Waste Not, Want Not Recipe: Ginger Cardamom Green Beans

Tough beans. Maybe they didn’t get harvested before becoming huge and gangly, or maybe they were forgotten in the frig. At any rate, the quick steaming and poaching methods that are perfect for tender, fresh beans won’t make a dent in these guys’ armor. But instead of tossing them, try boiling them. Nowadays, vegetables aren’t often boiled, since it can soften vegetables too much and take out too much flavor–but that’s exactly what’s needed for tough old beans. And the cooking liquids remain part of the dish so nutrients aren’t lost. Of course you can also use fresher, younger beans for this recipe.

Ginger Cardamom Green Beans

The last of summer’s green beans and tomatoes make a delightful pairing, enhanced by the exotic flavors of ginger and cardamom.

  • 4 to 5 cups green beans, sliced into roughly 1½” lengths (from about 1½ lbs. green beans)
  • 2 to 2½ cups fresh tomatoes, diced to roughly ¾” (from about 2 large tomatoes)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper

Step 1–Cook Beans  Stir together in a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until beans are tender, to taste.  (For young beans, this may be 5 to 10 minutes; for older beans, 20 to 30 minutes.)

  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. ground cardamom
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger, prepared or fresh
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Bury the coconut oil, cardamom and ginger together in a small well in the center of pan, where the flavors will cook and meld in the residual heat.

Step 2–Bloom Seasonings, Soften Coconut  Once beans are fully cooked, remove pan from heat.  Push beans to sides of pan and bury the coconut oil, ginger and cardamom, all together, in the liquid in center of pan.  Sprinkle coconut over the entire mixture, then re-cover pan and allow seasonings to bloom and coconut to soften in the residual heat of mixture, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve  Stir mixture together, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and serve, using small bowls to contain liquids, if desired.

Cook’s Notes
Winter Options  In winter when decent green beans are hard to come by and flavorful tomatoes are non-existent, substitute a 16-oz package of high-quality frozen beans and a 15-oz. can of Muir Glen tomatoes.
Cooking Options  Because I had to leave on a quick errand the first time I made this dish, I boiled the beans in my rice cooker so I didn’t have to worry about burning them.  It worked quite well which leads me to wonder whether a slow cooker would also work.
Coconut Flakes  Unlike the usual shredded coconut, these are more like ribbons, about ¼” wide.  They can be found at Vitamin Cottage, but regular shredded coconut can also be used.  Because it packs more densely, use only ¼ to 1/3 cup.
If You Have Time. . .  For a sweet finishing touch, hold off adding the coconut as directed.  Instead, toast it in a warm dry pan and sprinkle over each portion when served.

3 Responses

  1. […] check out the recipes in the previous posts for green beans past their prime and arugula (or any other vegetable) that’s so bitter you’re tempted to toss […]


  2. […] Waste Not, Want Not Recipe–Ginger Cardamom Green Beans  Learn to use tough vegetables paste their prime […]


  3. […] Quick Health Saver Tip; Waste Not, Want Not: Quick Dessert Idea; Waste Not, Want Not: Reflections; Waste Not, Want Not Recipe: Ginger Cardamom Green Beans; Waste Not, Want Not: 5 Tricks for Cooking Not Tossing Bitter Foods by Mary Collette Rogers posted […]


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