Tag Archives: vegetarian side dish

Spicy Green Beans

 

Ever try to get a child, or significant other, or friend, or yourself, to eat a new vegetable? ¬†Sometimes, it is just fine. But most of the time, it does not go over well. You’re greeted with scrunched up noses, tongues sticking out, and a chorus of “ewwww!”.

Well, I have good news for you. I know of several tricks to get new vegetables to at the least be considered, if not openly adored. One involves trying it in a new texture. I’ve found that pan-frying or baking until crispy can render some normally off-putting veg nearly irresistible.

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The second trick is spice. Usually the hot kind, but also all kinds of spices. Familiarize yourself with different spices, fresh and dried, ground and whole. Peppers are a whole world of their own, from as innocuous as bells and jalapenos up through cherry peppers, poblanos, and serranos.

While they are in season, pick them up cheap at the store or farmer’s market (or better yet, grow your own, peppers are very forgiving and easy growing!) and they freeze or dehydrate beautifully for salsas and recipes all year long.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh green beans (or any pole bean)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp ground or fresh diced hot pepper
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh diced garlic
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp olive oil

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Step 1: Put the olive oil and green beans in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes, until beans start to brown.

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Step 2: Add the garlic, tomatoes, soy sauce, and hot pepper. You can use any kind of tomatoes, or forget about them and just cook the beans too. I happened to have a yellow pear tomato plant that just exploded with fruit so I used those. It adds a nice juicy, fresh taste.

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Cook until tomatoes burst, and most of the liquid is evaporated. Serve hot!

These come out crunchy yet easy to chew, with a very fun texture. If you let them cool slightly, they can be great finger foods. Obviously you can adjust the level of heat to the comfort level of whoever is eating them. Add extra hot peppers to convince a doubtful male to try it (Seriously, spice works to conceal a lot of “vegetal” tastes most dudes don’t love), or dial it back for those who are new to spices.

You can even omit the hot pepper at all for children, or people who are allergic or just don’t like hot pepper. But I’d suggest giving it a try, you’ll never go back to canned beans once you’ve tried this delish dish!

 

Italian Cucumbers & Tomatoes

 

In the summer heat, with the garden beginning to produce bumper crops, there is nothing better than a refreshing side dish you can pick from your own yard (or farmers market or grocery store) and have ready in under ten minutes. This can be served room temperature or refrigerated, and is easy to make ahead for a party later or the next day, but fast enough to be ready like, now.

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Cucumber has cooling properties, and tomatoes have tons of trace minerals and compounds. Put the two together, and you’ll always get something delicious with a side of healthy. Feel free to mix it up with whatever herbs you have handy. I had chives, but dill, parsley, mint, or basil would also go nicely here. You could also add in feta or goat cheese if the spirit moved you.

Oh, and if you don’t have or don’t like bottled Italian dressing, feel free to quickly whip up your own vinaigrette. Combine one from each of the following: 1/4 cup (white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, lemon juice) + 2-3 tbsp (olive oil, vegetable oil, coconut oil, palm oil). Optional additions: mashed or diced garlic cloves, fresh/dried herbs, salt and/or pepper, and infused oils or vinegars.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (or 2 large, diced)
  • 1/2 large cucumber, diced
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped herbs
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing (affiliate link)

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Step 1: If using cherry tomatoes, cut in half. If using large round tomatoes, dice into quarters or eighths. Rinse the cucumber well, and cut half into small cubes.

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Step 2: Dice your herbs, feel free to combine more than one kind too. Mix it all together in a bowl and drizzle on the dressing. Toss to coat.

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This awesome side dish has graced many a backyard barbecue over the years, and will continue to do so for a very long time. It can be left in the refrigerator overnight, and up to 3 days. The longer you leave it, the more water will come out of the veggies though, so by the third day it gets a little soggy. I bet you’ll finish it all in one sitting anyhow. ūüėČ

Below is the total nutrition information for this dish. It makes about 4 servings at 1/2 cup each.

Nutrition Facts

 

User Entered Recipe
¬†¬†1¬†Serving 
Amount Per Serving
  Calories 281.4
  Total Fat 18.2 g
  Saturated Fat 1.6 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 903.2 mg
  Potassium 261.5 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 25.4 g
  Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
  Sugars 12.1 g
  Protein 1.2 g
  Vitamin A 27.7 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 3.6 %
  Vitamin C 99.1 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 0.7 %
  Calcium 2.7 %
  Copper 3.0 %
  Folate 6.5 %
  Iron 6.7 %
  Magnesium 4.8 %
  Manganese 6.8 %
  Niacin 1.9 %
  Pantothenic Acid     2.9 %
  Phosphorus     4.6 %
  Riboflavin 2.4 %
  Selenium 0.1 %
  Thiamin 2.7 %
  Zinc 2.2 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Vegan Four Bean Salad

 

This dish was cooked up (pun intended) for a work potluck I had. I wanted a dish that didn’t take too much time and effort, since I would put it together the day of, maybe even the night before. And it needed to be something that made a lot, to feed a lot of people, but on a penny budget.

In comes my old best friends, beans, to the rescue! Beans are delightful, cheap, and filling. They come in endless variety too, so when you put several kinds together you get a healthy, hearty, and also pretty dish.

This is a very easily customizable adaptation of your typical “three-bean” salad, in that I simply added an extra type of beans. Here I used canned, but you can slash the cost even further by starting with dried beans, and cooking them in a crock pot on low overnight to rehydrate. Then drain and refrigerate until needed.

Ingredients:

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Step 1: Open all the cans, put the beans in a colander and rinse them several times with cold water. This helps remove some of the excess sodium and any preservatives that might have been in the canned juices. Mix in a large bowl with the peppers and onion.

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Step 2: Combine the vinegar and oil, and pour over the mixture. Add the spices, and mix everything up.

 

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