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Vibrant Tasty Green Beans

Simple, five ingredient green beans. Dill, green beans, leeks, salt and olive oil, that’s it. Five ingredients, one skillet, so good.

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This is one of my favorite ways to cook green beans – five ingredients, one skillet. I know some of you are married to your traditional way of cooking them, but if you are in the market for a new version, give this recipe a go. 

Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe

Simple Green Beans

I cook green beans a couple times a week during certain seasons, and this version with its slightly quirky combination of ingredients is one I come back to over and over. It is light and bright, healthy and delicious. Simply cook a bunch of chopped leeks (or scallions) until they are golden and a bit crunchy, toss in some chopped dill, and then add the green beans. Do your best to not overcook them and you’re all set. If this recipe isn’t quite your jam, but you love beans, try this Green Bean Slaw, these Yellow Wax Beans & Scallions, Feisty Green Beans (so good!), or this Yellow Bean Salad.
Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe

Side dish vs. Main dish

While I’ve written this recipe as more of a side dish – you can easily bump it up to main dish status. I sometimes use the dilled green beans to fill omelettes (along with a bit of goat cheese). Alternately, you might toss some tofu, tempeh or seitan into the skillet (sautéed until nicely browned or golden ahead of time) along with the beans. Or, you could make a main dish salad by serving the beans over lightly dressed butter lettuce & toss a few raviolis in. There are plenty of directions to take this one!

Ingredients

I think this goes without saying, but do your best to seek out really good beans. They should be bright green and have a bit of snap when you bend them. Avoid anything leathery, also avoid beans that are limp, mottled, soft, mushy or mangy.
Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe
As I note in the recipe down below, this is best made to order, just before serving. I don’t like hot green beans after they’ve been sitting around for long periods of time – they lose vibrancy, and the texture and taste changes as they sit overcooking themselves. That said, there’s a way to prep the main components ahead if you’re doing them for Thanksgiving.

How to make ahead

You can make this recipe a day ahead of time by cooking the leeks and dill first and setting them aside. Instead of cooking the beans in a skillet, blanch them in a pot of boiling, well-salted water for about a minute. Drain and dunk the beans in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside until ready to use. Combine the components before serving – you can do it at room temperature, or heated quickly in a skillet or pan before serving.

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Green Falafel Bowl

The star of this show is the golden-crusted, green spinach falafel. Lemon-flecked, made with chickpeas, you see them tucked into this rainbow assortment of hummus, pita, kale, cucumber, and carrots.

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No surprise, the cornerstone of this recipe is little balls of spinach-flecked falafel. If you look at the photo, you’ll see the pan-seared patties hanging out in the 5 o’clock position. They’re crusted, golden, browned on the outside, tender and lemon-punctuated on the inside. They’re also packed with good-for-you greens and chickpeas. I make them in big batches, freeze them, and eat them (allll the time) as snacks, or in bowls like these.

Spinach flecked falafel in a bowl with sides.

Falafel at the Center

If you have the falafel, you can pull together a pretty good snack or meal. It could be something along the lines of what you see here, or something different based on what you have on hand. I had some hummus in the fridge (a red beet version of this hummus), some kale, carrots, and cucumber that needed to be used, and some pita. Also, some herb stragglers. The pita and carrots went into the oven, I cooked the falafel in a skillet, and chopped up the rest. Let’s say you didn’t have any of that, but you did have some romaine, yogurt, and a garlic clove. You could do falafel lettuce wraps instead, smashing the garlic into a paste and adding it to the yogurt along with a bit of salt. Use that as your sauce. The name of the game here is adaptability.

Green Falafel Bowl

Cooking Methods

Once you’ve formed the falafel you have a range of cooking options. If you smush them a bit, and pan-fry them in a bit of oil, you’ll get the best golden crust. Sometimes I bake them (450°F), also pretty-strong contender. I’ve even tested them in an Air Fryer, and they’re one of just a handful of things to exceed my expectations in it (7 minutes at 390°F, shake the basket, and do another 7 minutes).

A Vegan Version

I’ll note this in the recipe headnotes below as well. To make the falafel vegan, you can use flax “egg” (5 T. water + 2 T. ground flax seeds whisked together), and skip the cheese.

Green Falafel Bowl

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