Green Beans & Summer Squash with Pine Nuts

This is an easy and quick side dish that takes advantage of the bounty from your summer garden. Pine nuts are a little expensive, but you only need a handful to make this dish outstanding. Plus, in many parts of the country, you can harvest your own pine nuts. Here is an entertaining but useful guide I found on harvesting pine nuts: http://www.pennilessparenting.com/2011/02/harvesting-pine-nuts-foraged-food.html

Recipe for 8 Servings:

  • 1 lb fresh green beans- small French style are best but others will do
  • 2 medium summer squash fresh picked with soft skins
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: Fresh chopped garlic and/or fresh thyme, savory, or sage from your garden

How to cook it: Clean and trim the green beans. Cut squash in half lengthwise and then slice into half moon shapes. Slice the red onion in half and then slice into half rounds and pull apart the sections.

Heat a small pan- cast iron is best if you have it. Roast the pine nuts with a dash of salt, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Once they are lightly browned and have started to give up a nice toasted nut aroma, remove from heat and crush gently with the back of a spoon. The idea is to have some of the nuts stay whole and others crumbled so the flavor can infuse the dish.

Saute the onions in a medium-hot saute pan until they start to become translucent. Add the beans and squash and saute until the veggies start to soften and give up their juices- 5 minutes usually does the trick. If using fresh herbs add at the same time as the vegetables. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the pine nuts just before serving so they remain crunchy. You can prepare this dish in advance and reheat and toss in the nuts just before serving.

Variations: You can use zucchini, red pepper, eggplant, or other veggies that are in season. For another great color contrast try yellow wax beans with sliced red bell pepper, or purple beans with Zucchini

What makes this dish so healthy: The green beans are easier to digest than dried beans, and are high in calcium, potassium, and B-complex vitamins. By using fresh veggies and cooking lightly the vitamin content will be at its peak. The pine nuts are rich in Oleic acid which helps reduce bad cholesterol, and are very high in vitamin E, manganese, and B-complex.

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