Realization of the season: there are actually a TON of very normal holiday dishes that can easily be made healthfully. Oh sure there's holiday sweet breads, desserts galore, and premade appetizers at the front of every grocery store. But there are a lot of options for making a dish that is "commonly accepted" as a holiday food that is also nutrient dense and delicious. I think that matters - I don't like being the one person in a big group asking extra questions of the waiter, bringing my own food to a family dinner, or otherwise being "difficult". And the unfortunate reality is that nutrient dense choices are often counter-cultural enough that they require me to occasionally be the "difficult" one... but I am always on the lookout for opportunities to bring healthful food to a holiday gathering that causes the least amount of waves in a group of folks with different dietary preferences.
Savory green beans are a fabulous choice that falls squarely in this category! Cooked with butter, garlic, and shallots they carry rich flavor that will keep dinner guests coming back for seconds, and they can replace the cream of mushroom soup (full of hydrogenated oils) and canned green beans that have no crunch, no flavor, and no nutrients.
I made these savory green beans for Thanksgiving dinner, which this year had 30 of my family members! This is why I made so much of it, but feel free to reduce the recipe size... or invite more friends over for dinner that night ;) This recipe instructs you on how to make a recipe well in advance of the meal and keep it warm in a crockpot, freeing your oven for the entree or another side.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Serves: 30 (as one of many sides... probably closer to 10 if it's the only side)
3 lbs fresh green beans
6 cloves garlic
6 T butter, melted
2 c slivered almonds (can sub any other nut you prefer)
1 t salt
1 t pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Chop the ends off of the green beans and put them (whole) into a large mixing bowl.
- Finely chop the shallots, and mince the garlic. Add both to the bowl.
- Add the butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the bowl and fully incorporate. I found it easiest to just use my hands since the green beans are so long.
- Line as many cookie sheets as you can fit in your oven with parchment paper. Spread the green beans onto the parchment paper. They can touch but you want them to be spread out enough to cook thoroughly (see picture).
- Cook for 25 minutes (turn once in the middle) or until the green beans are golden brown and easily speared with a fork. If you are going to be making these ahead of a later meal, keep an eye on them after 20 minutes and err on the side of undercooking.
- Put green beans into crock pot and keep on warm until the meal.
- Spread the slivered almonds on a cookie sheet and toast until golden brown. Mix into the green beans just before serving to keep them nice and crunchy.