Green beans. Probably one of the most underrated, underutilized vegetables. One day a year it gets to sparkle as the go-to side dish at everyones Thanksgiving table. Sparkle isn’t a fair word. It can’t really sparkle when it’s covered in cream of mushroom soup and fried onions. It gets to be there though, noticed and somewhat enjoyed. Let’s just call it the Eeyore of vegetables.
How sad. You feel bad for the way you’ve treated green beans all these years don’t you? Ditto. I can’t remember the last time I cooked a green bean as part of a meal in our house. I don’t even notice them in the produce aisle at the grocery store. Do they purposefully hide them up top in the back next to the other unloved vegetables like cabbage? It’s a conspiracy. And it’s not fair to these delicious, crunchy little beans.
This sesame garlic green beans recipe will change your outlook on green beans and hopefully bring them to your table more than once a year.
Do yourself a favor here and don’t use frozen green beans. It’s the perfect time of year for fresh green beans either from your garden, your farmer’s market or the produce aisle of your grocery store. You won’t get the same crunch from a frozen green bean than a fresh one and for a vegetable that a lot of people hate, it can use all the help it can get. So give it a little handicap here and go for fresh!
Warning: this is not first date friendly food. Why? Because garlic. Lots and lots of toasty, yummy garlic that won’t leave your breath kissably sweet. However this is a great dish to make to see if your relationship can stand the test of garlic breath. If you can stand kissing each other after consuming a plate of sesame garlic green beans, then your relationship has a pretty good chance of success. This is pure science, clearly.
I happen to love garlic, and thankfully I’m married so who cares about breath anymore. The minced garlic in this recipe gets a nice toasty crunch from a quick fry in the pan. They end up tasting like crispy little garlic croutons that aren’t spicy. Enough of the raw spice is cooked out that you’re left with a mild, garlicky bite.
I’m also one of those people who loves a good char. I like my bacon extra extra crispy, my asparagus almost blackened and I gravitate to the end piece of any cut of meat purely for the crunchy exterior. By frying the green beans over medium-high heat, you get that same delicious char on the outside while maintaining the crunch on the inside. Nobody likes a mushy green bean and you won’t find any of those in this recipe!
The finisher on this dish is a light drizzle of sesame oil. Sesame oil has a wonderful nutty flavor that works perfectly with the garlic. You’ve probably had a dish similar to this at your favorite Asian restaurant as it’s a popular ingredient in a lot of Asian cooking. A little bit goes a long way so you only need a drizzle! If you want even more sesame, toast a handful of sesame seeds and throw them on top.
What to Bring to the Store
To make sure you don’t toss any unnecessary packaging away, all you’ll need is one reusable produce bag for your green beans. No need to bag your garlic, it’s got it’s own packaging Don’t forget your reusable grocery bag!
Waste Meter – 5!
This simple little recipe gets a 5 out of 5 on the waste meter because nothing needs to be thrown away or even recycled! Pure compost here. Here’s the deal:
Recycle: Nothing (well, when your olive oil/sesame oil runs out, recycle those jars)
Compost: Garlic Skins and Green Bean Stems
Trash: What trash?
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Once hot, add the green beans (be prepared for some splatter!) Cover with a lid or splatter screen.
- Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes until the beans get a nice char.
- Add the minced garlic, salt and pepper and let cook another 2 minutes. Don't let the beans get mushy. They should still have a crunch to them.
- Transfer to a serving dish and drizzle with the sesame oil. Serve immediately.
- These are best served hot, fresh from the pan! Time your cooking accordingly.