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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sesame-Soy Green Beans

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I’ve said it many times before, but I have a bad habit of overlooking side dishes, especially when I’m only cooking for Ryan and I. I get too caught up in the main dish and am likely already anticipating my nightly dessert, that I usually depend on super easy sides (shout out for my beloved kale chips!) or omit them altogether. However, ever since making the raisin and pine nut asparagus out of Cooking Light, I’ve paid a little more attention to their featured side dish each month.

The July issue of Cooking Light featured green beans and offered four different variations, everything from citrus-nut to peppery-bacon. They all sounded good, but I opted to make the sesame-soy green beans, since I had all of the ingredients on hand.

I liked that this side dish wasn’t particularly time consuming or complicated, meaning it wasn’t too difficult to make alongside of my main dish (a pasta dish, that evening). My slight mishap with burnt sesame seeds can be blamed on my inability to read the labels on my stove correctly, not the complexity of the recipe! Be warned, these green beans carry a bit of heat from the crushed red pepper. Omit or reduce if you’re sensitive to spice! 

(Scroll down for an additional side dish idea!)

Thanks for those of you that participated in yesterday's auction! My mocha coconut granola bars (+ cookies!) ended up going for $75...just a small portion of the over $25,000 raised!

Sesame-Soy Green Beans
from Cooking Light July 2011

-1 lb green beans, trimmed
-1 tbsp dark sesame oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
-1 tbsp lower-sodium soy sauce
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add beans and cook for 5 minutes. Plunge beans in ice water and drain.
2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat sesame oil with minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Saute for 30 seconds. Add green beans, soy sauce, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes, tossing frequently.
3. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

While we're on the subject of side dishes...recently Foodbuzz sent me a coupon (as part of their Tastemakers Program) to try out some Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries. Though I typically make my own baked sweet potato fries, I was eager to see how these compared. It was nice to not have to worry about uniforming chopping and slicing my potatoes---that part was already done for me! The ingredient list on Ore-Ida's fries was decent, a few more ingredients than when I make them myself, but they're still pretty natural, especially for coming from a package!

I lightly seasoned the fries with seasoned salt and we enjoyed them (along with okra fries-not from a package) dipped in a sauce I concocted: about a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt, a tablespoon or two of light sour cream, a few squeezes of Sriracha sauce, and half a lime, squeezed. The sauce was a tangy accompaniment to the vegetables and one I'll be making next time we have sweet potato fries of any sort.

All in all, we liked the Ore-Ida fries. They were impressively crispy and not at all greasy. Though I'll probably still make my own from scratch most of the time, these are a great option for those who don't want to deal with the mess or time of making their own!