Being Southern foodies, Jess and I tend to eat more meat than we probably should. In a state that loves barbecue, hamburgers, bacon, and catfish, it can be easy for vegetables to get pushed to the side. That’s a real shame, because we love vegetables of all sorts, and while we always try to have something colorful on our plate at every meal, we know that we could do better. To that end, we’ve decided to start doing Meatless Mondays, and I wanted to share with you some of the things we’re making without meat that are still very filling and satisfying. Our ancestors, for the most part, couldn’t afford to eat nearly the amount of meat that we do, and while you’ll never see us feeling bad for our carnivorous habits, there’s certainly nothing wrong with a meal that is completely vegetarian. Cutting meat consumption can not only help us get healthier, but it can help alleviate some of the environmental damage that large livestock farms can cause. Plus I’m curious to see if the changes listed on the official website are really possible by just eliminating meat one day a week.
For our first meatless Monday, I wanted something fresh and green, but with some added richness. Green beans seemed like a good idea, and adding some cherry tomatoes and a light buttery garlic and basil sauce serves to give a savory kick to the dish. This is a wonderful side dish, but can also make for a tasty main course for a light lunch.
Green Beans with Tomatoes
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil (do not salt). Boil the beans until they become just tender, about 10 minutes. In a skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When the butter foam has subsided, add the garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to brown the garlic. Add the tomatoes, basil, salt, sugar, and pepper to the butter and garlic; cook until the tomatoes soften (approximately 5 minutes). Drain the beans, and toss gently with the tomato mixture. Adjust salt to taste, and if you want to be a little extra decadent with this dish, finish with a pat or two more of fresh butter. Enjoy!