Whether you call them string beans, snap beans or green beans, these vivid green pods don’t need much help to highlight their flavour. From classic dishes to more creative ideas, our 10 delicious recipes provide plenty of inspiration to experiment with green beans all year long.
Featured in the produce department from May to September, green beans are at their peak freshness during the summer, making them a staple at barbecues and picnics. Pick out brightly coloured beans that are smooth and firm without any blemishes. Skip those with yellow tips as it can indicate older beans that are drying out.
Pack beans in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for no more than five days. Only wash them once you’re ready to cook, since wet beans spoil quicker. If there’s a lot of condensation in your plastic bag, add a paper towel to soak up the excess moisture. Prior to cooking, trim or snap off the ends of the beans (also known as “topping and tailing” them) and cut or leave them whole, depending on the recipe you’re following.
According to the Canadian Nutrient File, a 100 g serving of boiled green beans is a source of vitamin C, a dietary antioxidant that protects against free radicals. Containing fibre and cholesterol free, green beans are low in calories and fat as well.
Make green beans the star of any potluck, picnic or weeknight dinner. The trick is to avoid overcooking them so they maintain their bright green hue and crunch, which works well in a variety of recipes.
In a Niçoise “Petite” Potato Salad, green beans add snappy texture to a medley of tender potatoes and briny black olives. Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes & Almonds is a Mediterranean-inspired variation on the French classic Green Beans Amandine, using tomatoes and almonds to highlight the earthy notes of green beans.
Hot off the barbecue, Cheesy Green Bean BBQ Casserole is a contemporary take on the perennially popular “green bean casserole” from the world-famous cookbook Joy of Cooking. Green Beans with Roasted Garlic & Parmesan adds tarragon to bring out the bright tones of in-season beans or makes frozen ones taste like they were just picked. Because the beans’ flavour is so mild, either side pairs well with a range of proteins, including beef, chicken, pork and fish.
Green bean-based salads are an easy alternative to leafy green salads. Green Bean & Tomato Salad is a super simple way to show off summer produce, highlighting blanched green beans with tomatoes and fresh basil. For an updated version of a classic, try Italian-Style Green Bean & Potato Salad, which can be prepped in advance and is easily portable for a potluck or picnic. If your family is wild about the classic Thanksgiving casserole of green beans and crunchy fried onions, serve this dynamic duo at summer potlucks reinvented as Green Beans with Caramelized Onions. The best part about these salads? They’re extremely forgiving, as they can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature.
Chicken with Orzo & Green Beans is a quick, colourful, Mediterranean-inspired dinner with the mild beans balancing tangy barbecue chicken, salty Greek dressing and sharp feta.
Here’s a little secret: Green beans can be an economic substitute for asparagus. Try the swap in Easy Asparagus & Crab Crustless Skillet Quiche, where beans add snap to Swiss cheese and crab-flavoured surimi, and Mushroom & Asparagus Strudel, bursting with shallots, mushrooms and green beans with a zing from lemon and parsley.
While green beans are only in-season for a short time in Canada, they freeze beautifully. Blanch them (cut into halves, thirds or left whole based on your preference) for about three minutes in a pot of boiling water, plunge into ice water for another three minutes, then drain. Transfer the beans to a dated zip-top freezer bag and store them for up to one year.
You can also pickle green beans to extend their shelf life. Beans pickled with coriander or mustard seeds and garlic make an unexpected garnish for a Caesar or a crunchy option for a cheese plate. Add fresh dill to the pickling jars to make a snack that’s known as “dilly beans.”