So, I thought about naming this recipe something cute, like “Gremlin Beans,” but then I remembered that I hate cutesy recipe names.
When I was little–say, younger than 10–the only vegetable I can remember eating with regularity is frozen green beans. My mom would microwave them in a bowl with a little water, then top them with a pat of butter. To me, that was BIG. I was Eating My Vegetables, and a very good girl. Now, when I spy those bags of frozen green beans in the grocery store, they seem like the Chef Boyardee version of veggies—pasty and made for people who don’t eat real food.
Fortunately for me, my amazing mama became a wonderful vegetarian chef basically the day after I got home from summer camp and announced I was never eating meat again because of a video I saw about veal. (This was super dorky summer camp.) No more frozen green beans for me–she started serving all sorts of amazing veggie-based meals. I’m so lucky!**
Also fortunately, I have re-discovered green beans, grown-up style. I adapted the following recipe from a Weight Watchers Thanksgiving article.
Green Beans with Garlic Gremolata
4 cups or so trimmed green beans – check out my lazy version below
1 cup thinly sliced shallot or yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced parsley
1 big squirt of lemon juice, or 2 tsp lemon zest if you feel like working for it
Salt and pepper
1. Steam green beans until pretty tender–they’ll cook a bit more in Step 3, but they should be basically done here. If you are lazy like me, buy the bag of washed and trimmed green beans from Trader Joe’s and microwave steam them in their bag for 3-4 minutes.
2. Heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat and toss in the shallots. Cover them for a while so they get nice and soft (but not mealy and overcooked).
3. Add the green beans and toss with salt and pepper to taste. Heat through if the beans have cooled.
4. Make the gremolata: combine garlic, parsley, and lemon in a small dish. I often choose to use a squirt of lemon juice because it’s easier than zesting a lemon, but I do like the zest version a bit better. Your choice!
5. Move the green beans to a serving dish and toss with the gremolata just before serving.
It looks oily, but it’s really not–the onions get nice and moist when cooking under cover, and they kind of spread that love around. This totally qualifies as comfort food if you add a little extra salt, and it’s even good when it cools down. Wife loves this dish!
**I should note that my parents later told me that they took me to Roy Rogers on the way home from summer camp and allowed me to order mashed potatoes and gravy, chuckling because I scarfed it without realizing that gravy = meat. So, my parents rule for basically adopting vegetarianism along with their 10-year-old, but they also have sick senses of humor.