syrian string beans with spiced tomato sauce
Months and months ago I shared with you this string bean salad with mustard vinaigrette, admitting that I never know what to do with string beans besides cook them in tomato sauce until fork-tender. The truth is that I never really liked string beans until I tried them with a thick, spiced tomato sauce, which is why I always tend to stick to the same way of preparing them. The time has come, my friends, for me to share with you my favorite go-to recipe to cook this nutrient-packed vegetable in a sauce that will have you licking the bowl until the very last drop. Guaranteed!
String beans (or green beans, whatever way you prefer to call them) are nutritional powerhouses that contain an array of vitamins crucial to the proper functioning of our bodies. They’re full of vitamins A, C, B and K, as well as iron, folate, magnesium and potassium, which when combined, fight against cancer, increase fertility, prevent infections, improve bone health and combat depression among many other health benefits. The best way to reap the most benefits is eating string beans raw as in this salad, but there’s nothing I truly love more than cooking them in a spiced sauce to give them a bit more oomph.
This recipe takes its inspiration from a Syrian/Lebanese cookbook I stumbled upon in my mother’s collection years ago, calling for boiling string beans in water with dollops of tomato paste, garlic, cinnamon and all-spice. Throughout the years I’ve changed the recipe for the sauce quite significantly, by choosing to boil my string beans in a combination of canned crushed tomatoes, water, all-spice and cinnamon for added texture and taste, coupled with chopped garlic and red onion that I fry in vegetable oil prior to adding the sauce. The mix of these ingredients gives the string beans a taste like no other, and results in such a dreamy sweet-and-salty sauce that tastes deliciously good when spooned on top of rice or pasta.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 400g string beans, ends trimmed
- 400g canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 ¼ cups water
- ⅛ teaspoon all-spice
- ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Fry the red onion for 3 minutes until fragrant, then add the garlic and fry for 3 more minutes until softened and slightly golden.
- Add the string beans, canned tomatoes, water, all-spice, cinnamon, salt and pepper and mix everything together with a wooden spoon. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes until the string beans are tender.
How did your syrian string beans with spiced tomato sauce come out? Share photos of your recipe on Instagram by tagging #savormania