Green Beans & Red Pepper Medley

Green Beans & Red Pepper Medley Signing up for a fitness challenge at Gold’s Gym and having a trainer has meant that I have started to watch what I eat – grudgingly, but I’m doing it. I don’t believe in starving or depriving myself, or in any of the no carb/ high protein/ gluten free/ paleo/ etc diets – I guess I just don’t have the discipline for them. I’ve realized that our (my family’s) food philosophy should be to eat like our parents & grandparents – seasonal, whole foods, variety, primarily plant based, occasional indulgences without guilt, and moderation. While I still sneak a bite of the PBJ sandwich, and enjoy an occasional cupcake, I have definitely incorporated a fruit and atleast one vegetable as the main source of each meal. With conscious eating, I am more appreciative of colors, flavors and texture now than ever before. I made this Green Beans & Red Pepper Medley during one of the snow day holidays when I had to make do with what I had at home.

With warm weather picnics & barbecues in the horizon, this is a make-ahead healthy side that is great on the taste buds as it is on the eyes. Pair with grilled meat, veggie burgers or even as an unusual but always much welcome option for an appetizer. My teenager had to be shooed away from eating these straight from the pan!! The recipe here, again, is just a guide – feel free to adjust the seasoning & quantity to suit your tastes.

I use this simple seasoning for many of my vegetable sides – brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, etc – and either pan roast or oven roast ( my preferred method). Just toss the raw cut veggies in olive oil, chilli flakes, minced garlic and salt. Transfer to a flat baking tray and bake at 425*F for 8-10 mins till they are cooked but still crunchy. My family never complains about eating their veggies this way.

NOTE: The recipe shows a lot of steps because I have explained in detail how to blanch the vegetables. This dish is very easy to put together.

Green Beans & Red Pepper Medley

Green Beans & Red Pepper Medley

(Serves 6-8)

  • 1/2 – 1 lb thin green beans (washed & drained) – {I use the Costco haricot vert or French green beans which are smaller and more tender than regular green string beans; if using regular beans, use the tenderest ones you can find}
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 1 large onion (finely sliced)
  • 1 large red pepper (seeded and sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • salt to blanch the beans, plus extra to taste

1) Bring about 8-10 cups of water to boil in a large pan.

2) Meanwhile, add ice to another large bowl with water and set close to the stove.

3) When the water boils in the first pan on the stovetop, add about 1-2 tablespoon of salt and the beans (salt generously – this will keep the color of the beans vibrant, yet will not be absorbed heavily by the vegetables). Continue cooking  for another 3-4 minutes on high flame.

4) Taste test a bean to see if it is slightly tender and lightly salty. It should still be crunchy. At this point, quickly use a strainer or tongs to remove the beans and transfer immediately into the ice water.

Depending on the size of your pots and the amount of beans being used, you may have to work in small batches.

5) Let the beans cool completely in the ice water – this will stop the cooking process and retain the color. Touch after a few minutes to make sure they are no longer warm.

6) Drain completely – do not allow the beans to sit in the cold water for a long time or they will become soggy – and spread on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.

7) Heat the same large pot on medium-high flame, and add 1/2 – 1 tablespoon oil to it.

8) Add the garlic and saute few seconds till lightly golden. Toss in the chilli flakes and stir.

9) Now add the sliced onions and saute on medium-high flame till translucent.

10) Add the sliced red pepper and saute for about 2-3 minutes till slightly tender.

11) Add the drained green beans and salt to taste and saute on a high flame till all the vegetables are starting to slightly brown, but are still crisp and crunchy.

12) Remove to a platter and serve hot or at room temperature.

Advertisements

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

After the carb-overload from Memorial Day weekend, this salad has made a steady appearance on my plate this week. Spinach salad gets old soon, I still haven’t developed a taste for kale, and I refuse to eat lettuce! I mean – why?!?! Seriously – why?  🙂 I’d much rather eat a bowl of steamed veggies. Anyway, I generally shop at the local international supermarket, and see so many different varieties of produce. I have finally decided to try atleast one new thing each month, and hopefully make something worth sharing here. I had seen many recipes using Jicama on Pinterest, and figured it would be a good idea to make a salad or stir fry with. Originating from Mexico, this root vegetable is slightly sweet and crunchy – almost like a mix between an apple and a potato. It can be eaten raw or cooked, and does not change color or texture even after cutting and saving in the refrigerator for a few days. Turns out it is pretty inexpensive too – under $1/lb. Choose one that is firm and heavy, without any bruises or mold. To use, cut the top and bottom to level on chopping board. Then, make small slits and peel off the thin brown skin.

According to the USDA National Nutrition Database, 100 gms of jicama has only 38 calories; approx. 8 gms carbs; approx. 5 gms fiber; 20 mg Vit C. 

Jicama Info

(photo from http://bonnieplants.com)

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

(Serves 2)

All ingredients are to taste, so I am skipping measurements. This salad is light, crunchy, and healthy. Plus, it holds its texture and color very well. I julienned a medium jicama on Monday, and it stayed the same till this afternoon (what you see in the photos). Store bought julienned carrots were used. To keep apples from browning, drop into a bowl of Sprite or any lemon-lime soda immediately after cutting and soak for a few minutes (I save the large bottles that go flat after opening for a party). Drain completely, and the apples will not darken for several hours. Alternately, you can just grate all the veggies using the larger holes in your grater.

Jicama Salad with Thai Spices

  • 1 small to medium jicama
  • 1 medium apple of choice (I used green Granny Smith as it crisp)
  • Julienned carrots
  • Finely chopped green / Thai chili
  • Finely grated ginger
  • Fish sauce (you can probably substitute soy sauce or just plain salt, but the flavor will be different)
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Sugar (optional – about 1/2 tsp)
  • Roasted chopped peanuts (salted or unsalted)

Toss all ingredients in a bowl, and top with more roasted peanuts and cilantro.