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I recently ran a 5-day Food Prep Challenge, and during the challenge I cooked lunch for participants live on Zoom.
As part of my lunch, I used green beans and fennel bulb to prepare a quick and tasty vegetable side dish.
Weeks later, one of the participants asked me for the recipe. Here it is for her, and for all of you as well!
Green beans (otherwise known as string beans) are an easy-to-digest vegetable suitable for any dosha.
Dosha is a term used in clinical practice of Ayurveda, and I am a Nutrition and Digestive Health Counselor, so I regularly provide information related to Ayurveda here on Buttered Veg, as well as my Ayurveda site GoodGutAyurveda.com.
Due to its vibrant green color, you’ll know that it is a source of vegetarian protein. In Ayurveda, protein is considered difficult to digest, and that’s why you want to include spices to support digestion of your green beans.
According to the American Heart Association, green beans might be one of the healthiest dishes at the holiday table due to their vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate, potassium, fiber, and antioxidant content.
The great thing is that green beans are popular in America, but what about fennel bulb? Not so popular right? Maybe we can change that. Fennel is a member of the carrot family after all.
With it’s mild licorice flavor and sweet taste, fennel bulb is popular in Mediterranean cuisine as an appetizer prior to a heavy meal.
This means it’s going to be great with the meal as well.
In Ayurveda, whenever we say something supports digestion, it usually means heating, but fennel gives us a rare and unique combination of both digestive and cooling qualities. Think of fennel as a harmonizer that’s suitable for any dosha.
How to cook fennel bulb and green beans
The method I am about to share with you is my best-kept secret.
Today we are cooking green beans and fennel, but the method works for any vegetable, or combination of vegetables.
The basic formula starts with a bit of ghee, olive oil or coconut oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Always use low to medium heat when working with spices.
Add the spices
For two servings, you sizzle in 1/2 teaspoon of spices. It only takes 10-30 seconds, depending on how hot your fat is.
You’ll know it’s been the right amount of time when you just start to smell the aroma. You will also visually see the sizzle.
Notice that you’re only using a small amount of spices. You don’t want to overwhelm the vegetables.
The spices add digestive support that help you digest and assimilate the nutrition from your vegetables.
Spices also enhance the natural flavor of the vegetables.
Add the vegetables
You want to be ready with your vegetables chopped, so that you can add them in after the sizzle, and before the spices burn.
Beware that the spices will burn easily in the absence of some hydration from the vegetables, or from some liquid.
After adding the vegetables, stir well, and cook for a couple minutes.
Finally, add in some salt, along with 2-3 tablespoons of water. Stir again, and cover.
Cook, covered, until the vegetables are softened to your liking.
Be careful not to run out of water in your saucepan. Add more water if needed.
Once the vegetables are cooked, if there’s too much water, simmer a few more minutes until the water evaporates.
Try to time your cooking so that the vegetables are moist, but not dry, and not overly wet either.
What spices to use
The exact spice mixture you use isn’t important. It’s just important that you use some.
As a basic, I would advise 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, plus 1/4-1/2 another spice or even a dried herb, such as thyme or oregano.
6 tastes flavor profile
As an Ayurvedic nutritionist and digestive health coach, I teach students how to cook with the 6 tastes.
In Ayurveda, a balance of 6 tastes is the recipe for complete satisfaction and optimal health because each taste connects us to nature through the 5 elements of air, ether, water, fire, and earth.
Each taste also has health benefits that we need. To learn more about the 6 tastes, CLICK HERE.
- SWEET: onion (cooked), fennel
- SOUR: fresh lemon
- SALTY: mineral salt
- BITTER: fennel, turmeric, second spice
- PUNGENT: fennel, turmeric, second spice
- ASTRINGENT: green beans
Recipe for Green Beans & Fennel Bulb
- medium saucepan or skillet with lid
- 2 teaspoons ghee sub with olive or coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon second herb or spice (see notes)
- 1/4 cup onion chopped
- 1 1/2 cup green beans chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup fennel bulb chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon mineral salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon freshly squeezed
- Select your spices and portion them out into a tiny bowl. Keep it by the stove until needed.
- Chop your onions, green beans, and fennel bulb into bite-sized pieces. Keep them by the stove until needed.
- Add ghee, olive oil or coconut oil to a medium saucepan (or a skillet with a lid) on medium heat.
- Add turmeric and your second spice and sizzle for 10-30 seconds, depending on how hot your fat is. You’ll know it’s been the right amount of time when you just start to smell the aroma. You will also visually see the sizzle.
- Immediately add the prepared onion, green bean and fennel, along with the salt. Stir well, and cook for a couple minutes.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of water. Stir again, and cover. Cook, covered, until the vegetables are softened to your liking (about 8-12 minutes).
- Be careful not to run out of water in your saucepan. Add more water if needed. If there’s too much water left, simmer a few more minutes with the lid off until the water evaporates. Try to time your cooking so that the vegetables are moist, but not dry, and not overly wet either.