Summer is most definitely over, and we are back in the insanely busy groove of things! My weekday routine is a big mesh of 3 different school pick-ups and drop offs, plus the typical myriad of after school activities. Dinner needs to be ready when the kids are, and not the other way around ;)
This has caused me to turn back to the basics, and for the first time since I've started cooking in 15 years, I made this easy easy easy green bean saute. All because I found beautiful bright and deeply green colored fresh green beans one day this past summer at my local market. I scooped them up and went home to make this, and now we eat it a few times a month. Everyone except the pickiest member of the family has surprised themselves by loving it, and I love how simple and nourishing it is. Since fresh green beans are not as easy to find these days, I keep my freezer stocked with the french green beans from Trader Joe's. They're actually even easier to cook because they're pre-washed and the ends are already snipped.
In Syria, this is called "lubyeh bil zait" meaning "green beans in oil". This dish relies on the THIN green beans, and there is a similar version that swaps the garlic and cilantro for onions and tomatoes, using larger green beans, but I've never been a fan of that one and just sort of forgot about this version. So glad I remembered it, and so happy to share it with you!!!
Serves 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish.
-24 ounces french green beans (frozen or fresh, look for the thinnest stalks)
-1/4 cup water, optional
-10 cloves garlic, mashed
-1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups packed cilantro, chopped (1 large bunch cilantro)
-2-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-Heat a medium sized pot or deep saute pan on high heat. Add the green beans (if using fresh, make sure you wash them, snip the tips on both sides, and cut them into 3 inch long pieces). Lately I have been using frozen ones because this makes the perfect short notice meal when I'm low on fresh produce. Also the beans don't need much water when they're frozen.
-Cook the beans in the covered pot for about 5 minutes. You want them to soften, but still have a slight bite to them. Mushy beans are not yummy!
-Reduce the heat to low to slowdown the cooking of the beans and add the minced garlic and salt to the green beans and give it a stir. If your beans are starting to stick to the bottom of the pot and are still too firm, add UP TO 1/4 cup water. Let the garlic become fragrant (which means it is slightly cooked).
-Add the cilantro and give the beans a mix. Cook for a minute or so longer to slightly wilt the cilantro, and turn off the heat.
-Add the olive oil and mix. I start with 2 tablespoons (to keep it lower in fat) and will add more if I'm making this dish for company.
-Serve hot, warm, or room temperature with optional yogurt, a squeeze of lemon, and pita bread.
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