I wasn’t planning on bringing home a giant bag of freshly-picked-in-peak-season green beans from the farmer’s market. But after being offered a sample (raw no less), I just had to get a bag. I had no choice really, if they’re this good raw, they must be extra good cooked.
Whenever I buy green beans, I take the time to pick out the most tender, bright green and skinniest ones. Occasionally, I get the odd look for being so picky, usually from other customers who just shove handfuls into a bag without any regard to what they’re grabbing.
Having been taught by my mom at a young age how to pick out produce, I wouldn’t dare bring home and serve any old, tough, or blemished green beans. Even today, if I grocery shop for my parents, I would not hear the end of it if I brought over subpar produce. Fortunately, at this particular vendor, every bean was a near perfect specimen (you could just tell they were proud of them, it’s probably why they were offering green bean samples).
So what should I make with my bountiful loot? With super fresh ingredients, I like to go with something simple so the taste shines through. But not so simple that it’s boring. Having finally procured Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan the other day, I was itching to try it out in a dish. Hence, vegan green beans with bacon.
Upton’s is definitely the best veggie bacon available today. Its ingredients list simple and non-scary: vital wheat gluten, soy sauce, whole wheat flour, natural hickory smoke concentrate, paprika, sea salt and onion. Of course it doesn’t really taste like bacon nor is it crispy like bacon. But it added a wonderful smokiness and saltiness to the subtlety sweet, crisp green beans. If you’re not into bacon seitan, you can always use sun-dried tomatoes instead.
Vegan Green Beans and Bacon
Serves 2 as a side dish
1/2 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
2-3 strips of vegan bacon (such as Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan)
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for cooking
Bring a pot of water to boil and add the green beans. Cook until just crisp-tender about 1 to 2 minutes or so depending on the size of the beans. If they’re slender like French green beans, they’ll take less time than thicker beans. Drain and set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat, add a little oil and pan-fry the vegan bacon to crispy. Transfer the bacon slices to a paper towel to soak up any excess oil. If necessary, add a little more oil to the skillet to cook the shallots until golden.
Toss in the green beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until the beans are hot. Transfer to a serving dish. Cut the bacon strips into small pieces and sprinkle on top of the green beans. Serve immediately.