five days. As usual, aim to eat them sooner rather than later: fresher beans will have a better taste, texture, and more concentrated nutrient value.

Preparation

To prepare green beans, you may choose to trim off the small, pointed ends. The easiest, quickest way to do this is to line them up in a row, then slice off the ends with your chef’s knife. Repeat on both sides of the bean, until all beans are trimmed. If you like, you can cut beans in half or ½ inch pieces, or cook as is.

Popular cooking methods include steaming, boiling, or sautéing.

Avoid over-cooking the green beans: doing so can make them stringy and tough, and take away their delicate flavor. If boiling, 4 to 5 minutes is usually adequate for whole, fresh green beans.

To include green beans in a crudité (raw vegetable) platter or a salad, first blanch the beans: bring a pot of water up to a boil, then add the beans to the boiling water and let them cook briefly – about 1 minute. Remove them and immediately plunge them into a bowl of ice water. This will take the edge off of their rawness but preserve (or even intensify) their bright green color and crisp texture.

Tip: Green beans play well with a wide variety of flavors. Try adding them to your favorite vegetable dish; for example, they are nice addition to a stir fry or a platter of roasted vegetables.

Recipe: Green beans with crispy shallots and shiitake mushrooms

Green Beans

This recipe is quick to make and is absolutely delicious. Eat it on its own or paired with your favorite protein choice.

Ingredients

green beans
1 pound
coconut oil or olive oil
2 tbsp
Shiitake mushrooms
8-12
shallots
4
lemon
1
salt and pepper
to taste

Directions

Prep Time: 15 minutes   Cook Time: 15 minutes   Yield: 4 side servings

First, prepare the vegetables:

Wash and trim green beans.

Prepare shitake mushrooms by rinsing them, and then removing their woody inedible stems with a sharp paring knife. (If you prefer, you can use cremini mushrooms instead. To prepare these, simply slice off the very tip of the stump.) Cut the mushrooms into thick slices.

Prepare shallots by removing their papery skin and tough outer layer. (You can do this by slicing off one end of the shallot and then peeling off the skin with your fingers.) Slice the shallot to create thin rings.

Next, begin the cooking process:

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the green beans to the pot. Boil for 4 minutes, then remove the beans with a slotted spoon and place them in a bowl of ice water.

Meanwhile, heat a sauté pan to medium heat with 1 tbsp of coconut oil or olive oil. When the oil is shiny, add the shallots. Once shallots begin to get crispy, sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Add mushrooms to the shallots. Stir occasionally, until all of the water released from the mushrooms has been absorbed, and they have taken on a golden brown color. (Feel free to adjust the heat of the pan as needed.) Total cooking time should be about 10 minutes.

Add green beans to the pan, stir, and sauté until beans are warmed through.

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil, and a squeeze of lemon.

Keep leftovers in fridge.

Enjoy!

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At a Glance

Green beans are a mild-tasting, nutrient-dense vegetable. Packed with vitamins, one cup of raw green beans contains only 30 calories. Green beans are seasonal in the summer, but generally available year-round, and can be purchased fresh or frozen. Fresh green beans should have a bright color and crisp texture when raw. They can be easily prepared by steaming, boiling, sautéing, or stir-frying. For best results, trim the beans of their wispy ends and avoid overcooking them.