Green Beans with Sweet Spiced Pecans and Goat Cheese

by Jess on November 16, 2012

in Favorites, Recipes, Side Dishes

This morning on my way to the gym I could have sworn I heard a monkey.  It’s not even really possible that there would be a monkey in our yard in downtown Bangkok, but I liked the idea of it.

Second only to monkeys, I wanted to talk about green beans this morning.  Not your standard steamed or boiled green beans, these are green beans I could eat every night.  Green beans with a crunch of sweet pecans, tartness from a light vinaigrette, and creaminess of goat cheese to top it all off .

These might tempt even the green bean averse.

Why is it that this coming holiday that’s all about traditions, there’s so much creative play that happens around the recipes?  Every year I’m curious to see what the food magazines will come up with.  Asian Thanksgiving?  Kimchi Mashed Potatoes?  Tortilla Chip Chorizo Stuffing?  It’s all been done, and so much more.  I love all the variations, but I tend to go the traditional route.  (That is, I  grill my mother to insure that she is going the traditional route when I’m going to be home for Turkey Day dinner.)

Next week will mark our third (yikes!) Thanksgiving in Bangkok.  And while it’s never all that traditional, it’s always fun.  We’ll be spending the day with friends this year, so I’ll just be contributing a dish or two (these rolls are already on the list), but that hasn’t kept me from making a few things that get us in the mindset for the coming holiday.

Traditional Thanksgiving fare or not, these green beans made a great side to dinner, and awesome lunch leftovers.

With a Thanksgiving-style side dish here or there, we might just stretch this year’s Thanksgiving out for a couple weeks.

Or at least until Frank caves to letting me putting up the Christmas tree.

Green Beans with Sweet Spiced Pecans and Goat Cheese
 
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Not your standard green beans, these get a boost with tangy vinaigrette, sweet spiced pecans, and creamy goat cheese.
Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish, Vegetable
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • Salt, for the cooking water (about 2 tsp for a large pot of water)
  • 1½ pounds trimmed green beans, cut into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ of a red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1½ cups sweet spiced pecans (recipe below)
  • 3 oz. mild goat cheese, crumbled
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans to the water and boil, just until the beans are tender and bright green, about 5 minutes (for very fresh green beans, they may only need about 3-4 minutes). While the beans boil, fill a large bowl with water and ice. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to the ice water to stop the cooking process. When the beans are cool, strain them and transfer them to a serving bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar and mustard. Whisk in the olive oil until well incorporated. Add the chopped red onion and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. About 30 minutes before serving, remove the green beans from the refrigerator to allow them to come to room temperature. Drizzle the dressing over the top of the beans. Sprinkle spiced pecans and goat cheese over the green beans.
Notes
Gorgonzola is a great substitute for the goat cheese in this recipe.

 
Sweet Spiced Pecans
 
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These crisp, sweet and spiced pecans are great to serve to guests before dinner or on top of roast vegetables, salads, or (my favorite) baked sweet potatoes.
Author:
Serves: makes 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp. salt
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the pecans and cook, stirring constantly. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt. Just as the pecans start to turn golden brown and fragrant (about 5 minutes), add the sugar mixture to the pan and stir vigorously to coat the pecans. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar starts to sizzle and caramelize on the pecans, about 2 minutes more. (Remove the pecans immediately if they show any signs of starting to burn.) Pour the pecans out onto a piece of parchment paper or baking sheet and allow to cool. When cool, break apart and store in a sealed container for up to a week.

Make some extra of those sweet spiced pecans and use them in one of these fabulous recipes!

Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Blue Cheese by Two Peas & Their Pod.

Chop them up and mix them into these Pumpkin-Coconut Macaroons by Make it Naked.

Or do what I’ve been doing all week and sprinkle them over Homemade Instant Oatmeal.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sally @ sallys baking addiction November 16, 2012 at 6:03 pm

ok Jess. I need your camera or lens or photo styling talent! i am obsessed with your beautifully perfect photos! this super simple side dish sound fabulous – goat cheese is my FAVORITE cheese on the planet. it’s SO creamy and soft. hands down, the best. i’ve never tried it with green beans though! nice touch!
sally @ sallys baking addiction recently posted..chocolate fudge cookies with candy cane buttercream.My Profile

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2 Jess November 17, 2012 at 8:50 am

Sally – you are so sweet. Goat cheese is MY favorite too!!!

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3 Ashley November 17, 2012 at 12:54 am

These green beans sound amazing! Pecans + goat cheese are always a welcome addition : )
Ashley recently posted..Thanksgiving Menu & Preparations 2012My Profile

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4 Jess November 17, 2012 at 8:54 am

Ashley – so true – I think I’d like anything with pecans and goat cheese on it! Great post on Thanksgiving planning!

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5 Debra November 17, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I think I will make these a tradition. I was wondering how to get green beans to the table. This is it!
Debra recently posted..The new additionMy Profile

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6 Debra November 23, 2012 at 7:43 am

I made them. This rocks!!!!!! Thanks you for a new favorite !!!!
Debra recently posted..Cranberry-Orange Relish with JalapeñoMy Profile

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7 Jess November 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Debra – I’m so glad! Thanks for dropping me a note to let me know – happy Thanksgiving!
Jess recently posted..Two Years in Bangkok, Two Years of BloggingMy Profile

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