In spring and summer, salads tend to be our side dish of choice. But in fall and winter, I like to experiment with cooked vegetable recipes. Green beans and mushrooms are available year-round, so I am always looking for new ways to prepare them. In this easy and delicious sautéed recipe, green beans and mushrooms are tossed in a simple Asian-inspired homemade plum sauce. The sauce is made from dried prunes, so it can be made year-round, whether or not plums are in season. Overall the result is sweet, spicy, and sensational. And it makes a great alternative to green bean casserole during the holidays.
Green Beans and Prunes – Plant-Based Nutrition
In addition to being delicious, this preparation for green beans and mushrooms is nutrient-rich. This recipe provides nutrition that is vital for a plant-based diet, with nutrients that are typically found in meat and dairy dishes. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that green beans are a good source of both calcium and vitamin K, which are both necessary for bone health. Consuming these nutrients on a regular basis can help to strengthen your bones and reduce your risk of fractures. Additionally prunes, which are used in the sauce, are an excellent source of plant-based iron.
Health Benefits of Mushrooms
Mushrooms contain a substance called ergothioneine, an amino acid antioxidant that helps to prevent cellular damage. This substance is particularly powerful in cancer prevention. In fact, studies show that eating just two medium mushrooms per day (or 18 grams, a little over half an ounce) can decrease your risk of cancer by as much as 45%. Mushrooms also help to keep cholesterol levels low in the body. Their savory flavor can reduce the need for added salt and sodium. They protect brain and gut health, as well as support a healthy immune system.
And here’s a super interesting fact about mushrooms – they’re the only vegetable or fruit that can provide a good source of vitamin D. White button mushrooms, cremini and portobello varieties are the most beneficial for this. If you slice these mushrooms and expose them to sunlight for at least 15 minutes before cooking, they’ll “soak in” the recommended daily amount of vitamin D.
While the flavor of this recipe is Asian-inspired, the ingredients are popular throughout the Mediterranean. The nutritional qualities of this meatless dish make it an excellent addition to a Mediterranean diet.
This tasty green beans and mushrooms recipe with plum sauce is so easy to make. In fact, it takes all of 15 minutes to prepare. The result is a nutritious and delicious side dish that can be enjoyed year-round. Overall I find we enjoy it the most in fall and winter, when we like to prepare more cooked and sautéed veggies. I hope you enjoy them, too!
Green Beans and Mushrooms with Plum Sauce
- 6 dried plums (prunes) pitted
- 2 dates pitted
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 lb fresh green beans trimmed
- 8 oz white button mushrooms sliced
- 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (for gluten free use a certified gluten free tamari sauce)
- 1/8 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice blend
- Pinch cayenne pepper or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (or oil with a high smoke point for frying)
- Cover the dried plums and dates with hot water and let them soak for 5-10 minutes. You can use this time to clean and trim/slice the green beans and mushrooms.
- Pour dried plums and dates with soaking water into a blender or food processor along with the soy sauce, Chinese 5 spice and cayenne pepper. Blend together ingredients, pausing to scrape the sides periodically, until a thick brown sauce forms. Scoop the sauce into a small bowl and reserve.
- Heat the grapeseed oil over high heat in a large skillet until hot. Add the sliced mushrooms to the skillet in a single layer and let them sear without stirring for 3 minutes. Continue to stir for another 1-2 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in the green beans and cover the skillet with a lid. Reduce heat to medium and let the green beans cook with the mushrooms for 5-7 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are bright green and have reached desired tenderness. I prefer them to be crisp-tender.
- Uncover the skillet and stir in the blended spiced plum date sauce, coating all of the vegetables evenly with sauce. Let the vegetables and sauce cook together for another minute or so until hot and bubbly. Taste and add salt, pepper or cayenne for extra spice to taste if desired. Remove from stovetop and serve immediately.