Grilled Green Beans with Sesame

This recipe was inspired by a search for some kind of grilled vegetable to go along with some oven-barbecued pork. I originally thought I’d make a summer squash sort of thing however my search results were underwhelming. When I expanded the search to just grilled vegetables I found one reference to grill green beans. I used the basic technique from that recipe, adding the sesame rather than their overly complicated onion/garlic/rosemary mash-up. I enjoyed the charred beans, which were a bit smoky ’cause grilling.

Grilled Green Beans with Sesame
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Special Equipment:

Directions:

  1. Heat your gas grill to medium high for 10-15 minutes. Once the grill is started I trim the green beans.
  2. Combine the prepped green beans, vegetable oil, a generous pinch of kosher salt and a dozen grinds of black pepper in a large bowl. Toss the beans until well coated with oil.
  3. Place the grill pan over 2 active burners on the grill. Transfer the oiled green beans onto the grill pan and spread the beans across the pan. Close the cover and ignore for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Stir the green beans, spread across the pan once again and cook for another 3-4 minutes, cover up this time. While the green beans cook toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for a minute or so. You want the sesame seeds to be lightly browned. Once toasted transfer the sesame seeds to a small bowl to prevent burning in the hot pan.
  5. Check a green bean; if it is not done to your liking then toss, spread and cook for another minute at a time until you are happy with the done-ness. When done remove the grill pan from the heat.
  6. Transfer the grilled green beans to a bowl. Add the toasted sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil. Toss, adjust salt and pepper if necessary and serve.

Notes:
Green beans can be prepped up to 2 hours in advance. Cover with a barely-damp paper towel and stash in the fridge.

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Weeknight Green Beans

Healthy living (and my dietitian) suggest that the dinner plate should be half filled with non-starchy vegetables. I’ve never been great with this on the best of days and weeknight meals I often struggle to make a main and starch. So I’ve been poking through my brain to figure out vegetables we like that I can look with a minimum of fuss on a weeknight.

Weeknight Green Beans
Servings: 2
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. fresh green beans
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Directions:

  1. Trim the stem ends off of the green beans and cut into 2″ pieces. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, add a splash (call it a tablespoon) of water and cover with plastic wrap. Heat at full-power for 5 minutes. Drain water and set aside.
  2. While the green beans cook combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined.
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat until shimmering. Add green beans and distribute into a single layer in the pan. Good for 2 minutes without disturbing to develop a bit of browning.
  4. Toss and stir to redistribute the beans. Cook for 2 more minutes. Check a green bean. If done to your liking go on to the next step, otherwise toss, stir and repeat until your happy with the doneness.
  5. Drizzle the mustard mixture over the green beans. Toss green beans so that the sauce coats as many of the beans as possible.
  6. Taste a green bean, add salt and pepper as desired, and serve.

Notes:
No reason this couldn’t be doubled except maybe your skillet size. If you can’t get a single layer of beans when doubling then bump the heat up to high and redistribute every minute.

Skillet Green Beans with Bacon and Mustard

I made these as a side to go with roast pork loin and potato gratin a couple of weeks back. They’d probably go pretty well with the ubiqutous turkey and mashed ‘taters of American Thanksgiving.

Skillet Green Beans with Bacon and Mustard
Servings: 6-8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of bacon, diced
  • 2.5 lbs. green beans, stemed and cut into 1.5″ pieces
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Add cold bacon to a large skillet. Place over medium heat and cook until the fat is fully rendered. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked bacon to a plate lined with a couple of sheets of paper towels; set aside. Transfer the bacon fat into a small bowl, returning 1 tablespoon of fat to the skillet. Try not to snack on the bacon too much.
  2. Return the skillet to the burner, return to medium heat and add the green beans. Cook green beans, tossing periodically, for 5 minutes. Add shallot and 1/3 cups water and cover. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. While the green beans cook combine the mustard and vinegar together and mix until combined.
  4. Remove cover and allow the water to evaporate, about 1 minute. Add the mustard/vinegar mixture. Toss until green beans are coated. Add the bacon pieces and combine. Transfer to a bowl and serve.

Notes:
Method copied from Cook’s Illustrated.

Roasted Sesame Green Beans

Boiled vegetables are rather boring. The water washes away flavor, and nutrients. Without careful timing the veggies come out limp and dull. Roasting on the other hand concentrates the flavors with the added bonus of some nice charring if you are lucky.

Roasted Sesame Green Beans
Servings: 8-10
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. fresh green beans, stem-end trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds, toasted
  • kosher salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in the middle position. Line a half-sheet pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up).
  2. Toss green beans with olive oil and scatter between two unlined sheet pans. Better to have overlapping beans than everything squished into a single layer. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. Transfer to the oven and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Swap and rotate the sheet pans. Return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove pan from the oven to a cooling rack. Drizzle with sesame oil, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy.

Notes:
After trimming the green beans I use a salad spinner to rinse off any dust that clings to them. Fill the salad spinner with water, add the beans and swish them about. Lift out the perforated basket and dump the water. Refill with water and repeat until the water runs clean. Then give the beans a couple of spins to get rid of excess moisture. You’ll want to keep a hand on top of the spinner though or it might fling itself off the counter.

I referenced a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated when I started this and ended up only using the cooking temp/times.

Green Beans with Red Peppers and Walnut Oil

This quick side dish can be ready in 10 minutes once the beans are trimmed.

Green beans and red pepper

Green Beans with Red Peppers and Walnut Oil
Servings: 6
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 Tbsp. walnut oil
  • fine sea salt & cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Fill a sauce pan with about 1″ of water and set a steamer basket into the pan. Place the green beans and red pepper into the basket. Turn burner to high.
  2. When the water is boiling (and steam is thus produced) start a timer. Cook for 5-6 minutes. The beans should still have a slight crunch to it.
  3. Transfer green beans and red pepper to a bowl. Drizzle with walnut oil; sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat. Serve.