Sweet and Spicy Green Beans: Crisp green beans are tossed with a sweet and spicy pan sauce and topped with crunchy pecans, for a side dish that is easy enough for a weeknight meal but elegant enough for entertaining.
Recently, my husband and I snuck away for a lunch date. I say that like we had to be secretive, but truthfully, the only thing we were sneaking away from was the lunch I packed him for that day. But he decided to forgo his PB&J (he seriously requests this almost daily) and texted me to meet him at a local restaurant. Sounded good to me.
So I ditched the pink flannel PJ pants that I was still wearing at 11 am for some acceptable clothes and headed out the door.
As I glanced over the menu, of all things, a side dish caught my eye: Sweet and Spicy Green Beans with Pecans. I imagined the taste of spicy candied pecans coating each green bean. Sweet flavor, hit with just enough heat to make me pause for a sip of water.
Well, that is what I imagined. It is NOT what I got. I was served green beans swimming in butter that were topped with sweet and spicy pecans. Now, they were good. The rest of the meal was phenomenal. But I was disappointed. I wanted fresh beans glazed in a sauce that hit all notes of sweet, savory, and spicy. I was envisioning the green beans to be sort of candied themselves. I would not be happy until I had what I dreamed of.
So I got to work in the kitchen. And created Sweet and Spicy Green Beans.
These green beans are so simple, but hit on every note that I imagined tasting on my lunch date. They are crisp, fresh, yet are coated in sauce that is just sweet enough, yet finishes with a spicy kick. And they are finished with toasted pecans, for an extra crunch.
You may have not thought you were craving Sweet and Spicy Green beans, but I bet you now you are. And these will not disappoint.
- 2 pound fresh green beans, washed and ends trimmed
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Set a bowl of ice water to the side of the boiling water. Drop the green beans into the boiling water and boil for 2-3 minutes. Remove beans with slotted spoon and put directly into the ice water. (This stops the cooking process and retains the beans green color and crispness.)
- Drain the beans and pat dry.
- In a saute pan, bring the orange juice, maple syrup, and seasonings to a boil. Add the beans and toss well until coated and beans are heated through.
- Top with toasted pecans.