I never ate a fresh green bean until I was about 24. Until that glorious day, I had only experienced the canned variety (my family was big on canned food). The age of 24 is when I first became interested in farmer's markets and fresh foods. I would buy mostly just fresh fruit, with the occasional familiar vegetable. One day, I came near closing time, and as I bought a bunch of carrots, the farmer dumped a large bunch of green beans in the bag as well. "I need to get rid of them," he said with a smile. My response was a very confused expression and a quiet "thank you," as I walked away.
Because I'd only ever had salty, mushy green beans from a can, I really didn't care for green beans. On holidays, in a casserole, covered up with a lot of other canned gunk, I thought they were alright. I had no idea what to do with these long, bright, fresh green beans I'd been gifted. They sat on a shelf in my refrigerator for a couple days, where I would periodically stare at them while reaching for something else. Finally, one day, I pulled them out, washed them, and steamed them (ends not trimmed, because I didn't realize this needed to be done), melted a bit of butter on them and gave them a try. Expecting them to be tasteless and mushy, I was amazed with their crispness and the complexity of flavor. I was shocked to find that there was a slight sweetness to them, and I love the way it felt to bite into the pod. Instantly, I was hooked.
I tried many ways of preparing these green beans, but this is my most favorite. The first Thanksgiving dinner that I hosted, and cooked entirely by myself, featured these buttery lemon-almond green beans. They were a huge hit and when I recently received some gorgeous yellow and purple "green" beans in my CSA delivery, I couldn't think of a better way to enjoy them.
LEMON ALMOND GREEN BEANS
- 1 lb fresh green beans, any color, cleaned and ends trimmed
- 1 T vegan butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 T lemon juice
- 1/8 cup almond slices
- Bring a 3 quart pot of water to a boil. Add the green beans and let them cook for 2 minutes. Pour the green beans into a strainer and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside.
- In a large, shallow saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and sauté until garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add the green beans and toss with the butter. Let the green beans sauté with the butter for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the lemon juice and the almonds and continue to sauté until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!
All Photos taken by Chris Miller
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