The inspiration for this week’s 5-2 fast day offering? Green beans. Or fagiolini as they were fondly referred to in our house. Growing up, the contents of our dinner plates were always influenced by what was in season and plentiful supply in my father’s thriving vegetable garden. My earliest memories of late summer and early autumn are of afternoons spent in the bean patch, picking off fat pods full of beans from the trellis. If memory serves me correctly, in peak season those beans needed to be picked almost every day. Hence at a certain time of year beans were our constant dinner companion.
These days I no longer have access to a sprawling vegetable garden, and more often than not source fresh fruit and vegetables from my local farmer’s market. At the moment the trestle tables at those markets are awash with piles and piles of in fresh, crisp, in season beans. Fabulous paired with sweet yet tart, beautifully ripe, in season tomatoes, they bring back fond memories of one of my favourite fagiolini dishes; sautéed green beans cooked in a home made tomato sauce. This dish has long been a staple late summer side dish on our family dinner table. Here I have adapted it a little, dressing it up with the addition of roasted cherry tomatoes to become a more substantial 5-2 fast day meal.
Sautéed Green Beans With Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 4 (141 calories per serve)
500g green beans, rinsed, topped and tailed, sliced in half on the diagonal if very long (150 calories)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided (240 calories)
1 medium brown onion, finely diced (46 calories)
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced (8 calories)
1 long red chilli, finely sliced (18 calories)
400g tin crushed tomatoes (32 calories)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes (54 calories)
a good pinch of sugar (5 calories)
a dash of balsamic vinegar (5 calories)
1/4 cup basil leaves, shredded (4 calories)
sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper to season
PREHEAT oven to 200C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
IN A MEDIUM BOWL, toss whole cherry tomatoes with a tablespoon of oil. Generously season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared tray.
ROAST in hot oven for 10-15 minutes until blistered and tender, turning once after 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside in a warm place.
MEANWHILE heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté with a pinch of salt until soft and translucent.
ADD garlic and chilli. Sauté until fragrant.
ADD green beans and continue to sauté for a further 3 minutes.
ADD the tinned tomatoes and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Break down the tomatoes with the back of your wooden spoon as you stir.
ADD balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir well to combine. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes until the sauce is rich and thick but beans still al dente. Stir through roasted cherry tomatoes and shredded basil. Serve.