Green beans are one of the more popular vegetables in the US. They are easy to find and are attractive on the plate; however, they are not exactly the most flavorful form of produce. The fact that their flavor is relatively subtle means that they are perfect for people who do not like strong flavors, but they can also serve as an excellent blank canvas for certain spices. While which spices you use is mostly a matter of taste, some are generally regarded as a better fit than others. Here is a look at some of the best seasonings for green beans.
Green beans are the perfect background for the pungent savory notes of garlic. As a member of the onion family, garlic has a slight onion quality to its flavor in addition to its distinctive sulfurous properties. These flavors pair well with green beans. You can add garlic to green beans in powdered form, minced, or as crushed whole cloves. Each form works well, though some may work better with certain cooking methods. For the most part, which you choose is simply a matter of preference.
Like garlic, onion provides green beans with a savory umami note. Onion complements both the green beans and most of the other seasonings traditionally used on them. Similar to garlic, you can use onion powder or fresh onion as a green bean seasoning.
Chili powder is arguably America’s favorite spice blend. Originating in Texas, its original purpose was to make seasoning chili easier for home cooks. It consists of powdered chili peppers, cumin, oregano, and a variable list of other herbs and spices. It turns out that those spices are great on a wide range of foods. The complex, savory notes brought by chili powder can give green beans a little heat while also making them more savory.
Basil is a member of the mint family and offers a bright, herbaceous touch to green beans. It is quite different from the more umami-focused spices above. It is best to use the fresh form of basil for your green beans; it is also a good idea to add it in the last few seconds of cooking. Basil does not stand up well to long cooking.
Pesto is a blend of basil, olive oil along with pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. You can buy it pre-made, but it is relatively easy to make yourself. Pesto serves as a complete seasoning, simply add to steamed or roasted green beans and toss. There will be no need to add anything more. With this blend, you get basil’s flavor along with the flavors of the other ingredients that all work well against the subtle flavors of green beans.
Both lemon juice and lemon zest are great additions to green beans. Simply squeeze a lemon over your green beans right before you serve them, or sprinkle on some zest. Use lemon juice alone or as a part of a mix of spices. The tart fruitiness of lemon juice gives green beans a clean, tangy flavor while also helping to pull any other seasonings you use together. The citrus aroma of the zest can work similarly.
One of the benefits of sesame seeds is that they can make almost any food look more attractive. When you sprinkle them over your green beans, they make for a striking presentation while also adding a pleasant crunch and a light nutty flavor to the dish.