Green beans have always been one of my favorite vegetables.
I attribute my green bean love to my grandparents.
Every spring, my grandpa plants an incredible vegetable garden. He plants lettuce, sweet corn, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, peppers, even peanuts, garlic and strawberries.
Although he was always on a careful planting schedule when I was young, he’d save green bean planting to do with me.
Green beans were always our special crop.
Together, we’d prepare the soil, plant the seeds, give them their first drink of water and mark the rows. Every time my family and I would visit between spring and summer, my grandpa would take me out to the garden and proudly announce, “Look how much our beans have grown.”
In my mind, they were our beans, Grandpa’s and mine.
When the green beans were ready to harvest, Grandpa would call me up and exclaim that it was time to pick our beans.
He always waited and let me pick the first bean of the season.
Once we had a bucket full of freshly picked green beans, we’d bring them into the kitchen and my Grandma would take over.
She taught me how to snap off the ends and cook the beans to perfection with a butter and bacon.
Years later, when I announced my vegetarianism, my grandparents made the ultimate sacrifice- they stopped cooking bacon with the green beans.
My brothers will be the first to admit that Grandma and Grandpa’s green beans just aren’t the same without the bacon, but they all lovingly made that change for me.
Even now, when I travel back to the US, my grandparents cook up green beans from the garden; specially saved and frozen for my next return.
As I opened my CSA delivery this week and found a brown paper bag full of green beans, I was instantly taken back.
Taken back to my grandparents’ garden, full of love, learning, gentleness and guidance.
Although I wish I could have shared this green bean meal with my grandparents, I’m happy I can share it with you.
Israeli Couscous with Garlic, Green Beans, Zucchini and Pine Nuts
Makes 3 servings ~ Ready in 15 minutes
1/2 zucchini, chopped into bite sized pieces
3 large handfuls fresh green beans
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup Israeli couscous
1 3/4 cups boiling vegetable broth (or water with stock granules)
2 Heaping tablespoons pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parmesan cheese to garnish
- Clean the green beans, remove the ends and cut into 1 inch pieces. Steam until slightly tender. Remove from heat.
- Place 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a medium sized pan along with the couscous. Cook over medium-high heat until the couscous begins to turn golden brown. Slowly stir in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 12 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil and butter in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until melted. Add the garlic, shallots and zucchini. Sauté until the zucchini becomes slightly tender. Add the steamed green beans and continue to cook for a couple more minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the pine nuts to the vegetable mixture and cook until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, place the vegetables over the couscous and sprinkle with fresh parmesan cheese.
Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers and grandfathers out there… especially mine.
I love you all so much.