I think most of us who try to eat healthily have had this experience: You are 100 percent convinced you hate a vegetable. You've tried it, it's icky, no thank you.
And then that magical day comes when you try it in a way you never have before...when suddenly that icky veg becomes something you can't stop eating. You want more...you start looking for other ways to try it...and before too long, you find yourself loading up at the grocery store or farmer's market when you see a deal, thrilled with all the delicious things you can make.
As a recovering picky eater, I have had this experience with lots of things, but none so surprising as green beans. Like most of us, I first had them as a kid, plopped from the can to the saucepan and then onto my plate. They are, quite frankly, horrifyingly gross from a can. I can still remember the drab green spears, which managed to somehow be both mushy and fibrous.
Interestingly, I discovered I liked them raw, picked fresh from my grandmother's garden, and would eat them like that, sometimes right off the plant. But even after trying, and not minding, them lightly steamed and still tender-crisp, I still didn't love them and they never made an appearance at my table unless someone else brought them.
Then, one day well into adult life, my mom made me green beans steamed and then tossed with some kind of garlicky vinaigrette. They were amazing and I ate more than my share. I didn't know green beans could be this good. The vinaigrette also softened the sometimes woody texture and rendered them delicious. Since then, I have messed around with green beans trying to recreate that, and while I haven't quite managed it I have discovered they are great tossed with dark sesame oil and some fresh ginger, or olive oil and garlic, or just a squeeze of fresh lemon. Try them tossed with whatever sauces or condiments you have on hand and see what you think.
Next, I tried green beans roasted. Some people say these taste like french fries. I disagree, but they are delicious....they get this dark caramelized flavor that makes them phenomenal with little more than a sprinkling of salt.
And finally, my favorite way ever, ever, ever to eat them: Quick-pickled diilly beans. (Okay, my favorite way is deep-fried from the bar near my brother-in-law's house, but this is about healthy food and that's not it!). Oddly enough, I never liked pickles much, but these quick pickled beans are snappy, spicy, fresh, and addictive. It's not uncommon for me to snarf down most of a batch while "testing" them to make sure they're pickled enough. They don't keep long, but it doesn't matter since they won't last two whole days, and at six calories a serving you can afford to go nuts.
What are your favorite ways to eat green beans?