Photos by Rikki Snyder
For the first summer in a long time, I'm not growing a vegetable garden. Sad! We've been wanting to move, and I didn't want to put all the effort into growing vegetables just for someone else to eat if we ended up selling the house — I'm selfish like that. Of all the veggies I grew over the past few summers, I'm going to miss the freaky long beans the most.
Long beans were reliable! They were the only vegetable that I could count on getting a lot of. Maybe because each bean is enough to feed a family of four. (Okay, I'm exaggerating. But just a little.) When you grow regular beans, you need to grow a whole lot of plants to get a decent amount, but just 4 long bean plants in one square foot was more than enough for us and by the end of the summer, we'd be sick of beans.
Why don't more people grow long beans? Grow long beans! Your neighbors will be impressed.
Although our long beans looked kind of funny, they tasted like regular green beans, and harvesting so many of them throughout the summer months, I came up with lots of easy recipe ideas for them. We had variations on this Green Beans with Lemon Parmesan Panko recipe many evenings last summer, but it wasn't something I had written down until now.
I like to roast my green beans, but if you're one of those people who are morally opposed to turning on the oven during summertime, steaming or grilling works just fine too — the main objective here is just to get your beans cooked. Once they're cooked, you toss them in fresh lemon juice, and top with with garlicky toasted panko, lemon zest, and grated Parmesan cheese.
Oh, and about the cheese! Whenever we do a recipe that uses Parmesan this comes up: in the US, it is possible to get vegetarian Parmesan cheese — I usually buy the Whole Foods 365 brand or Organic Valley. Avoid using imported Parmesan because it's never vegetarian. And if you live in Europe, you'll want to substitute the Parmesan with vegetarian hard cheese.
- 2 pounds green beans trimmed
- 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons light olive oil or any other high smoke point cooking oil, divided
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- Zest from 1 lemon
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Put a rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.
- In a large bowl, toss the green beans with a tablespoon of oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Once the oven has finished heating up, remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully transfer the beans onto it. Roast for about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until the beans are tender, but still crisp.
- While the beans are cooking, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Stir in the panko and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until it's toasted and golden brown in color. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool slightly, then toss the panko with the parmesan cheese and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer the green beans to a serving platter and drizzle them with fresh lemon juice. Top the beans with the panko mixture and serve immediately.