Spiced Coconut Green Beans

Green beans have been a tricky veggie for me. I like them when they are full of flavor and crisp-tender. I’ve added a couple of ingredients to an Indian side dish that takes the flavors to a new level. Earthy spices like cumin and mustard seed blend with spicy-sweet ginger and coconut. I’ve finally found a dish that’s motivated me to wash, trim, and cook the green beans I’m so drawn to at the farmers market.


  • 1 lb green beans, washed, trimmed, and cut into approx. 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seed (if you don’t have, or can’t find, mustard seed use a big pinch of mustard powder)
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbsp shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 whole, dry, red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, cut in half then in thin slices
  • salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 cup coconut water (Use vegetable stock if you don’t have it. See “Coconut Brown Rice” for suggestions on finding coconut water.)


  1. Heat frying pan on medium heat. Add dry spices, coconut, and red pepper to pan. Dry toast the mixture until it’s fragrant. Remove from pan and throw out the dry pepper.
  2. Add olive oil to pan, then add the onion and ginger. Sprinkle with a generous pinch (use all fingers instead of just two) of salt and the cayenne pepper.
  3. Sauté onion until golden brown and caramelized. Add the green beans and turn up the heat to medium high. Add spice-coconut mixture to the pan and the coconut water or veggie stock. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove cover and take out the red pepper.
  4. Remove cover and simmer until coconut water evaporates and beans are crisp-tender.

My husband and kid (still working on the other one) love this recipe. Try it with purple onions and the variety of beautifully colored beans like white and purple.

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