You’ve probably had your own fair share of grotesque vegetables — vegetables steamed, blanched or boiled to flavorless oblivion, sometimes sauteed in grease and some bits of animal protein, often discolored from overcooking.
The humble string bean (also known as the green bean and locally, baguio bean) is almost always the sad victim of under- or overcooking. I quite frankly detest steamed or blanched string beans because they’re just so boring. Eating blanched string beans feels like a chore. This is why people generally and Filipinos specifically do not eat enough vegetables.
String beans are one of my favorite vegetables. They’re dirt cheap and easy to cook to coax out their inner awesomeness. If you’ve got a party and want to serve your guests a non-salad vegetable, string beans are the way to go.
According to The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, string beans tone the spleen-pancreas and keys. They have diuretic properties and help treat diabetes. High in carotenoids (a form of vitamin A that acts as antioxidants) and vitamin B-complex, they are also a good source of calcium and potassium. Vitamin A, in conjunction with vitamin C, help support the immune system and prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. String beans are cancer-fighters!
How to grow a loving relationship with string beans
- Roast them: lay them on a baking sheet, brush with olive oil, sprinkle on a good dose of sea salt and black pepper. No need for a fancy spice blend — leave that for carrots and potatoes. Absolutely divine.
- Cook for 20 minutes in a 400 F preheated oven. I like my beans quite toasty so I leave them in for an extra 10 minutes. Roasting vegetables is not rocket science – just eyeball it. What you don’t want is yellow-green beans, though.
- Definitely do make them garlicky by topping the beans with a mashed garlic / olive oil / salt / pepper mixture before roasting. Make sure to thoroughly mash the garlic to release its potency. It should be well lubricated in oil too, so it doesn’t burn. Adding garlic earns you bonus brownie points: it stimulates the metabolism and is anti-bacterial, anticarcinogenic, antiparasitical, and antifungal (cool garlic trivia: it increases body heat and therefore can act as an aphrodisiac).
- To make these even more amazing: right before service, top them with lemon zest and drizzle on some lemon juice.