This recipe for green beans with tomatoes and black olives is a lovely, simple way to jazz up a common vegetable served on the side of many meals. It is one of the great ironies of feeding children that both R, five and Miss R, 3, love olives. R won’t eat a strawberry, grape or apple but can’t get enough olives!
Any vegetables served up on the side of a main meal to R and MIss R get ignored – almost without exception. Vegetables are consumed in sauces, in cakes, in bread – but very, very rarely on their own. Since I started this blog we’ve come a very long way – I can serve up aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry) or butternut squash mac and cheese and they (almost) don’t bat an eyelid. Vegetables on their own though – still ignored. I was thinking about this the other day and something very obvious occurred to me – frozen peas, plain green beans, broccoli – none of these things are particularly exciting on their own, unseasoned and rapidly going cold on the side of the plate.
This dish is, I hope, the first of a series of dishes from me designed to make side dishes more exciting. This wouldn’t be a main course on its own, but alongside fish, or chicken, or as part of a set of different vegetable dishes, it’s a lovely addition. The kids had this with sweet potato wedges and fish cakes. We had it later the same evening as part of a large selection of veggie dishes.
2 handfuls of green beans, trimmed (around 150-200g)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 x 360g jar of black olives, drained and rinsed
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
a squeeze of lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the green beans, bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for around 5 minutes until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the olives, chopped tomatoes and oregano. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken. Stir in the green beans, add a squeeze of lemon juice and grind in some black pepper. Serve warm.