Tomato green beans and the need to spice my diet up

Green beans and tomatoesSpring is a synonym of many things to me. One of those things is… diet. Yup, spring coincides with the opening of my dieting season. My season usually lasts about three months. Why? Because at the end of June, I will go to Italy for a summer vacation and face the judgment of the fiercest people on earth: my so-called friends and acquaintances. They will greet me with one eye and with the other eye they will weigh every single organ of my body to check if I gained weight during the last year.  😉

I know what you are thinking: I shouldn’t care but I do and, to be honest, I dare anyone to find a woman who deep inside doesn’t. Plus, Italian women are all about being skinny and in shape and I’m afraid I’m not different. Unfortunately, I do not belong to that category of women that lose weight just breast-feeding or chasing their kids (by the way, have you ever met one of those women in real life?) Shedding even a single pound requires a Gargantuan effort on my part and year after year it is getting harder and harder and the results less and less satisfying. I guess it is the aging factor along with the metabolism slow-down that I just cannot defeat. 😉

Anyway, a few days ago, I was about to eat the nth, very-sad looking plate of steamed green beans while I was asking myself what I did wrong to deserve such a punishment. Then I remembered a very simple yet tasty recipe for green beans that my mom used to make a few years ago. Of course, next thing I did was asking her to refresh my memory about the details of her recipe.

Sure, it has a few more calories than a mere steamed green bean dish, but at least it is something to look forward to eating either at lunch or dinner without feeling too guilty 😉

Ingredients:

1/2 cup, extravirgin olive oil
1 garlic clover
4 cups of green beans
10 cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup, capers (optional)
red pepper flakes
salt

Directions:

Green beans and tomatoesCut the tomatoes in halves. If you decide to add the capers, remember to put them in a cup with some water at least 20 minutes before using them and then to rinse them under some tap water before putting them in the skillet.

Put the olive oil and the garlic in a large non-stick skillet and brown the garlic. When the oil has gotten the garlic flavor, throw the garlic away and add the tomatoes and some salt (to taste). Toss to coat and cook, on a very low heat, for about 5 minutes.

Add the green beans, the capers and some red pepper flakes  (to taste) and toss to coat. Cook on a very low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20/30 minutes.

To those of you who are in my shoes, I wish you a very happy dieting! 🙂

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About Francesca

I am a cook and the founder and art director of Flora's Table, the fine cooking and wine blog. Check us out at www.florastable.com :-)
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40 Responses to Tomato green beans and the need to spice my diet up

  1. Oh does this bring back memories, my Mom made green beans and tomato all the time and it was my absolute favorite. A piece of great bread and a bowl of the beans and tomato and I am in heaven, I love this so much!!

  2. Francesca I so sympathize; I am still in the throes of my 5:2 diet, I should have lost the desired weight by now but some weeks I missed out on one or other of the two fasting days. I am now, thankfully, back on track. I wish you all the very best with your spring diet. This recipe seems ideal for dieting – both nutritious and flavoursome. ; )

  3. This dish adds a nice twist to the typical steamed diet food! Oh, and I completely relate to you Francesca! Friends can be the most critical people of all! I’m trying to shed some pounds for swimsuit season myself!!

  4. Darya says:

    Lovely recipe, Francesca, wonderful combination. I know what Italian friends can be like, I have some myself, so I can imagine how you feel! And I wouldn’t be able to “not care and ignore them”, though I would like to. I wouldn’t feel guilty about eating tons of this dish though 🙂

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Darya. Don’t even get me started about my French friends. They are the most merciless! And not only about my weight. But it is true that you are the most sophisticated people in the world and there is always something to learn from you so I walk towards the guillotine with resignation. 😉

  5. – Oh Bella Francesca, I have my share of ‘the fiercest people on earth’. And yes, they are the kind that no matter what they eat they don’t gain, but they say otherwise. I have gained my share of unnecessary pounds and it gets harder by the year to lose them. My son (an extremely fit physician) emphasize taking protein for weight-loss, so there would be no skin-sag or hair-loss. 😦
    – I love green-beans however they come. I love the addition of capers here. Yum!
    – Your posts look absolutely beautiful, immaculate and classy! I just checked Stefano’s photo blog >> http://www.stefanocrosio.com/ . He truly is a very talented man. Congratulations to both of you in all areas.
    – So, when you think of Italy, what is the first dish you look forward to eating? 😀

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Fae. You are awfully kind and we appreciate your support more than you can imagine.
      I don’t crave a particular dish but rather single pieces of food: some stracchino, some prosciutto cotto, all the summer fruit (especially peaches, apricots and plums), some mozzarella, sweet fava beans and the list could go on and on. My mouth waters every time I think about my list. But I’m happy. I’m only a couple of month away. 🙂

  6. Francesca how I related to this post. How many times have I returned to Greece only to be told to my face where I am lacking! All non compliments are always received by me with a smile but the eyes say something different. At least they care enough to notice!! Your green bean recipe is going on my list to try.

