June 15, 2015

Easy Balsamic Green Bean Bake


I buy a big bag full of bulk, fresh, green beans every time I go to the store.  I put them in as many side dishes as I can and I especially like to use them in soups and stews.  I mean, what's not to love? They're tasty, healthy, pretty, inexpensive and most importantly, my kids eat them!  

In fact, green beans were the only fresh vegetable my son would eat for the longest time. He preferred that every other vegetable come out of a can. However, at the tender age of five he branched out and began to try other fresh, garden goodies. But, to this day, if you ask him directly what vegetable he wants with dinner, I would place a firm bet on his answer.  Yep, you guessed it: green beans! 

My daughter, on the other hand, was not an instant fan of them like her big brother.  But, thanks to an old, family recipe for country-style green beans made with lots of smoky bacon, she warmed up to them.  Now, believe me, I was proud to break down a strong wall of vegetable resistance with big flavors, but now that's the only way she'll eat them.  That old, Southern green bean recipe still holds a special place in the hearts of my little family, but the truth is we're just a little burned out.  

So, with this week's pound of green beans I decided to change things up a bit. Okay, so I changed them up a lot! Instead of boiling them, roasted them with some sweet peppers and onions in an easy honey-balsamic sauce and topped them with bacon, crunchy almonds and cheese.  

The result was one super fresh and delicious green bean casserole. In fact, this turned out so great that the husband and I decided it's going to replace the soupy, creamy green bean casserole this year at our holiday meals. 

I normally prefer to make my own salad dressings, and I have a great recipe for homemade balsamic vinaigrette in another post. I always use a little honey in my balsamic dressing because I just really prefer sweet vinaigrettes. Yesterday we had a super busy day here at home, so as a little time-saver I used a bottled, low-calorie balsamic vinaigrette I had the fridge for the sauce in this recipe.  The dressing was a little tart for my taste so I added some honey to give it a hint of sweetness and to help it coat the roasted veggies better.

Easy Balsamic Green Bean Bake
  • 1 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2-3 cups water
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 cup regular or light balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 pieces of crisy, cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds (or I think pine nuts would be yummy too!)
  • 1/4 cup parmasan cheese, grated
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Pre-heat oven to 400°.  Bring salted water to a rolling boil and add your trimmed green beans.  Blanch for about 10 minutes and then drain.  



2. Place all the prepared vegetables into a 13x9 inch baking dish. 

3. In a small mixing bowl combine the balsamic dressing and honey.  Pour over vegetables in the baking dish and coat well with tongs.  


4. Place veggies into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Give them a stir after the first 10 minutes in the oven.

5. Remove roasted veggies from the oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper (if desired) and top with bacon, almonds and both cheeses.  



6. Once the cheese has melted, serve warm.



7. Enjoy!

Please drop me a line if you try it!  

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