We’ve all experienced a questionable serving of green beans at some stage in our lives; the boiled-to-death, soggy, watery, grey tinged version that tastes like something you’d find in the bottom of the kitchen sink after a big round of washing up. These kind of food experiences are what turn people into veggie enemies. It pains me to think that the green bean isn’t able to display its true splendour; but when given the recognition it deserves, the humble green bean accompaniment can drop the jaws of an entire Masterchef panel.
I’m sooooooo excited for spring, not just for the bursting forth of fragrant flowers, but because this is when glorious green beans come out to play. There’s nothing like a freshly picked, sweet green bean to munch on during a sunny spring day. They’re also very nutritious; containing high amounts of vitamins C, K, A, B6, B2, B1, as well as folate, fibre, and a multitude of minerals; including bone building calcium, bone and tissue supporting silicon, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous and energy producing iron.
Because of their gorgeous green colour, many people overlook that green beans are actually rich in carotenoids; including lutein, violaxanthin, neoxanthin and beta-carotene; which is normally associated with the golden hues of tomatoes and carrots. The only reason you can’t see these orange coloured carotenoids is because green beans have such a high chlorophyll content; giving them a beautiful green colour. Chlorophyll is a brilliant blood detoxifier and oxygenator, and works wonderfully to reduce digestive complaints and inflammation.
Out of all the veggies in the pea and bean families, green beans come out on top on the antioxidant scale. As well as the carotenoids mentioned above, green beans contain high levels of quercetin, kaemferol, catechins, epicatechins and procyanidins. Although you may think that their names sound like gibberish, these are super important antioxidants needed for the body to prevent the free radical damage that leads to cancer, premature ageing, cardiovascular disease, as well as promoting and protecting skin, eye and brain health.
The unique antioxidant content of green beans has also been found to give this unassuming veggie some potentially remarkable anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies indicate that green bean antioxidants are linked to the decreased activity of certain inflammation enzymes including lipoxygenases and cyclooxygenases. As a result, further research is being conducted on the positive impacts that green beans may have on the prevention and management of the inflammatory condition; type 2 diabetes.
Transforming a simple green bean into a scrumptious feast isn’t rocket science. So often people make the mistake of thinking this requires lengthy lists of exotic ingredients. This doesn’t have to be the case; and often, over-doing it with ingredients can do more harm than good. It can also use up a lot of unnecessary money and time. All you really need is a handful of everyday ingredients to transform a dull dish into a flavour filled extravaganza that’s overflowing with super food qualities. These slow cooked green beans are the perfect accompaniment to your lunch or dinner feast, and have a spectacular combination of nutrient rich ingredients that’ll really switch on your healing systems.
Onions are definitely worth the tears, as they’re a dynamo ingredient to ward off infections, viruses and allergies, and are a magnificent all-round tonic for improving health and longevity. Onions have been used in traditional societies for thousands of years as they’re known to support, and rev up your immune system, improve stomach anxieties, relieve inflammation, prevent heart disease, and improve blood health. Red onions are particularly special; as like green beans; they’re super high in antioxidants. They’re particularly high in quercetin; an antioxidant flavanoid with anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Did you know that consuming half of a red onion daily is believed to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by a whopping 50%? The quercetin in red onions is also believed to prevent intestinal polyps and treat psoriasis. You can rest assured that slow cooking red onion will also retain this important anti-oxidant, as its heat stable and transferrable to cooking water.
This succulent slow cooked side dish also contains rosemary; a delicious, pungent, earthy herb that I use to intensify the flavours of many of my recipes, and ramp up their nutritional profile. Rosemary has a longstanding history of medicinal uses; including the treatment of stomach upsets, digestive disorders and headaches. Current research is revealing even more of rosemary’s potential; including its ability to help prevent cancer and age-related skin damage, boost the function of the liver, and act as a mild diuretic to reduce swelling.
Rosemary is another ingredient that’s absolutely soaring with antioxidants, including monoterpenes, phenolic diterpenes and flavanoids. These antioxidants are particularly effective in reducing DNA damage by destroying free radicals. It’s been found to prevent DNA mutations particularly in the liver and bronchial cells, which occurs through disease causing environmental toxins. These kinds of toxins and chemicals, when not protected by antioxidants, lead to cancerous growths. Rosemary is therefore an ingredient that everyone should include in their diet. For some more spectacular side dish ideas that utilize this aromatic superfood, try these fragrant slow roasted tomatoes or my simple oven roasted vegetables.
This slow cooked green bean recipe will definitely sweep away any dead-bean memories you’ve developed over the years. The slow cooking process will gently coalesce the fabulous flavours of the rosemary, onion, garlic, and tomatoes to add a new layer of deliciousness to the simple green bean; giving it the justice it deserves to be re-established as a scrumptiously satisfying side dish. Now that you know the sky-rocketing antioxidant properties of this recipe, it’ll be all the more reason to load your plate up, and get those free radical scavengers moving; reducing inflammation, fighting cancer, improving the quality of your skin and eyes, and fighting off a multitude of free radical associated diseases.
Enjoy these slow cooked green beans as an accompaniment to any savoury dish, like buckwheat frittata with tomato and basil, or to add a colourful burst of flavour to a yummy garlic and rosemary chicken recipe. Alternatively, if you really fancy the beans on their own, simply eat this dish with some cooked brown rice or quinoa to make a satisfying, light vegetarian lunch that’ll bring the green eyes out of all of your work colleagues!
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
- 2 cup green beans, trimmed
- 12 tomatoes chopped or 2 can crushed/chopped tomatoes (no additives)
- 2 TBS fresh or dehydrated rosemary
- 400 mls vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup almond slithers
- Celtic sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Heat the oil in a heavy pan then add the onion and garlic sauté them over a medium heat
- Now place in beans, tomatoes and rosemary in saucepan
- Add stock and bring to boil
- Turn heat to low and place on lid cook for 2+ hours on low setting
- Season to taste and add almond slithers
Happy cooking 🙂