Hi! Happy Labor Day and welcome back to #CookwithKatie! Today I want to talk about one of my favorite local food scenes—the Bloomington Farmers’ Market! If you’re new to Bloomington (or Indiana) and want to check out local food, this is a great place to start. It’s open April to November on Saturday mornings (downtown on Morton Street next to City Hall) and the Tuesday Market is available June to September from 4-7 p.m. I just love walking outside and perusing the vendors while being able to talk to the people who grew my food.
Although it’s now September and the semester is underway with cooler weather on the horizon, it’s still a great time of year to find fresh produce grown locally. Eating fruits and veggies while they are in season is the best way to ensure peak ripeness (a.k.a. best taste!) with the best retention of nutrients. Also, your food is most economical when it’s purchased in season. It costs a lot less to move a cantaloupe from Jackson County to Monroe County than from Florida to Indiana! If you want to learn more about what’s in season annually in Indiana, check out this great calendar from The Indiana Department of Agriculture and Purdue University.
For today’s recipe, I’ve chosen something very simple—green beans—a pretty standard vegetable in many Hoosiers’ diets. I think the most common way to eat green beans for Hoosiers is the canned variety, sometimes with a little bacon added. Steaming them and adding a little butter, salt, and pepper is fairly common too. But for today’s recipe, we are going to roast them. I love roasting all sorts of vegetables, because it adds a rich deep flavor, and I like being able to put something in the oven for 20 minutes and not have to tend to it over the stove. So…LET’S GET COOKING!
Today’s Recipe: Roasted Green Beans
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Start with around one pound of green beans. Rinse them in a colander and snip the ends. You can roast the beans whole or cut them into pieces–this is totally a personal preference. Next, spread the beans on a baking sheet and add approximately one tablespoon of olive oil (one tablespoon is one quick swizzle—no need to measure!). Next, add in ¼ cup of pecans. Adding nuts to this dish adds another depth of flavor and texture, plus some protein. You could also substitute almonds or walnuts, but I personally love the taste of roasted pecans. Toss the green beans, oil, and nuts together so the oil evenly coats the beans. Spread this mixture evenly across the baking pan, so the dish cooks evenly. Note: using olive oil in a recipe instead of butter replaces saturated fat with heart healthy unsaturated fats.
Place those beans in the oven! I usually roast green beans for 20-25 minutes, turning the veggies mid-way through to ensure even cooking. The dish is done when you start to see some caramel color on the vegetables, and the pecans have a deeper brown color to them. I finish off my dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for some additional flavor.
For a balanced meal, pair your green beans with grilled chicken (or any other lean protein) and a whole grain side such as brown rice or roasted potatoes. Bon Appetit!