OOO Zesty Green Beans ♥

A summer love affair with ... green beansIn this the third summer of an unflagging obsession with vegetables, the season's surprise love affair is with ... beans. Yes, beans.

Ah sure, I've always liked beans. It's just that given a choice, until now I'd choose nearly anything else over beans. No more. Beans are beautiful! Beans are the best! Beans are ... okay, you're probably getting my new love interest, yes? (I've even recruited 'bean look-outs', friends who're tasting beans from various places and reporting especially good ones. )

What changed? My theory (which requires extensive further taste-testing) is that beans simply taste better when well salted. Salt makes beans, well, beans.

Enter Super Natural Cooking from fellow food blogger Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, which adds both lemon and lime zest to the equation. Swoon.

NEXT TIME Those little OOOs are cute but fiddly. Next time I'll send them through the slicer in the food processor, though they won't be half so cute that way. In a pinch, I'd tuck the zests into a bag of frozen green beans, especially the 'Frenched' ones that are already sliced into thin lengths. I might also cook the beans in the microwave or cook the beans in well-salted water, then add the zest and some butter. It's the zest that's special here. I mean, besides the beautiful beans.

FROM THE ARCHIVES See the Recipe Box for all the recipes for green beans, including the #1 recipe on A Veggie Venture, the World's Best Green Bean Casserole, which tastes just as good in summer as at Thanksgiving, I promise! Other favorites that I've remade in the last few weeks include the Garlicky Romano Green Beans, Green Beans with Lemon & Pine Nuts (pine nuts not required, these are gorgeous-gorgeous), Green Beans with Onion & Almonds, Romano Beans in Butter-Braised Garlic, and of course the blog-sweeping Fresh Green Bean Salad with Asian Dressing (and what people really love, the soy-cooked nuts) and from just last week, the Fresh Three-Bean Salad, the French Green Beans with Lemon-Garlic Sauce.

Plus, I must-must-must mention 2005's Summer Vegetable Stew. So many of you were clicking on it, just from the name, that I wanted to make it again to add a photograph, make sure the recipe was clear. And OH MY -- talk about a great summer recipe, a wonderful way to cook lots of vegetables at the same time.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK Vichyssoise ... can you say VEE-shee-shwaz, don’t leave off the last z sound!

OOO Zesty Green Beans

Hands-on time: about 15 minutes plus regular attention during cooking
Time to table: about 30 minutes
Serves 4

8 ounces fresh green beans, ends snapped, cut cross-wise on an angle to create Os (or zipped through the slicer in the food processor to create whatever emerges)
8 ounces fresh yellow beans, same (Heidi uses only a total of 3/4 pound of beans)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (Heidi suggests 2 tablespoons olive oil or unclarified butter)
2 tablespoons water
Zest of a lemon
Zest of a lime
Chopped fresh chive
Kosher or sea salt, lots of salt

In a large skillet, melt the butter on MEDIUM HIGH. Add the beans and stir to coat with fat. Add the water and COVER. Cover, stirring every so often, til cooked. Remove from heat and stir in the zests and fresh chive. Season with salt to taste.

Nutrition Information Per 1/4 pound of raw green beans: 35 Cal (3% from Fat, 20% from Protein, 77% from Carb); 2 g Protein; 0 g Tot Fat; 0 g Sat Fat; 0 g Mono Fat; 8 g Carb; 4 g Fiber; 2 g Sugar; 42 mg Calcium; 1 mg Iron; 7 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 0 points

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How to eat more vegetables? A Veggie Venture is the home of Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg and the award-winning source of free vegetable recipes with 800 quick and easy favorite vegetable recipes, the Alphabet of Vegetables, Weight Watchers low-point recipes and microwave vegetable recipes.

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. LOL I have been enjoying an affair with beans too, this summer. We have been buying 1-2 lbs every single week and happily eating our way through them.
    I have Heidi's book but have not tried anything from it yet. This recipe looks so good!

  2. PS: It is 3 months until thanksgiving but I already have your GB casserole on the menu :)

  3. You are so right about the salt! I adore beans cooked right, and I have two favorite ways to eat them.

    One is a Chinese dish called dry fried green beans. The beans are actually deep fried (done right, which I haven't mastered, they aren't greasy. I keep crowding the wok.) Then they are stir-fried with garlic, scallions, chilies, a splash of sherry, chopped Chinese preserved vegetable (which in itself is salty) and of course, salt. They are the best!

    My other (current favorite) is useful when I get beans that have spent just a little too much time on the vine. I stew them. Funny how we always think quick cooking is best these days, but a green bean (or a fat roma), slowly stewed in good olive oil, with some chopped tomato, chopped garlic and onion, and some kalamatas and of course, plenty of salt and pepper, is a special thing!

  4. This looks so vibrants as well. I agree, a healthy dose of salt is necessary. Ever since I started using really high-quality spices from a Tucson shop, I've had a hard time going back to the supermarket stuff. It really makes a huge difference in your food.

  5. I tried this recipe the very day I bought the book and haven't had green beans any other way since! They are just wonderful!

  6. Alanna, visiting your blog and seeing your food always makes love vegetables even more. Keep you the good work.

  7. Yeah, another green bean recipe! Meg


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna