Happy Spring! I was expecting to arrive home from vacation to warmer weather, abundant sunshine, and buds growing on the trees outside my windows. Instead, I was greeted by wintry weather and a down-pouring of snow! Mother Nature appears to be confused right now.
Prior to this week's snow storm, I was enjoying a wonderful vacation in Portugal with my family. We visited Porto and Lisbon, both cities are spectacular! We also took a few day-trips to nearby smaller towns, to see more of the country and its historic sites. I was struck by the beauty and breadth of the culinary diversity in Portugal; we ate the spectrum, from peasant-like soups to fancy Michelin-star cuisine, and everywhere in-between! I'm planning to write more about Portugal and create some recipes inspired by our travels in the very near future, but in the meantime, these green beans...
As you know, I always bring food along on the airplane, including the addictively-delicious Sesame-Rosemary Roasted Almonds that I shared before my vacation. I'm also prepared, meal-wise, when I return from travel. Usually, that means having some cans of good-quality soup in my pantry for a quick dinner when we get home from a long day of flying. But when we got home late on Monday, the last thing that I wanted to eat was soup. (note - my family wanted to eat soup!) I ate so much soup in Portugal - amazing delicious soups everyday - so eating a can of soup was the last thing that I wanted to eat. Without any fresh produce in the refrigerator, and a freezer full of meals that would take too long to defrost, I needed to make myself a quick dinner and get to bed. Thankfully, I had a bag of frozen Haricot Vert (French green beans) in my kitchen, so I knew that an easy recipe was just moments away!
Frozen veggies (and fruits) are a lifesaver and a great source of nutrition. Why? Because they are flash frozen right when they're picked, so they retain their nutrients better than fresh fruits and vegetables. Consider this - unless you're able to eat fresh produce within a day or two of picking, you're missing the full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that a plant has to offer. The longer the produce is away from its source of growing (i.e. the plant or tree), the less nutrition it will contain. I rely on frozen vegetables and fruits, especially in the wintertime, to provide high levels of nutrition and flavor to my recipes. One of my favorite frozen vegetables to have on-hand are Haricot Vert - the skinny French green beans. I buy a few bags at a time, my favorite ones are the Organic Haricot Vert sold at Whole Foods. (note - make sure to buy frozen fruits and vegetables with no additional ingredients - there should be nothing added).
This recipe is hardly needs a written recipe, but it's just too good not to share! I quickly sauté the Haricot Vert in some hot oil until they get golden on the edges, then I drizzle them with my favorite tahini, and scatter some sesame seeds and a pinch of sea salt on top. Putting this together doesn't take much longer than heating up a can of soup, so we all ate our quick dinner together before falling asleep in our jet-lag bliss.
What's the first thing that you cook when you get home from a long day of travel? Do you have certain foods that you enjoy eating when you get home from vacation? Tell me, I'm curious!
Wishing you a relaxing weekend, full of delicious food, health & wellness.
Magical Tahini Green Beans
Ingredients: (note - use organic whenever possible)
1 T sunflower seed oil
1 pound frozen Haricot Vert (French green beans)
3 T tahini
1 T sesame seeds (white or black, or a mixture)
pinch of sea salt
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sunflower seed oil and heat until shimmering.
Carefully add the Haricot Vert to the pan. Scatter the beans to cover in the hot oil and stir occasionally. Cook until the beans are beginning to brown on the edges - approximately 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pan to a shallow serving bowl.
Just prior to serving, drizzle the tahini over the Haricot Vert. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top, along with a pinch of sea salt.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
recipe yields 3-4 servings
double the recipe to yield more servings
add thinly sliced red onions and sauté along with the Haricot Vert for and added flavor, color and texture to the dish