Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Southern Italian Green Beans over Quinoa

For some unknown reason I decided to clean out my closet this morning. You wouldn’t think I would have anything left to purge but somehow I found another three big trash bags worth of clothes to donate since the last purge. Even though I have only lost three pounds over the last few months I have lost two inches on my waist. (Yay exercise!) That makes an enormous difference in how your clothes fit. Needless to say, the big clothes are going out. I don’t want any fat clothes to fall back on. But now my closet is looking really bare. There may be a shopping expedition in my future. Darn it, LOL! ;-)

When I have no idea what I am going to make I frequently turn to some variation of this meal. We like the light yet flavorful tomato sauce. It is good with any number of veggies, beans, or even tofu. In the past I would serve this tossed with al dente whole wheat pasta. But since we are trying to keep our flour consumption to a dull roar I serve this dish over quinoa more often now. Quinoa has the added benefit of containing all 8 essential amino acids as well as being a whole unprocessed grain. Here is what I did.

Southern Italian Green Beans over Quinoa
Serves 3 (or two servings for Dan and one for me)


1 ½ cups yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled (allow to stand 10 minutes so the allicin can develop before cooking)
¼ cup water for sautéing the aromatics
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
14 ounces canned diced tomato, no salt added
2 cups fresh green beans, tipped
½ tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar
fresh basil, julienned for garnish (approximately 9 leaves)
sliced almonds, for garnish (approximately 1 ½ tablespoons)
1 ½ cups cooked quinoa to serve under the beans (if using previously cooked quinoa it reheats well in the microwave)


Water sauté the onions and garlic until tender, about 3 minutes on high. Add the seasonings and tomatoes and cook for approximately 7 – 8 minutes so the flavors con develop. Add the green beans and cook for another 5 minutes until the beans are just starting to soften but are still bright green. Finish with a ½ tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar to brighten the flavor. Add salt and pepper if desired.

To serve top the quinoa with the bean and tomato mixture. Add a sprinkle of sliced almonds and basil.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 225.83
Calories From Fat (18%) - 39.98

Total Fat - 4.65g
Saturated Fat - 0.27g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 22.78mg
Potassium - 864mg
Total Carbohydrates - 40.87g
Fiber - 9.61g
Sugar - 8.23g
Protein - 8.91g


This dish makes a nice light meal. Served with a green salad you have a complete healthy meal that is ready in less than 20 minutes. If you are in the mood for heat this is also great with a little hot crushed peppers (wet hots) added to the tomatoes at the end.

Each serving of this dish contains approximately 1,800IU of vitamin A, 140mg of calcium, 55mcg of vitamin K, 260mg of phosphorus, and 125 mg of magnesium. Not too shabby for so little time and effort.

Unrelated note:

Today is going to be a little more hectic than normal. I hope to be back later today with another post, but I have a lot on my plate so there is a good chance I may run out of time. I hope you are having a good Wednesday. Talk to again as soon as I can.


  1. Congrats on the pounds and inches lost--that must feel soooooo good. What an accomplishment! It must be all the exercise DVDs you are "trying out" for fun, lol :-)

    Good luck today!

  2. Courtney,

    Thanks! I was pretty excited when I found so many things that were too big. I was doing the happy dance as I was pulling things out to be donated. Changing your exercise routine seems to be very effective, LOL. Good thing I bought two pair of the smaller sized jeans and a pair of khakis or I would be having a harder time finding things to wear today. ;-)


  3. Awesome loss of inches, Alicia, Good for you!!:)
    The green beans on quinoa looks yummy. I make green beans very similar to yours, minus the fennel, but never thought to put them on quinoa, good idea.

  4. Janet,

    The fennel is my southern Italian addition. The Sicilians put fennel in almost anything.

    Thanks for the congrats on the inches. I was pretty excited about it. It isn't easy to lose waist inches in your late forties since that is where they seem to want to hang around. :-)

    talk to you later,

  5. Sometimes it's not so much about the pounds right?! Good job with losing inches and earning a shopping spree...I mean trip.

    We love love love green beans in our house so this is right up my alley.

  6. I'm just back from a long Memorial Day weekend trip to Vegas (told you I love that place!), and it looks like I have many yummy things to catch up on around here. Green beans are one of my least favorite veggies, but I think a dish like this would really help me grow to love them! I think I'll wait until some green beans are forced on me through my CSA, then I'll definitely be trying this :)

    Way to go on the continued purging, gotta love it when that involves getting rid of 'fat clothes'!

  7. yay for you! shopping! thats all such good news you must feel great!

  8. Heather,

    Thanks! I was very happy about losing inches. I will take that over pounds any day, if I have to pick one that is. :-)

    talk to you later,

  9. Sarah,

    I hope you had a great time in Vegas, but somehow I know you did. ;-)

    I was thrilled to be getting rid of fat clothes that fit just a few months ago. Can you say happy dance? LOL

    talk to you later,

  10. Michelle,

    I was quite happy about it. Dan was teasing me about the happy dance. And yes I literally dance when I am happy. I can be such a goober. LOL!

    I picked up some really cute summer things at Marshalls for a steal.



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