Jhis quick one-pot dinner is inspired by the dry-fried green beans with pork that are my favorite every time I order at my local Chinese restaurant. The vegetable tastes so good cooked this way – blistered and slightly charred but still tender – I can’t resist it.
Turns out the technique is also so simple that since I tried it myself while testing this recipe, it has officially become my new favorite way to cook green beans. Just put a little oil in a skillet, heat it well, then sear the green beans, stirring occasionally, until they take on that enticing texture and color.
Besides the searing technique, what also intrigues me about this particular Chinese dish is how it uses a small amount of meat as a flavoring agent rather than the main feature. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s a healthy way to include animal protein in your life, while tipping the overall balance towards more plant-based foods.
For this recipe, I used these dry stir-fry and meat techniques as an accent for a savory, savory dish with flavors that lean towards North Africa and the Middle East. Once the green beans are cooked, remove them from the pan and add ground lamb meat to brown it with the shallot (or onion) and garlic. Then a can of tomatoes comes in, followed by a sprinkle of earthy cumin and cilantro and a warming splash of cinnamon. Once this cooks a bit, the blistered green beans are added back to the pan and coated in a flavorful meat sauce.
Served on a bed of hazelnut bulgur or brown rice, with a sprinkling of fresh mint leaves, it’s a quick and tasty weeknight meal that’s globally influenced and healthy balanced.
Green beans puffed with lamb and aromatic spices
Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days.
Total time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
450g green beans, trimmed
¼ plus ⅛ tsp. fine salt, divided
225g minced lamb
40g finely chopped shallots or onions
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
1 can (400 g) no salt added chopped tomatoes, with juice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
900g cooked bulgur or brown rice, for serving
2 tablespoons small or large torn mint leaves
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat oil until simmering. Add green beans, season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and charred and blistered in spots, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the green beans to a bowl.
Add the lamb and shallot or onion to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until aromatic, an additional 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, cumin, red pepper flakes, cilantro, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, black pepper and cinnamon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced and ingredients are combined, about 3 minutes.
Return the green beans to the pan and toss to combine, then remove from the heat. To serve, divide bulgur or rice among four plates, top with lamb and green bean mixture and garnish with mint leaves.
Nutritional information per serving | Calories: 337; total fat: 17g; saturated fat: 6g; cholesterol: 41mg; sodium: 287mg; carbohydrates: 33g; dietary fiber: 9g; sugar: 8g; protein: 16g.
This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.
© The Washington Post