Sometimes you just need a simple side of crispy green beans to tag along to your main dish. These green beans with orange miso sauce are dressed up with delicious Japanese inspired ingredients.
This recipe is so easy to prepare, and the depth of flavor will make you want to eat a whole plate all by yourself! Believe me. I speak from experience. With the right techniques, you can say goodbye to the soggy and mushy cafeteria-style green beans, and trade them in for these irresistible, gorgeous pods. Who’s ready to nom?
I always say it’s a healthy meal when you eat a rainbow of colors, so when I see these colorful beans at Trader Joe’s I can’t resist. I’ve seen waxy yellow beans and of course the classic green, but the purple beans caught my eye.
So what makes green beans purple? It’s a beautiful phytochemical called anthocyanins, so you get some incredible nutrients just by eating a different colored plant. Chaa ching!
How to Blanch Green Beans
So you wouldn’t believe that during culinary school we spent a whole segment discussing the technique and importance of “blanching and shocking.” Say what? Yes, it seems so easy to cook green beans, but let’s be honest, we’ve all let it simmer just a tad too long. Here are some quick tips on how to get it just right.
Make sure to bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid bubbling boil. Making sure to get enough water to submerge the beans completely. If you don’t add enough water, when you plunge the beans into the hot bath the temperature of the water will reduce considerably. The result is longer cooking time and nasty green beans, no thanks! Quick blanching is crucial, not long simmering.
Cooking is about using your senses. The beans only need just a few minutes to become crisp and tender. You can see the transformation from a dull color to a more vibrant green or yellow. This is a great indicator of when the beans are ready to be removed. I always grab one from the pot and to check for a crunchy texture. It should taste fresh, be crisp yet tender, but not raw.
When the beans are nice and crispy, immediately “shock” them in ice-cold water. I always set up this water batch in a large bowl before I cook the beans, so it’s ready. This step halts the cooking and keeps the color nice a green, stopping the enzymes in the skin that causes an unwanted color change.
Let’s talk sauce
I wanted to infuse rich umami flavor quickly into the beans, and yellow miso paste does the trick. It has a more mild flavor, which is just right for the vegetables.
The sauce is made by reducing some broth with the miso and orange juice. The juice brings a little bit of acidity and natural sweetness to the dish. The miso orange sauce lightly coats the beans but has a big flavor hit.
If you want to take the crunch factor to the next level, there are two more elements besides making sure you cook the beans to perfection.
First, you can add some Japanese panko bread crumbs. I toasted them in a pan until they reach an even golden brown and generously sprinkled them on top of beans right before serving. The last thing you can do is toss in some purple cabbage, the texture, and eye-catching fuchsia will make each serving more enticing.
What will you serve with these tasty green beans with orange miso sauce? Some crispy teriyaki tofu or miso glazed salmon is always on the top of my list. Let me know what you end up cooking. I’d love to hear in the comments section!
How does blanching green beans change its color?
Uncooked green beans have natural gasses that reside in between the skin and pigment, which gives it a dull-looking color. When you bring raw green beans in contact with boiling water the high heat releases the gas, and the green pigment rises to the surface. A bright green emerges, and it’s what you want to serve. What often happens if we let the beans cook too long, acids and enzymes are also released into the cooking liquid, which causes the green pigments to dull and lose its vibrancy. Cooking the beans in scorching water for just a few minutes and then shocking in cold water can help keep those lovely beans green. (Source: The French Laundry Cookbook)
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Green Beans with Miso Sauce
- 1 pound green beans, tricolor if available
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼ cup low sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
- 2 tablespoons orange juice, plus orange zest from one orange
- 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup purple cabbage, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon sesame seeds
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook green beans until crisp and tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain beans and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain water and set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger, saute for 1 minute, constantly stirring until fragrant.
- Add beans and toss to coat. Add in broth, miso, orange juice and zest to the pan. Stir to combine and cook until the liquid is reduced, about 4 minutes.
- Turn off the heat once the sauce reduces and coats the beans. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium heat.
- Add panko bread crumbs, stirring every few minutes to evenly toast them until golden in color, about 5 minutes.
- Toss beans with purple cabbage. Top with sesame seeds, toasted panko bread crumbs, and cilantro. Serve warm.
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