What to Know About Green Beans by Emily Weeks, RDN, LD

Green beans, also called string beans, are one of the most popular vegetables in the U.S. They’re a delicious side dish that appears at family get-togethers, holidays, and weeknight dinners. Whether they’re sautéed, steamed, blanched, canned, or frozen, green beans are a delicious and healthy choice.

What to Know About Green Beans

Nutritional Benefits of Green Beans

One cup of green beans packs a mighty nutritional punch. One cup of green beans has four grams of fiber, most of which is soluble fiber. This type of fiber can help to lower LDL cholesterol (“unhealthy” cholesterol) and blood pressure. Green beans are also a good source of vitamin A and C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the immune system function and protects skin. Vitamin A is important for skin health, vision, and our immune system.
Green beans are also a good source of manganese, which helps support our metabolism, bone health, and wound healing. Also low in carbohydrates, green beans are an excellent choice for those who are trying to lower their blood glucose (blood sugar).

Choosing Green Beans at the Grocery Store

Green beans can be found fresh, canned, or frozen. Fresh and frozen green beans are the slightly healthier choice, as these options usually don’t contain added sodium. Canned green beans are usually packed with salt, unless you purchase cans that are labeled “no salt added.” If you purchase beans canned with salt, rinse them under cool water to remove some of the salt. When shopping for fresh green beans, be sure they are bright green and without blemishes. They should be firm to the touch and not flimsy or slimy. Store fresh green beans in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to one week.
Frozen green beans are a convenient option for most, as they will last for a very long time in the freezer. They come in a variety of cuts—whole, French, sliced.

How to Prepare Green Beans

Some brands of frozen green beans can be steamed in the bag, or you can sauté them in oil and your favorite herbs and spices for an even more delicious side dish. Simply heat olive oil in a skillet along with garlic and onion or shallots, then add the frozen green beans. Stir frequently until green beans soften. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Raw green beans make a great snack, especially when dipped in hummus or dill yogurt dip.
Add green beans to your favorite salad by blanching them (putting them in boiling water and cooling in ice water) before tossing with the other vegetables and dressing. Roasted green beans are delicious covered in freshly grated parmesan cheese. A classic pairing of balsamic vinegar and tomatoes tastes great tossed with crisp-tender green beans.

Green Bean Recipes
Get inspired with these green bean recipes:
Green Beans with Cranberries and Hazelnuts
Red Onion Green Beans
Green Beans with Mushroom and Onions
Parmesan Lemon Crusted Flounder with Green Beans Amandine

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