I grew up helping my mother in the kitchen, and one of the first tasks I remember being charged with was snapping green beans. It's a methodical process, removing the thin string all along the bean. Half of the beans hardly made it to the table; I loved eating the sweet veggies raw. Now, I prefer cooking them; this season, make the most of the green beans popping up in farmer's markets, and cook them up for this week's meatless Monday meal.
Start out with a salad. This salad pairs green beans with mushrooms. Topped with a creamy vinaigrette, it's a real change from traditional lettuce-based salads and, perhaps most importantly, it's more filling given the added mushrooms. Throw a sliced hard-boiled egg into the mix for added protein to make this salad hefty enough for dinner.
There's no more traditional preparation for green beans than in a green bean casserole. Our version does away with the processed canned soup, subbing real ingredients to make this casserole a treat. You won't miss the funyons; the homemade French fried onions are miles more delicious... and much better for you!
Go a bit further afield, with an exotic Ethiopian combination of green beans, potatoes and carrots. This spiced Berbere stew is a delicious way to change up your meatless Monday meals. Serve it with homemade injera for an even more authentic experience.
Green beans pair perfectly with sesame; this Asian-inspired spiced sesame green bean recipe is great on its own, as a side, or as part of an Asian vegetable medley. Serve a few different dishes with some brown rice, and you've got an exotic vegetarian meal ready to go!
Image: Andrew Zuckerman