I love vegetables and try to have a vegetable side with every meal. During the holidays it is sometimes very hard to include a vegetable side with all of the rich and decadent foods, but I've learnt that if you keep your vegetables simple but tasty it lessens it becomes a little easier to include them. These Brown Sugar Green Beans are simple but loaded with flavor. I make these green beans for every holiday gathering because they require minimum effort to make and can be prepped ahead of time. I've made them with peppers, without peppers, with julienne carrots or julienned zucchini and with julienned yellow squash. Feel free to mix it up!
To make this simple dish, I start by blanching my green beans. I added about a pound of green beans to a pot of salted boiling water and cooked them for about 3 minutes.
Then I transfered the green beans to a bowl of ice and water and let it cool. This step is important to stop the beans from cooking and help them to retain some of their crunchiness. Try this is you prefer crunchy green beans versus mushy green beans.
Next, I added some olive oil to a deep pot or stir fry pan on medium heat. In the picture above I am using a cast iron dutch oven. I use it for almost everything I cook, I highly recommend getting one.
When the oil is hot, I added the brown sugar and garlic. I let the brown sugar and garlic cook in the oil for about a minute or so. I am not trying to make "burn sugar" the way Guyanese do for stews, but I am making a light caramel that still retains some of its sweetness.
For the next step I added the julienned red and yellow bell peppers. You can choose any color bell pepper but I like this combination because it makes the dish very colorful and festive and has a very Caribbean feel.
I added the blanched green beans and a bit of salt immediately after adding the peppers and I sautéd the veggies for about 5 minutes. I constantly tossed the veggies to ensure even cooking.
As a final step I added about a teaspoon of garlic powder. The garlic powder coats the veggies and adds a nice contrast of flavor to the sweetness of the brown sugar. I do have to say that it makes the beans look a bit fuzzy and dirty, so if you're a purist and don't want garlic powder over your beans, feel free to leave it out. But look at how beautiful these beans look! They are still crisp, with a big garlic flavor and sweetness from the brown sugar.
Brown Sugar Green Beans
- 1 lb green beans
- 2 Bell peppers 1 red and 1 yellow julienned
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Blanch green beans: Bring enough water to cover the green beans to a boil, in a large pot.
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Then add the green beans and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Next, transfer the green beans to a bowl with ice and water after 5 minutes.
- Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat.
- Add brown sugar and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until brown sugar starts to caramelize.
- Add julienned bell peppers, followed by the green beans (drain iced water from green beans before adding).
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt and the garlic powder.
- Sauté for about 3 to 5 minutes, constantly stirring to ensure even cooking.
- Remove from the heat and serve hot.