    • Francesca says:

      Maria, your country is the cradle of the civilization, beauty and culture. Greek people are used to perfection. Of course, they are merciless judges! 😉

      • Maybe, but I do wonder sometimes if it isn’t as innocent as they protest? They always like to dish it out but don’t like it coming back!! I now expect it and I think if it didn’t happen I would be disappointed!!

  7. The dreaded diet…does this mean there will be no more chocolate cake posts?? LOL! Do you make caponata? There are some pretty yummy vegetables in there! :0) Good luck!

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Kim. Yep, no more comfy, fatty food…well …maybe! Yes, I make caponata. Actually, I make more than one version. Couldn’t agree more. It is a great dish.

  8. ChgoJohn says:

    This is a wonderful dish, Francesca. Mom made something similar, though without capers and pepper flakes She often put a bit of raw tomato or tomato paste in a dish, “For color” and it’s a pracitice I’ve inherited. I am certainly going to give your version a try. I love the pop of flavor and heat that the capers & flakes bring. Thanks for sharing.

    • Francesca says:

      What a coincidence, John! Every time my mom teaches me a new dish she says to me “add some tomatoes or a little bit of tomato sauce just to give the dish some color”. Exactly like your mom … simply extraordinary. Maybe, it is an expression of the past generation.

  9. Mary says:

    Wonderful dish and looking forward to trying it.

  10. chef mimi says:

    That is why I love being in London. No woman wears spanx in london. No woman does sit ups in London. seriously. I love it. You need to change to British friends!!!!! Love this dish – I do something similar, incuding the cayenne pepper flakes, but add kalamata olives and toasted pine nuts. YUM!

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Chef Mimi. The addition of olives and nuts is a brilliant idea. I’ll try it next time I make this dish.
      I’m afraid I’m not any luckier with my London friends. They are really into fashion and their attitude would surely qualify them to be the perfect judges of Project Runway. 😉

  11. the photos are always amazing !! It sounds delicious !

  12. I’ve made this before but without the addition of capers (I love them) and red pepper flakes. I must try this. I like to serve green beans, tomatoes, and garlic with meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Stefano’s photos are gorgeous.

    • Francesca says:

      Thank you, Jill. Stefano is always flattered by your kind comments. He really hopes you enjoyed his post about food photography pointers. 🙂

      • I did enjoy his post about food photography! I read it once and need to go back and read it again.Then I need to thank him properly. I’ve filed the post away in my Blogging Information board on Pinterest so I can refer to it often. My goal is to improve my photography. Do you have a Pinterest account? I’m so addicted to Pinterest.

      • Francesca says:

        No Jill, I haven’t. It is something I have to look into.

  13. Good luck with your project! 🙂 The green beans looks delicious and healthy! And thank you for the little tip with capers…I think that might be what I have been doing wrong all this time and have been wondering why they don’t taste so good…when I’ve have delicious capers at restaurants etc. 🙂

  14. My boys would quite like this with a bit of red pepper flakes. It makes regular green beans into something special. I don’t think dieting or watching what you eat is about how you look but how you feel inside. If you feel good you will look radiant. Take care, BAM

  15. laurasmess says:

    This dish looks gorgeously simple yet delicious! Love the photography. So sorry you’re currently depriving yourself with diet food. Argh, I hate dieting! I just try & maintain an active lifestyle and a commitment to moderation in terms of fatty or sweet stuff. Thankfully it’s worked so far! Good luck though, hopefully you get your desired result! Xx

  16. Fig & Quince says:

    Culturally, totally relate to what you have to face and reading through the comments am thinking of moving to London where women don’t wear Spanx or do sit-ups! Where is this heaven where Mimi speaks of? But back to food: I like green beans and do want to learn about new healthy types of dishes to put in frequent rotation in my diet and plan to try this. Plus gives me an excuse to buy capers.

    • Francesca says:

      To be honest with you, I have no idea. My London friends are really into fashion and they are among the worst! They literally scan me from head to toe. It is like a school exam every time…extremely painful. 😉

  17. Dina says:

    Lovely post, Francesca, it made me chuckle 😀
    I’ve some beans in the fridge, I’ll prepare them without bacon now!
    Now I’ll do what I intended to do a long time and enlist you in my blogroll, The good things in life.
    Have a great Monday!
    Hugs
    Dina

  18. Dina says:

    P.S. and as for the photography; excellent! I was so absorbed with the words, I forgot! 🙂

  19. sybaritica says:

    The capers are a lovely touch!

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