Spicy Peanut Lemon Green Beans

Yesterday I promised you that I'd come up with some healthy but non-boring dishes to get us all back on track after a weekend of holiday overeating and today here is a knock-your-socks off side dish that will definitely not disappoint. It's full of flavor and crunch and I suspect, will quickly become one of your new favorite things! I know I'll be making it all season long!

Even for someone who genuinely likes to cook, coming up with interesting and healthy dinners on a regular basis can get extremely tedious. I mean, how many variations on chicken breasts can a person be expected to come up with?!! This is when it's time to invert the basic principle of making the main dish the star and instead focus on a WOW side. And that's what this is--crunchy slightly seared green beans coated with a lemony, spicy, chopped peanut mixture. I guarantee--one bite of this unusual, but fairly easy side and no one will be complaining about the "boring chicken"! Try it tonight and let me know what you think!


Spicy Peanut Lemon Green Beans

Makes 4-5 servings
Prep Time:  25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

The Recipe

1.  Place the peanuts in a food processor or blender and grind till they are broken up but not mushy--you want some chunks left. Heat a large heavyweight skillet over medium heat and when hot add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the peanuts, lemon zest and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the peanuts are golden brown and toasted. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, stir in 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and set aside.

2.  Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and place it back over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Turn the heat up and add the green beans. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring often, then add the pepper flakes and remaining salt and continue to stir-fry for another 5 minutes or so, allowing the beans to get a bit seared and crisp-tender.

3.  Add in the peanut mixture and lemon juice and mix it all together. Add more salt if necessary and let the mixture cook for another minute or so to allow the peanut mixture to coat the beans and become hot. Serve immediately. 

4.  These are great cold too. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for several days in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

Note:  Recipe adapted from The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without by Mollie Katzen. I left out out the 2 tablespoons of minced fresh ginger which you can saute first for a few minutes before you cook the peanuts in Step 1. I also leave the beans whole.

 
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