Summer Sides—Garlic Green Beans

Summer is the perfect time to incorporate lots of veggies into your diet—and green beans are ideal for a healthy diet. Whether you’re working with one of our medical weight loss clinics or simply trying to maintain your results, green beans are an excellent choice and make a perfect side to almost any entrée. They are very low in calories and fat, yet rich in dietary fiber, which fills us up for hours on end and promotes healthy digestion. Green beans contain high levels of vitamins A, B1, B6 and C, which boosts immunity and helps combat free radical damage. They are also great sources of flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which promotes healthy eyesight, and are rich in folates, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese.

Pine nuts are tiny but they pack a serious nutrient punch. Studies show that they contain fatty acids that promote the release of cholecystokinin (CCK), a hormone that suppresses appetite, as well as antioxidants that are crucial for antiaging, including lutein and vitamins A, B, C, D, and E. Pine nuts also help boost energy with protein, iron and monounsaturated fat, protein, magnesium and iron.

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2 lbs fresh green beans
2 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup pine nuts, chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 lemon, sliced
2 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tbsp. crushed red pepper
Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Trim the ends of the green beans while bringing water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans for about three to four minutes. They should be very green and slightly tender. Then drain the beans and put them in a bowl of ice water. This process, which is called “blanching,” will “shock” the beans and stop them from cooking.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for approximately 30 to 45 seconds. Add in the beans and saute for approximately five minutes. At about two minutes in, stir in the pine nuts. Season with Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper as you saute the mixture. Add the lemon zest and remove from heat. Squeeze approximately half a lemon over the beans and then add a slice to each serving.

Makes 5 to 6 servings.

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