Maria’s Green Beans and Pork Szechuan Style

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To add nutrition and volume, place kale or spinach on a plate then top with leftover greenbeans, cover and heat in the microwave. The greens will wilt

 Serve leftovers on top of a bed of greens, cover, put in the microwave and reheat!

Green Beans – Nutrient Rich, Calorie Smart!

Green beans are low in calories and loaded with nutrients. They are particularly good source of Vitamin K. One cup has 122% of the Daily RDA! Vitamin K is important for maintaining strong bones and to coagulate the blood.  

  • Fresh green beans are very low in calories (31 kcal per 100 g of raw beans) and contain no saturated fat; but are very good source of vitamins, minerals and plant derived micro-nutrients. Here is how to roast green beans for a delicious side.
  • They are very rich source of dietary fiber (9% per 100g RDA) which acts as bulk laxative that helps to protect the mucous membrane of the colon by decreasing its exposure time to toxic substances as well as by binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon. Dietary fiber has also been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels by decreasing re-absorption of cholesterol binding bile acids in the colon.
  • Green beans contain excellent levels of vitamin A, and many health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene in good amounts. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process.
  • Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid in the beans, is absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eyes where it thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions. Therefore, it is helpful in preventing age related macular disease of the eyes in old age.
  • Fresh beans are good source of folates. Folate in the diet during preconception periods and during pregnancy helps prevent neural-tube defects in offspring.
  • Green beans also contain good amounts of vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), and vitamin-C. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and destroy harmful oxygen free radicals.
  • They also contain good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese and potassium which are very essential for body metabolism. Manganese is a co-factor for the enzyme superoxide dismutase, which is a very powerful free radical scavenger. Potassium is important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

green beans

Serve this dish with steamed brown rice. Why choose brown over white rice? Researchers tracked 200,000 people for 22 years. Those who ate 5 servings of white rice per week had a 17% higher risk of Type 2 Diabetes than those who ate less than one serving a month. In comparison, people who ate at least two servings of brown rice a week had an 11% lower risk of Type 2 diabetes than those who ate less than one serving a month. Brown rice may protect against diabetes because it has more fiber, vitamins, and magnesium and other minerals than white rice and because it raise blood sugar less than white rice does.

Here is one of my favorite recipes that spotlights green beans. You can use ground pork or ground turkey. For the leanest meat, use ground turkey breast. The dish will honestly taste the best if you use ground pork, but if you are trying to significantly cut calories and/or fat, use ground turkey breast. It will still be delicious.

Cook’s note: You can turn this into a vegetarian dish by substituting tofu for the pork or turkey. You can use this as a completely meatless meal or a side dish. The sauce is delicious. Use the recipe for the sauce in other stir fries.

Stir-Fried Green Beans Szechuan Style 

Serves 8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course

2 pound green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (I buy green beans year-round at Costco where the quality is always excellent)

1 tablespoon sugar
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (add more if you like spicy)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you like spicy)
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoon dry sherry
6 tablespoons soy sauce, light
2 tablespoons water
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground pork or ground turkey breast (ground turkey contains much less fat than pork)
6 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (peel the ginger and shred it with a hand-held cheese shredder or microplane)
6 scallions (also called green onions), white and light green parts sliced thinly

Cut green beans into 2 inch pieces. Cook beans in boiling water 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Time to cook will vary depending on diameter of the beans you are using. Drain.

While the beans are cooking, make the sauce. In a small bowl, stir together sugar, cornstarch, ground pepper, red pepper flakes, dry mustard, sherry, soy sauce and water until sugar dissolves; set aside. Chop garlic and grate ginger. Add to sauce and stir.

Wash the scallions, cut about 3 inches of the green off the ends and discard ends, and slice the scallions and put in a small bowl.

Heat 1 tsp olive oil in 14-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add pork or turkey. Cook, breaking pork into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 3-4 minutes. Don’t allow to overcook. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir sauce to recombine ingredients and pour sauce into skillet, stirring constantly until the sauce begins to boil, return cooked pork or turkey and green beans to the skillet. Stir and cook until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 1-2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir in scallions. Serve immediately.


Nutrition Facts using ground pork
Servings:  8.0 cups
Amount Per Serving
calories 265
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16 g 25 %
Saturated Fat 5 g 24 %
Monounsaturated Fat 8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 41 mg 14 %
Sodium 717 mg 30 %
Potassium 498 mg 14 %
Total Carbohydrate 15 g 5 %
Dietary Fiber 5 g 18 %
Sugars 5 g
Protein 13 g 26 %
Vitamin A 20 %
Vitamin C 39 %
Calcium 7 %
Iron 13 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
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