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.


Marinated Tomato Salad

Marinated Tomato Salad

With the mild summer this year, I’m sure most home gardeners are being blessed with a late but bumper crop of tomatoes this month. We got our first harvest in August, and there has been no looking back. The two cherry tomato plants we put in this year have  multiplied and pretty much taken over the vegetable patch like weeds. The one beef-steak tomato plant is thriving too and it’s fruit is humungous, juicy & delicious. After sharing plenty with family & friends, and freezing a couple bottles full of sauce, we are still going strong.

Today's Harvest

Today’s Harvest

Snuffles waiting for treats

Snuffles waiting for treats

Overgrown Tomato Plants

Overgrown Tomato Plants

Looking online, I came across this recipe for an interesting tomato salad. Although I didn’t have everything mentioned, I used the basic idea and tweaked it to suit our tastes. I must say – this is YUMMY!! Really easy to put together, this salad is made ahead of time and it must sit for a few hours at room temperature for all the flavors to come together. The marinade/juices can be sopped up with some crusty bread. I’ll definitely make it again when we have company for the last few barbecues this fall.

I had this for lunch with Cold Sesame Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce. I know – different cuisines, but it worked for me :).

Marinated Tomato Salad

(Serves 4-5)

Marinated Tomato Salad

  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes (or other red variety of choice)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp basil (finely chopped)
  • 2 whole green onions/scallions (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp dry oregano (original recipe called for thyme, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional – I like my food spicy)
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • salt to taste

1) Wash & drain the tomatoes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half, or larger tomatoes into wedges.

2) In a large bowl, whisk all marinade ingredients until well incorporated.

3) Gently toss tomatoes and cover bowl.

4) Marinate at room temperature for several hours, stirring occasionally.

NOTE: Can be served with a piece of crusty bread to sop the juices. Next time, I might add a little shredded mozzarella too.