Lebanese-Style Green Beans in Olive Oil

flat beans in olive oil

Green beans are one of the most popular side dishes hands down. It's most definitely a mainstay ingredient in those famous casseroles around holiday time. But there's nothing that can beat the flavor of garden fresh beans when they are in season. From slender yellow wax beans to broad fava beans, there are all kinds to be found in farmers' markets during summer. Pick up some now and make a wide selection of recipes, including this one.

Some of the best and most flavorful recipes for beans are those made in the Mediterranean style. Garlic, olive, oil, and tomatoes are key ingredients in these types of dishes. And this one is no exception. Lebanese recipes for foul mudammas (fava beans) and lubya bi zayt (green beans)—which this recipe is a version of—all start with this same base and sometimes include spices like coriander and cumin as well as fresh cilantro.

flat beans

Any fresh beans will work in this recipe. Try fava beans, wax beans, string beans, lime beans or these Italian flat beans, which are one of my favorites. Blanch the beans beforehand to cut down on cook time and help preserve the green color. I've even made this recipe with tender whole fava beans, pods and all. But with more mature favas or limas, you'll definitely want to shell the beans. Serve this dish as a mezze with flatbreads or as a side to meats. Celebrate the season of beans with this fantastically flavorful recipe.

Lebanese-Style Green Beans in Olive Oil

1 pound flat green bean, cut into 1-inch strips
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped, juices reserved
1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoon lemon juice (about half lemon)

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Blanch beans until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Shock with cold water to preserve green color.

Warm oil in a saute pan set over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices and cook until soft and pulpy, about 5 minutes. Add coriander and cumin and toast for 1 minute. Add beans and cook until warmed through and flavors are married. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve hot or warm. Yield: 4 to 6 servings as an appetizer or side dish.