Green bean casseroles pretty much dominate holiday buffet tables as the side dish of choice. But many of them are made with canned mushroom soups that are loaded with calories and fat. Why do we use the holidays as an excuse to feed the people we love stuff that’s not good for them? Just doesn’t seem right to me!
This dish is actually my mother-in-law’s recipe with some modifications to make it super easy and quick to make. The secret is in the sauce, which is dominated by sweet paprika. She cooks hers up with finely diced onions and carrots, but to keep this in the Fast & Easy category I skip the carrots and use onion powder instead of the real thing.
I like to sprinkle fried garlic over the top, but I have to admit that cooking the garlic just right is kind of tricky. Over frying the garlic makes it bitter and pretty awful, so as an alternative, you can just chop it up and put it in the sauce.
This dish is really easy to make and can be scaled to serve any size crowd. And just look at it — it’s red and green! What could be more festive than that?
Ingredients (serves about 8)
1 pound frozen green beans
1 pound frozen sweet peas
6 garlic cloves – sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons tomato paste + 1/2 cup water (or use 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce)
1 teaspoon salt
- Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add in the garlic and fry it for about 1 minute. As soon as it starts turning light brown, it will cook very fast, so remove it with a slotted spoon when it turns medium brown. Place on paper towel to drain excess oil. (If you want to skip this step, just chop the garlic and add it to the oil along with the other ingredients in Step 2.)
- Mix the tomato paste and water in a blender to get rid of any lumps. Add it to the oil along with the paprika, onion powder and salt and stir until completely mixed.
- Add in the green beans and peas and mix so that the vegetables are completely coated with sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium, cover with a lid and let cook for 5 – 7 minutes until green beans are cooked to desired tenderness.
- Transfer to serving dish and top with fried garlic. Serve hot.