Whether making a holiday meal or just a quick weeknight supper, finding a veggie side dish that packs a flavorful punch without a lot of fat or calories (and little effort or clean-up) is sometimes a mystery….so here’s one of my favorites: Oven Roasted Haricot Vert with Pistachio and Parmesan Gremolata.
Always skinny when naked–about 40 fat free calories per cup–Haricot Vert are simply very slender green beans that are loaded with nutrition.
But even in California, truly fresh haricots vert aren’t always easy to find….so, more often than not, I use the frozen ones that are available year ’round and don’t require blanching before roasting. (By the way, if you keep the frozen ones on hand, you’re likely to make them more often!)
And by sprinkling your beans with a rich but healthy Gremolata–a minced seasoning of parsley, garlic, lemon zest and a pinch of Parmesan and nuts–this quick and easy veg will have much more texture and flavor than any simple green bean dish…but with little extra work.
Voila! Side Dish Solved!
OVEN ROASTED GREEN BEANS WITH PISTACHIO AND PARMESAN GREMOLATA
True gremolata is simply lemon zest, minced garlic and parsley that was traditionally served with rich meat dishes. But many chefs now use gremolata enriched with oil and pignolias (pine nuts) to accompany veggie dishes. I like to skip the oil (120 calories a tablespoon) and use pistachios, which have the lowest calorie count of all tree nuts (at about 40 a tablespoon) and are also a great source of potassium. And I sometimes add walnuts, a great source of omega 3 fatty acids. Use any nuts you like, just remember to use only 2 tablespoons to keep the calorie count in check.
1 T minced garlic
2 T lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
2 T grated Parmesan
1 lb frozen Haricot Vert (French Green Beans), rinsed and patted dry
1 t olive oil
Preheat oven to 425.
Rinse frozen haricot vert in a colander, shake well and put on paper towels to remove most of the moisture.
Immediately mix warm chopped nuts with minced garlic, lemon zest, Parmesan and parsley. Set aside.
As soon as beans are done, squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them, top with the gremolata and serve.
PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD
RE-USE, RE-PURPOSE, RE-CYCLE
This is a great dish to eat cold a day or two after you make it…the seasonings really penetrate the beans and make a great snack. Or, if you have leftover beans and/or gremolata, add them to any skinny grain dish you have… like Quinoa Tabouli, Greek Quinoa Salad or Cauliflower Quinoa.
And, of course, to add veggies to your breakfast–which is key to staying full through the morning–you can always throw the beans into any veggie egg white omelet and top with leftover gremolata.