There is something elegant about green beans. Sweet and dainty they seem to the perfect companion to a crisp roast chicken or juicy pink steak. Green beans are used in a wide range of cuisines including french, chinese, italian, english and indian– and I like all of them. Restaurants and banquets love green beans because they can be cooked in advance without going limp and grey.
I was psyched to learn that for such a tastie veggie, green beans had a very respectable anti-aging profile. One cup clocks in at just 31 calories . While they are not high in fiber, the folacin and skin friendly vitamin C levels are impressive. Add about 20% the RDA for vitamin A and a daily serving of green beans adds genuine anti-aging nutrition to any diet.
I was also intrigued to find out that green beans are actually immature versions of true beans. In fact, when they are mature and dry, they are higher in protein, calories and carbohydrates that young green bean pods. In the US, green snap beans are the most popular form. Italian broad beans, chinese long beans and skinnyFrench haricot vert have similar nutritional profiles, while yellow beans have much lower levels of beta carotene.
I think of green beans as the chicken of vegetables in that they can be used in so many different dishes. I love this anti-aging Greek style recipe that also contains tomatoes, onions and garlic– all of which add their own nutritional pay-off. Do you have a favorite way of eating them?
Greek Style Green Beans ( from the Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Jenkins)
Ingredients: 1 pound cleaned green beans, 1/3 cup chopped onions. small clove of garlic, chopped, 2 tbs. olive oil, 2/3 cup drained, canned whole tomatoes, chopped coarsely, 1 packet Equal or 1 teaspoon sugar, I teasp. lemon juice
Directions: In a saucepan large enough to hold the beans, saute the onions and garlic on medium heat until the onion is soft and starting to brown; Rinse the beans and toss into the onions; Stir, cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes; Uncover the pan and add tomatoes andEqual ( or sugar). Cover and cook on low heat for 35-40 minutes; Check every 10 minutes to stir and make sure that the beans are not too dry; When they are soft and the tomates dissolved into a sauce, add the lemon juice. These beans can be served hot or room temperature.