Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Maple Green Beans with Caramelized Apples

What a combo! Caramelized apples, onions and then tossed with tender and fresh green beans. Once you have this simple green bean dish you will not be wishing for some creamy green bean casserole. I know, it's true, I used to love the "traditional" green bean casserole. You know the one you eat maybe only once a year at Thanksgiving dinner. Yeah, that one, with the crispy onion tops. Yes, there is something about tradition, but I promise this dish will fulfill all of your desires in a green bean dish. It's crisp, fresh, healthy and full of flavor. Perfect for any fall feast, and could even be made into a great dinner dish on it's own.
Just look at those flavors and colors. Green beans are one of my most favorite veggies. Mostly because I love the texture and the first bite into a freshly picked and steamed beans. Crisp and crunchy. And, I love their gorgeous green color. But really, I think this simple combo of apples and green beans is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving feast. That is why I am sharing this dish with you now, and you can also look for it on my Thanksgiving Menu line-up (that will be coming in the next post!)
The great thing about this simple green bean dish is that it can be made in minutes. With all the other craziness of preparing the Thanksgiving feast, you need to have one simpler side that is better than canned apples or beans. This is your trump card. Plus, fresh or frozen green beans are so very simple to prepare. No cutting, no simple. I love fresh beans, but I have also bought some great frozen organic beans at Costco in the freezer section. 

This dish will have everyone ooooing and ahhhing with the great fresh fall flavors and whether you are planning a turkey or not, this dish may steal the show. I have been making this dish for a few weeks now with all the fresh apples, but now that Thanksgiving is almost here I decided this is a must for the feast. A gluten-free Thanksgiving doesn't need to be frustrating, difficult or "impossible". This simple, fresh side is a good reminder that eating gluten-free is actually an amazing journey of eating fresh and delicious food. Celebrate and be thankful, friends!

Maple Green Beans with Caramelized Apples Recipe
2-3 TB of olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, or 4 large shallots
2 medium-large apples cored, and thinly sliced (I used 3 small Empire apples)
2 pounds of organic fresh or frozen green beans
2 TB of pure maple syrup
2 TB of apple cider (or orange juice) *If you want more tangy, use apple cider vinegar instead*
sea salt and cracked black pepper for topping and taste
1/4 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds for topping

optional ingredients: fresh sage, dried craisins or raisins

First, in a large skillet or pan drizzle some olive oil and saute the onions and apples. Let them saute on medium to low heat to not burn, but to caramelize and turn golden and soft. Then, bring a large pot to a boil and sprinkle some sea salt. Add green beans to the boiling water and do a quick 3-4 minute boil with the beans...until they are tender, but still crunchy crisp.  Or, you can also steam the beans for about 4 minutes if you prefer. 

Lastly, add the tender green beans to the large skillet with the onions and apples, Then add the cider (or vinegar), maple syrup and salt and pepper. Stir all together and let cook over the heat for just a minute to blend all of the flavors. Then you can toss some fresh roasted pumpkin seeds or slivered almonds to the top of the dish to serve. If you prefer to add more oil (or butter if you prefer) or syrup for more saucy flavor, then go for it. Also, I have a lot of fresh sage on hand that I thought about adding just a sprinkle of to add some more flavor. I didn't add it to the recipe though because I didn't want the sage flavor to overpower the caramelized onions and apples. So add some fresh herbs only if you like. 

Serve with dinner as a side, or pour over some quinoa and chickpeas for a nice dinner plate. This recipe will serve about 6-8 people as a side dish. 

Ok, friends... I had to post this simple and amazing recipe before I posted my Thanksgiving line-up. I am planning to roll that out by Friday and looking forward to sharing my favorites, some other's favorites and a little bit of thanks-givings-of my own.

Much love to you today!


  1. This is gorgeous, Stephanie! Lovely use of ingredients in a simple recipe that truly celebrates the bounties of the season.

  2. Jonathan- Thanks for your kind words and hope you have a fantastic holiday with lots of yummy foods. Much love!