Feisty Green Beans Recipe

A riff on a recipe from Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic - green beans, creme fraiche, garlic, golden raisins, almonds, a range of spices. They caught my attention when Anna said...the ingredient list is long, but these are the best green beans you'll ever make.

Feisty Green Beans

I came across a recipe that caught my attention in Anna Getty's soon-to-be-released Easy Green Organic. It was a recipe from a family friend, which in my mind is always a good sign, and the last sentence in her headnote stated, "the ingredient list is long, but these are the best green beans you'll ever make." Green beans, crème fraîche, garlic, golden raisins, almonds, a ranges of spices...in all, seventeen ingredients, of which I had sixteen.

Feisty Green Bean Recipe

So I wanted to give this general idea a go, and it's not exactly green bean season, but I made them anyway. And they were so insanely good, even though, admittedly, the green beans I used were sad, sad, sad. My advice? Make this recipe, like this, the next time you see good green beans in your market. In the meantime, make the exact same recipe substituting something that is in season in your corner of the world. I'm going to make it with cauliflower. Like tomorrow. Or the brussels sprouts I bought the other day? Those would be good too. And asparagus season isn't far off. I'm confident there are any number of substitutions you could make here that wouldn't disappoint.

Feisty Green Bean Recipe

I made a few tweaks to the recipe in Anna's book, reflected below. I like slicing green beans into little o-shapes, so I did that here. I also wanted to make this more of a one-pan meal, so I cut back significantly on the raisins and introduced tiny tofu cubes. I suspect little pan-fried paneer cubes or tempeh would also work. The version in her book is named John Pepper's exotic green beans, I renamed them here in case someone is looking for the original version - so there wouldn't be any confusion. Thanks for the inspiration Anna, your book turned out beautifully, I've enjoyed spending time with it.

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Feisty Green Beans

Use a white wine that you'd want to drink after opening. And for those of you looking to speed things up, you don't need to slice the green beans, but it was a good call, the sauce gets into all the nooks and crevices.

1 pound green beans, thinly sliced (see photo)
1/2 cup / 2.5 oz / 70g golden raisins
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup / 80 ml white wine
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup / 120 ml crème fraîche or sour cream
1/4 cup / 3/4 oz / 20g sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup / one handful of finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the green beans in a pot of well-salted boiling water for about a minute, just long enough that they lose their raw edge. Drain and dunk in ice-cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again and set aside.

In a small bowl cover the raisins with scalding hot water for five minutes, drain and set aside.

Heat your largest skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions and garlic start to brown just a bit. Add the wine and cook until it has mostly evaporated. Carefully remove the bay leaves. Stir in the paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, crushed red pepper flakes. Stir in the tofu and raisins and cook until heated through, a minute or so. Add the butter and green beans and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the crème fraiche, then most of the almonds and most of the cilantro. Taste and add more salt and some pepper if you like. Serve topped with any remaining almonds and cilantro.

Serves 4 to 6.

Inspired by a recipe in Anna Getty's Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic, to be published by Chronicle Books, 2010.

Prep time: 30 minutes - Cook time: 15 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Very interesting recipe.... I normally keep the green beans very simple, but I'm tempted to give this a try, since you loved it I just wonder if skipping the blanching would affect it too much - when I cut the green beans very thinly in the food processor, they cook so fast, it might work well adding straight to the saute pan


YUM! I have everything on except the beans! Off to the grocery store. I'll bet this would be awesome with cauliflower too. I'll add some leftover roast chicken instead of tofu, but I bet it would be terrific with salmon as well.


Long list of ingredients didn't use to scare me, but I've been in Italy for a while now, were everything is so deliciously simple, that I was shocked when I read the recipe.


Other than the white wine and the creme fraiche this sounds very much like a traditional south Indian way of preparing green beans. My mom would add a bit of shredded fresh coconut to the mix.


This is great. I usually just cook green beans in oil and garlic!


I have some lovely little lambchops that will be so good when they're pepper pan seared and lying in a nest of these beans! Thank you !

Susan @ The Spice Garden

Oh this sounds amazing with all those seasonings!

Simply Life

This looks like the kind of recipe that might cleverly disguise the green beans...that my husband hates. It's not easy being a vegan who hates green beans. I'm trying to help him out!


I'm always on the look-out for new veggie side dishes, and this one looks fantastic. I love your idea of making the dish with cauliflower, as it goes deliciously well with golden raisins. I look forward to trying out your version!


Wow, that is a long ingredient list for green beans but they sound and look delicious!

christie @ honoring health

Yum, lovely beans! I can't wait for them to come into season here.


Oh how I am dreaming of summer and sweet green beans from the garden. Mmmm. Sadly the poles are knee-deep in snow. All I have now are frozen beans and packets of seed! But this book looks like it belongs in the cart - without a doubt...

Michaela @ The Gardener's Eden

Good thing I have some leftover to eat after reading this recipe! Will need to try definitely as I LOVE green beans. :) I might try with broccoli as I'm addicted to it. Wonder if I could sub the sour cream with smth else? Like coconut milk maybe. (Haven't been able to find a place from where I can source organic dairy stuffs produced from an ethical dairy farm around here in Melbourne)


Wow! This sounds amazing. I love the combination of spices and the creamy additions. And who says that vegetable dishes can't be tasty and interesting?

Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Me too! I have everything on the ingredient list except green beans and crème fraîche. I always get excited when I get to use my spices. Thanks for the advice. :)

Kitchen M

That is one mighty long ingredient list...but I totally trust you on this one. I love that you recommend making this with whatever vegetables are in season. ps: I'm especially fond of the crème fraîche and toasted almonds in the ingredient list. yum :)

Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home

I have a recipe that is very similar for fiddlehead ferns but I have used it(with variation) for everything from asparagus to okra. Greek yogurt works for the sour cream or creme fraiche and as long as the cumin, curry, garlic and paprika are there you are good. The contrasting sweet of raisins, dates, or apricots is key. I don't even bother to blanch the vegetables as I think they get enough heat in the rest of the recipe. This is a fine way to add some variety to veges.


I was just wondering what I should do with the cauliflower in my fridge...I love all the flavors going on here so I'm going to try this!


This recipe sounds quite intriguing. There are quite a few ingredients in this recipe, but most of them are items I typically have in the refrigerator, so it's strikes me as an easy dish for any night. I love all of the spices in this recipe!

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

The thought that asparagus season is not too far off really makes my heart sing! I actually think this would work beautifully with cauliflower in lieu of beans; red grapes instead of raisins and parsley in place of cilantro--sort of an Italian take.


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