When I first saw green bean bundles, I was watching a southern cooking show where the chef made them wrapped in thick slices of bacon and smothered in a butter-brown sugar sauce. While it looked delicious, I couldn’t help but think that any nutritional value was lost once the fatty bacon and butter were added into the mix.
Green beans are a wonderful green vegetable. Green beans are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, iron and fat free. They’re naturally sweet, crispy, and can work in salads, as a side dish, or as a snack. As I was creating this recipe, I was thinking that the green bean bundle could be used on top of pasta, salad, rice, or rice noodles. Or, the bundle could be used as a crunchy snack in the afternoon or would be perfect as a side dish to lean grilled chicken, pork or lamb chops.
This recipe uses zucchini as the additional flavor to hold the bundle together. The secret to this recipe is to blanch the green beans first by immersing them in boiling water for a few minutes then quickly using an ice water bath to stop the cooking process, lock in the deep green color of the green beans and seal in the flavor. The zucchini works best when its also pre-cooked until its slightly browned, so it wraps easier around the bundle of green beans. The two combinations of flavors make this an incredible dish!
These bundles are also great for dipping in fresh marinara sauce, homemade barbeque sauce, salad dressing, or a yogurt dip. Feel free to use any kind of seasonings you like on your bundles—they can be bland, spicy or even have an ethnic twist- the possibilities are endless!
Green Bean Bundles
Makes 6 to 8 bundles
- 1 ½ pounds fresh green beans or haricot verts
- 1 green zucchini, sliced into thin strips lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Place zucchini slices on a baking sheet and brush lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Bake 6 to 8 minutes until the zucchini is soft, pliable and slightly browned.
- Trim the ends off the green beans. Bring a 5-quart pot of lightly salted water to a boil.
- Cook the green beans about 2 to 3 minutes until slightly tender. Drain the green beans and quickly submerge into a large bowl of ice and water.
- When the green beans are cool, drain and pat them dry. Sprinkle the garlic powder over the green beans and toss to combine.
- Wrap 6 to 8 green beans around the center with a cooled piece of zucchini. Secure with a toothpick. Place the wrapped bundles on the baking sheet and brush with the remaining extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 10-12 minutes until the zucchini is cooked and browned.
- Allow the bundles to cool slightly. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.
Featured photo by Sonja Langford