“Wow! How do you make these vegetables taste so good?” This was the question my son, Nathan, posed to me during his Christmas vacation.

Of course since he had just come from a college cafeteria, maybe that question was to be expected. But I know a lot of families where the kids (and their parents!) don’t like veggies. Our kids are grown and gone now, but I don’t remember it ever being hard to get them to eat their veggies. Want to see some SIMPLE but TASTY ways we fix vegetables at our house? Today begins a mini-series on ways to fix veggies even your kids will love.

Oven-roasted vegetables have are easy to fix and have a wonderful flavor. And for these green beans, I even have a couple of variations at the end…so keep reading! I must admit that I often pass by fresh green beans in the produce section simply because of the time it takes to prepare them. But every time I cook fresh beans I realize that it’s worth the effort. (I still remember the ones we grew in our garden in Rhode Island: amazing is the only word to describe them.) If they’re young beans, not honkin’-big-end-of-the-summer beans, I just take a bunch of them, line up the stem ends, and cut off the ends, leaving the little curly “tip end” on. It’s very tender and leaving it on just makes one less step in the process.At this point I sometimes steam them for a few minutes in an inch of water…but when they’re fresh, spring green beans, I just roast them “as is”.

I drizzle olive oil over them…(notice those little curly ends sticking up…they’re edible!)

…toss them so they are well coated…

…and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Parchment paper is very inexpensive in Europe and makes clean-up so much easier. I hope you have some! Before going into the oven, I give them a good shake of salt…

Before Roasting

And then they go into a preheated 400° F/200° C oven for about 20 minutes. It’s hard to tell you exactly how long to roast them because everyone’s oven is a little different and the size and quantity of the beans will vary the oven time. Fortunately they don’t have to be served piping hot but are good even at room temperature. So I try to put them into the oven before I start the rest of the meal.

After Roasting

When they’re done, they’re not the most gorgeous vegetable in the world…but the flavors are just amazing! Something about roasting gives them much more depth and complexity of flavor. You can serve the roasted bean just like that…or consider one of these variations:

Beans with Roasted Asparagus

Spring is just around the corner here in Italy, and the markets have just started carrying fresh, tender asparagus. I decided to roast them and combine them with the green beans. They pair well because their shape and color are similar–slender and green.  I break off the woody part of the asparagus stem where it “wants to”…this assures that the fibrous part is removed–if I use a knife, I often leave some of the tougher part on without meaning to. As with the beans, I drizzle them with olive oil,

…toss them and lay them on a baking sheet. I chose to roast the asparagus separately because they are more tender and take less time to roast than the beans do.

Before Roasting

After Roasting

When they’re both done, I combine them in a bowl…you can drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over them if you’d like.

Here’s another option for oven-roasted green beans:

Beans with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

I also oven-roasted some cherry tomatoes–topped with a drizzle of olive oil and a shake of salt before roasting–and tossed them with some of the oven-roasted beans. So when the spring asparagus has gone by and summer cherry tomatoes are on sale, try this alternative.

Beans with Almonds–no photo here as I remembered this option after we finished. But I’ve often served green beans with toasted almonds. Just another way to serve them.

In summary: Per cup, cooked or raw green beans have only 40 calories! They are good sources of potassium and vitamin A. One pound of green beans is equal to about half a kilo, and is about 3 cups. I usually figure about four servings to a pound. So before the warm summer weather moves in, crank up that oven and roast some veggies while you fix dinner.

Ciao!

Debbie

Oven-Roasted Green Beans

Yield: Serves 3-4

Oven-Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb./500 g fresh green beans
  • 2-3 T. olive oil
  • Salt
  • Optional ingredients for variations:
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus/olive oil/salt
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes/olive oil/salt
  • Toasted slivered or sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Working with small bunches of beans, cut off the ends, leaving the little curly "tip end" on. If you prefer--or if your beans are a bit larger and older--steam them for a few minutes in an inch of water before roasting. Also, if you have small children, you may prefer to cut your beans into 2-inch/5 cm pieces.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over them, and toss them so they are well coated.
  3. Lay the beans out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Parchment paper makes clean-up easier but isn't necessary. Shake some salt over the beans and put them into a 400° F/200° C oven for about 20 minutes. The size and quantity of the beans will vary the oven time. They don't have to be served piping hot but are good even at room temperature. Stir them once or twice during the roasting time. Change from top to bottom shelf in the oven if necessary.
http://ciaofromdebbie.com/blog/step-by-step-cooking/oven-roasted-green-beans-step-by-step/

Variations

Beans with Roasted Asparagus: As with the beans, drizzle them with olive oil, toss them and lay them on a baking sheet. I recommend roasting the asparagus on a separate baking sheet because they are tenderer and take less time to roast than the beans do. Combine the roasted beans and asparagus in a bowl…you can drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over them if you’d like.

Beans with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes: Cut cherry tomatoes in half and lay cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt before roasting. Combine the beans and roasted tomatoes and serve.

Beans with Almonds: While your oven is on, toast some slivered or sliced almonds. Watch them carefully as they burn quickly! Toss them in with the roasted green beans.

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