Monday, June 18, 2012

Green Beans with Chili, Mushrooms, and Pecans

The past couple of weeks have been pretty crazy, filled with a visit from a close friend from the states, long work days, and eventful nights in and around Tel Aviv.  I'm wiped out to say the least.  I can still feel vibrations pulsing through my body and buzzing ringing in my ears, remnants from a weekend full of loud music and lots of dancey Israelis.  However, I watch my email inbox build before my eyes and am reminded that a new week has started.  Back to the grind.

On another note, the humid Tel Avivian heat has officially hit (forgot quite how moist it gets here) and it has become hard to breath or do anything outside for that matter. Awesome.  I will say though, the hotter it gets, the more I crave fresh, crispy fruits and veggies.  With deliciously rich dairy products and opportunities to buy fresh baked breads and pitas on every corner,  it is beyond easy to indulge in a satisfying diet exclusively consisting of bread and cheese here in Israel.  Fortunately, the country is even more famous for its produce.  Notorious for its large exports of oranges and dates globally, Israel really does grow some of the most delicious fruits and veggies in existence.

Lucky for me, I live near a number of produce stores and the largest shuk (outdoor market) in Tel Aviv where I can find fresh, affordable products.  So, to start the summer off right, I have vowed to start cooking more so I can utilize the season's natural treasures!

Last night, to my dismay I opened my fridge only to find a bag of string beans and a few mushrooms left over from last week's shopping trip.  So instead of heading to a restaurant, I did what I love to do...I scraped together a healthy meal with some creativity and cabinet staples.  I pulled out some frozen lentils from my freezer, almond butter and soy sauce from the fridge, roasted pecans and chili flakes from the cabinet, and of course the string beans and mushrooms.

It was a little unconventional, but really tasty and very filling!
(Serves 1)
2-3 cup green beans, cooked
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup lentils, cooked
1-2 T natural almond butter (natural peanut butter will work fine here as well)
1/4 cup + 2 T water
1 TB low sodium soy sauce
handful pecans, chopped
crushed chili flakes (amount to your liking)
1/2 T olive oil

In a pan, heat olive oil.  Add mushrooms and cook until softened.  Spice with crushed chili flakes to your liking.  Add green beans and 1/4 cup water.  Let cook until green beans are al dente.  Add cooked lentils, stir, and remove from heat and pour into a shallow bowl.

In a mixing bowl, combine almond butter, 2 T water, soy cauce, and chili flakes to your liking,  Stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour almond sauce over green bean mixture and sprinkle pecans on top.  Enjoy! : )