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.
Sweet and Spicy Green Beans
- 2 pound fresh green beans washed and ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 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.