I love lemon and garlic, so when I needed to flavor a quick weeknight vegetable side a few weeks ago, I reached for them first. I used fresh green beans because they cook quickly, stay firm and have a great crunch, which makes this side feel fresh and light. By steeping the garlic in lemon juice for several minutes prior to cooking, allicin, which is responsible for garlic's sometimes harsh flavor, is converted to the milder forms it takes when the garlic is heated or cooked. The result is a fresh and satisfying vegetable dish that boasts clean, bright lemon flavors, tempered by slightly sweet tomatoes and mellow garlic. This one has been on repeat in my kitchen for several weeks, and I know you'll love it!
This dish comes together very quickly, so make sure you prep all of your ingredients before starting. Wash and clean your green beans, but make sure to dry them well. You'll be adding them to a pan with hot oil, and you don't want it to splatter. If the beans are very fresh, you shouldn't need to do much to them other than snap off the ends. If you like them shorter, you can cut them in half, but I usually leave them long.
For the tomatoes, I like to slice them. It makes them more bite-sized and the flavor coats the beans a little better. If you're short on time, or you just prefer bigger tomatoes, you can cut them in half or quarter them. It's up to you, but I would highly suggest cutting them in one way or another to help them cook more quickly.
Next mince your garlic and add it to a small bowl with the juice of one lemon. You want to do this before you start cooking anything else to give it enough time to mellow.
Preheat a pan with high sides on medium and add the oil. I use a large non-stick to make things easier. Once the oils is shiny and moves around easily in the pan, it's ready. Add your beans and toss them in the oil. I find the best tool for this is a pair of tongs; just take care not to scratch your pan if you are using non-stick.
Let the beans cook on medium heat for about 5 to 8 minutes tossing them lightly every once in a while. You may even see some of the beans start to blister, which is fine. If you see them cooking too quickly, lower the heat a little. Once they are bright green and tender, add your tomatoes. The tomatoes will cook very quickly, especially if you've sliced them. It will only take about a minute or less to heat them through and get soft. Don't cook them much longer than that or they will release a lot of juice.
Finally, add your garlic and lemon juice mixture. Toss it a few times and let it cook for an additional 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes fragrant and add salt and pepper to taste. That's it! Once it's ready, you'll want to remove it from the heat to prevent the green beans from getting too soft. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Lemon Garlic String Beans with Grape Tomatoes
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Pound fresh green beans, washed and dried well
3/4 Cup sliced grape tomatoes (12-15 tomatoes)
2 Cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl combine garlic and lemon juice. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.
While the garlic mellows, add oil to a large pan with high sides, and heat on medium heat until oil is shiny and moves around the pan easily.
Add green beans to pan and toss to coat with oil.
Cook for 5-8 minutes or until bright green and tender.
Add tomatoes and toss. Cook until warmed through- about 1 minute.
Pour lemon and garlic mixture into the pan and toss once again until garlic is fragrant- about 30 seconds.
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.