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Recipe: Green Beans with Sage & Almond Butter
This is a dish I cooked a couple of times for my friends in Tuscany last week. They are all fans of paleo eating and absolutely loved this creation. We had fresh sage and almonds growing at the back of our villa, which paired beautifully with organic grass-fed burnt butter and a little sea salt. I can tell you right now that there won’t be any left overs!
Now, before you start kicking and screaming that beans are not paleo, please remember that we’re talking about green string beans – quite different to the dried beans which I know and agree contain lots of anti-nutrients like lectins and phytates, and require careful and lengthy preparation and cooking to be consumed safely. Green string or French beans are more pods than beans in which the seed (aka bean) is not actually developed properly and thus contain a lot less antinutrients, I would say almost on par with other paleo approved vegetables.
Cooking green beans, including more bean-like broad green beans and even green peas, reduces the amount of phytates dramatically (make sure to discard the cooking water as that’s where they go). Plus, green string beans and green broad beans are low in carbohydrates, high in protein, vitamins and minerals and as far as I know don’t pose any gut problems for most people. By all means, replace the beans with other vegetables if you do in fact suffer from any sensitivities but I personally include fresh green beans and occasional fresh peas in my diet as do Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf and other prominent paleo and primal diet champions.
Cooking notes: you can use ghee instead of butter but ‘burning the butter’ will kind of turn it into ghee so…you see what I mean, right? You can use other nuts like macadamia, cashews or walnuts and the green beans can be replaced with carrots, cauliflower or roasted pumpkin. This makes an excellent side dish.
- 600-700gm green beans, tails chopped off (I used a mix of green string beans and green broad beans as these are both in season in Italy)
- 2/3 cup raw almonds
- About 12 fresh sage leaves
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee
- A pinch or two of Celtic or natural sea salt
- A pinch of pepper
- Bring a saucepan of water to boil. Add beans and cook for 2 minutes, discard the water and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Place whole almonds in a plastic bag or inside a kitchen towel. Smack a few times with a hammer, wooden rolling pin or with a side of a chopping board. We’re after large-ish crumbs kind of texture.
- Heat a frying pan to medium-high and melt the butter. Add whole sage leaves, crushed almonds and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until the butter starts to froth, the almonds start to brown and the sage crisps up. This should take about a minute or so. KEEP AN EYE on this the whole time as it’s very easy to burn the almonds. Turn the heat off and add seasoning.
- Add the beans to the frying pan and mix through with the butter sauce. Transfer to a serving dish making sure to scoop every little bit of sauce out.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Number of servings: 4