Green Beans with Japanese Flair

Green beans you won't be able to stop eating.

Green beans you won’t be able to stop eating.


Planning a picnic this Memorial Day? Or a backyard barbecue this long weekend?

Then, you’ve got to make these green beans.

I guarantee they will be the talk of the table.

I first made “Green Beans with Miso and Almonds” last Thanksgiving as a novel alternative to the usual green bean casserole. My in-laws couldn’t stop eating it. Each of them kept reaching for seconds, even thirds. Now, whenever my husband sees me trimming fresh green beans from the farmers markets, he secretly hopes they’re destined for this dish.

It’s a recipe by talented New York Chef Anita Lo of Annisa in New York that was first published in the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.

It’s a cinch to make, too. Just stir together a creamy dressing of white miso, sliced scallions, rice vinegar, English mustard powder, vegetable oil and sugar. Toss it with blanched green beans and garnish with almonds and more scallions. That’s it. You can even cook the green beans the day before and refrigerate until ready to use. It makes for a speedy side dish when you’ve already got your hands full entertaining guests.

The crunchy green beans lend a freshness to the rest of the menu. The miso sauce is downright addictive with its savory saltiness along with a hint of nasal-heat from the mustard powder. It’s a sauce you’ll want to use on so many other things, including grilled veggies, seared scallops, and even a Japanese-style crab or shrimp Louie salad.

This recipe makes enough for a crowd. It’s easy to cut in half, too. But make the whole amount. Because after one forkful, you’ll be glad you did.

Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

(Serves 10)

2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans

Kosher salt

1/4 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)

3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, dark-green parts only, divided

3 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Japanese prepared hot mustard (not wasabi), or 1 tablespoon English mustard powder mixed with 1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Working in 3 batches, cook green beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender. Transfer to a large bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well. Trim beans; cut in half on a sharp diagonal. Do ahead: Can be made 8 hours ahead. Arrange cooked beans in batches in paper towels, roll into cylinders, and transfer to plastic bags; seal and chill.

Whisk miso, 2 tablespoons scallions, vinegar, mustard, oil, and sugar in a small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt. Place green beans in a large bowl. Pour dressing over; toss to coat. Garnish with almonds and remaining 1 tablespoon scallions. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Ingredient info: Also known as shiro miso, white miso can be found in the refrigerated Asian foods section of better supermarkets and at natural foods stores and Japanese markets. Japanese hot mustard is sold in a small tube or tin; unlike wasabi, it is made with mustard seeds and processed with other seasonings. Look for English mustard powder, a hot mustard, at better supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

From Chef Anita Lo as published in the November 2011 issue of Bon Appetit


Another Anita Lo Recipe: Sauteed Fillet of Halibut with Fennel and White Anchovies


More Green Beans: Green Bean Salad with Pickled Shallots


And: Green Beans in Brown Butter and Ginger Fish Sauce

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