Keene State College Dietetic Intern
Green beans are a very abundant crop that can be planted any time after the last
spring frost as either pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans will grow as a climbing vine that may
reach up to 15 feet tall, so they require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet
and do not require as much support (Stillman, 2016). There are several differences to the way
these beans are planted and grown. Pole beans will yield more beans and are very disease
resistant. As they grow to be very tall, it is recommended that they are planted about 3 inches
apart from each other. Bush beans on the other hand require less maintenance and are easier to
grow. They can spread up to 2 feet wide, requiring adequate room for growth. They should be
planted about 2 inches apart from each other.
There are pros and cons to each form of growing beans, but when it comes down to it, the
way in which you plant them is based upon your specific garden. It is up to you to determine
how you think they will thrive the most. Green beans grow constantly so they require frequent
harvesting and watering to ensure optimal growth and taste. Green beans are intended to be
picked at an immature state, meaning that the pod won’t be fully grown at time of harvest. You’ll
know that the pods are ready to be harvested when they look firm, are a decent size and snap or
cut off of the plant. Do not tear the plant when harvesting or you will damage the pod. Once
harvested, store beans in a moisture-proof, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
or blanch and freeze immediately after harvesting.
These tiny green beans pack a nutritional punch! They are a good source of plant-based
protein, fiber, non-heme iron and zinc. One serving of green beans provides about 3g of plant-
based protein that is essential for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Protein is needed for muscle rebuilding and repair, especially after exercise.
Fiber helps regulate digestion, aids in blood cholesterol control and reduces the risk of
heart disease through blood cholesterol control (Academy, 2013). Green beans provide 4g
fiber per 1 cup serving. Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water when consuming
fiber to ensure ease of digestion as well!
. Iron can be found in two forms; heme and non-heme iron. Heme iron is found in animal
products such as beef, pork, salmon and chicken, where as non-heme iron is found in
plant-based products such as beans, dark green vegetables, enriched rice and whole grains
(Academy, 2014). Green beans provide non-heme iron. Although there are two forms of
iron, they both carry out the same function in the body. The main role of iron is to
transport oxygen to our blood cells to ensure normal functioning.
Zinc is essential for immune function, synthesis of dietary protein, wound healing and to
support normal growth and development (USDA, 2016). Green beans contain this
As you can see, these tiny bean pods provide pretty significant nutritional benefits. How
can you incorporate these into my diet? Well, have no fear, recipes are here! Give these
green-bean based recipes a try as part of your next meal to reap the nutritional benefits of
Red potato salad with green beans and tomatoes
Adapted from: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/planning-and-prep/recipes/red-potato-salad-with-green-beans-
Makes 8 servings
2 pounds small red potatoes
½ pound fresh green beans, trimmed
and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in
½ cup chopped green onions
½ cup chopped thinly sliced basil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; add water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until almost tender. Add green beans and cook 5
minutes longer or until beans are crisp-tender. Drain. Rinse with cold water; drain well.
2. Cut potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Combine potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, green onions
and basil in a large bowl.
3. Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, oil, mustard, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl.
Pour dressing over potato mixture, and toss gently. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.
Paprika Shrimp and Green Bean Sauté
Makes 6 servings
4 cups green beans, trimmed (about 12 ounces)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 pound raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 16-ounce cans large butter beans, or cannellini beans, rinsed
¼ cup sherry vinegar, or red-wine vinegar
½ cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Put green beans in a steamer basket,
place in the pan, cover and steam until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and paprika and
cook, stirring constantly, until just fragrant but not browned, about 20 seconds. Add
shrimp and cook until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Stir in beans, vinegar
and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup
3. Divide the green beans among 6 plates. Top with the shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with
pepper and the remaining ¼ cup parsley.
Baked Green Bean Fries
Makes 4 servings
12 oz. green beans
1 large egg
2/3 cup grated parmesan
1/2 tsp ground salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder(optional)
1/4 tsp paprika (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Combine the grated Parmesan cheese with the seasonings on a shallow plate and
mix to evenly disperse everything.
3. Whisk an egg in a bowl large enough to drench the green beans in. Drench a
handful of green beans in the beaten egg and let the excess drop off for a few
4. Gently press the green beans in the Parmesan cheese mixture and sprinkle some
cheese over. Toss gently with your hands.
5. Place the green beans on your largest, greased baking sheet making sure they have
room on all sides to crisp up in the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking to
see that the cheese has become slightly golden.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Ed.). (2014, January 31). What is iron?
Retrieved May 15, 2017, from EatRight website:
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2013, January 30). What is fiber? Retrieved
May 15, 2017, from EatRight website: http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/
Stillman, J., Hale, J. D., Burnett, J., Stonehill, H., Perreault, S., &
Boeckmann, C. (Eds.). (n.d.). Broccoli: Planting, growing and harvesting.
Retrieved May 15, 2017, from The Old Farmers Almanac website:
US Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, & Office of Dietary
Supplements (Eds.). (2016, February 11). Zinc fact sheet for health
professionals. Retrieved May 15, 2017, from National Institutes of Health:
Office of Dietary Supplements website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/