Meatout Mondays: Arkansas green beans veganized

Green bean goodness. Photo by BETHANY FEHLINGER

I love fresh green beans. Working on a CSA, I got a chance to know first hand how hard it is to harvest green beans, but it didn’t make them less sweeter when I ate them. I had never eaten these beans raw, but when offered a bunch on the farm as we harvested during the summer, I took my first bite and was in heaven. There is something amazing about locally grown, organic green beans that you can munch on while harvesting.

These little green beans inspired me to go back to my 50 States, 50 Vegan Dishes list that I started on my personal blog. I quickly found an easy dish to make, to be used as a side or even as a main entree for dinner.

Traditional Arkansas green beans call for sugar and bacon. Bacon isn’t very vegan-friendly, but there are great alternatives now.

Since this is a Southern dish, it doesn’t scream healthy. There are many alternatives to sugar, if you forgo the staple. While I used regular sugar for my recipe, you can add a sugar alternative such as Splenda, or a little maple sugar or agave nectar. This dish gets sweet quickly, as the beans are sweet, too, so not much is needed.

My original recipe is high in calories, but I did a quick modification — subtracting some sugar, fake bacon and soy sauce — and it is now much better for your diet. Consider adding this dish for your family’s Meatout Monday dinner.

Ingredients:

  • A bag full of fresh green beans, probably about three cups if cut in half
  • 4 slices of LightLife Smart bacon, ripped into pieces
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 2 tbsps of Earth Balance or other vegan spread
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Pluck the ends off the green beans, and cut in half if you want an easier way to eat them. (I kept them long.)
  2. Boil the green beans in a little bit of water for about 7 to 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt a tablespoon of Earth Balance in a skillet, and add the crumbled Smart bacon to the pan. Saute for about 5 minutes.
  4. Drain the green beans and add to the skillet with the Smart bacon. Add the garlic powder, sugar or sugar alternative, tamari and the other tablespoon of Earth Balance. Stire and saute for a few minutes to let flavors meld.
  5. Serve!

Have any recipes to share? Email bfehlinger@ydr.com. 

About Bethany Fehlinger

Bethany Fehlinger is a journalist in the Design Center at the York Daily Record. She is a graduate of Penn State University, is a York City dweller and has been vegetarian and geek for more than five years. Twitter: @Wonder_veggie
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