Celebrate Eat More Fruits and Veggies Day with Sesame Green Beans
Getting the suggested amounts of fruits and veggies in one's diet can be challenging even on perfect days. They sometimes require preparation in new and different ways to avoid the dreaded kitchen fatigue. Nutrition experts will tell you to fill half of your plate with vegetables, one fourth with carbs, and one fourth with protein. I try for seven half-cup servings most days, having things chopped and ready in the fridge certainly makes it easier. This recipe is perfect for snacking or as a side for an alfresco dining outing. They can be made a day ahead of time and pair well with most picnic sandwiches.
Here are a few tips on how to sneak fruits and vegetables in every day without looking too hard for a way to do it :
-Smoothies can capture 3 servings at one time.
-Carry around a spare apple, banana, or pear for a mid-morning snack.
-Tomato juice with breakfast or lunch can get you a serving or 2
- Have a small salad on the side of lunch and dinner. Make a big bowl and keep it ready in the fridge.
-Meal prep easy to grab veggies for an afternoon snack with hummus.
- Have 2 vegetables at dinner instead of carb and vegetable.
- Have a few meals a week that are veg heavy such as stir-frys and Buddha bowls
- Arrange cut bite-sized vegetables on a pretty platter and serve it as an appetizer before dinner with a homemade ranch dipping sauce
- Blanch and marinate veggies with a light dressing for a side when grilling.
-Splurge on organic baby rainbow carrots. You can actually taste the difference in my opinion and they are right tasty raw.
Ingredients used in this dish
Green Beans- You can use whatever looks good at the store or market as long as they are fresh. The little haricot verts from Sam's and Costco work great for this recipe.
Toasted Sesame Oil- Make sure you use the toasted darker oil, the lighter one does not always have as much flavor. Sesame oil is more for a drizzle or "perfume" as we say in the kitchen, it gives off the aroma of sesame when mixed in the beans.
Kosher salt- a coarse grain salt works well as a finishing salt. Feel free to use pink or sea salt as well for excellent results. The trick for even distribution of finishing salt is to sprinkle it from about a foot high over your dish to get maximum coverage of the dish. Someone once told me this was one of the few times it was ok to spill on the floor when you put salt on your finished dish.
Toasted White Sesame Seeds- These days you can find toasted sesame seeds in most grocery stores in the Asian Food aisle. You can toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat but you have to be quick because they can burn quite easily. When they start to turn brown, that's the exact time to take them off the heat because they will keep toasting. I like to use a mix of black and white toasted sesame seeds. You can buy black sesame seeds at a well-stocked Asian food market.
-Be sure to keep your sesame oil in the refrigerator or it will go rancid quickly especially in warmer weather.
-If you use the oven method for roasting, line the half sheet pan with parchment paper for easier cleanup.
- Just about any green vegetable that's blanched can benefit from sesame oil and seeds.
-Serve as an appetizer or a side to grilled meats or other vegetables.
-These do not freeze well, so eat while they are fresh. Pair with a light chardonnay or champagne
Coco's Kitchen Skill Tip
- Blanching is a way to cook vegetables quickly. When a recipe calls for Blanching Place them in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes and then shock them in a bowl with ice water. Let sit for a couple of minutes and then drain. Dry off with towels and proceed with the recipe.
Here is a quick video lesson on blanching. For this recipe you will want to leave them in a bit longer to your desired doneness. I pull them out at about 4 minutes for well-cooked beans.
To print, the recipe click here
Sesame Green Beans
If green beans are not available, substitute 1 head of broccoli or cauliflower.
Serving size: 4 - 6
1 pound fresh green, wax or purple beans
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400F Place beans in a shallow half sheet pan and add sesame oil, and salt. Roast green beans in the oven until tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle sesame seeds on after cooking.
Stovetop method You can also cook on top of the stove, steam, or boil for 5 minutes until bright green and shock in a bowl of ice water. Then add the sesame oil, seeds, and salt.