Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Recipe for Steamed Green Beans and Carrots with Charmoula Sauce

Adding Charmoula Sauce turns plain steamed green beans and carrots into a gourmet treat!

I don't think there are any awards for Thanksgiving side dishes, but if there were I'd nominate this dish of Steamed Green Beans and Carrots as the Most Interesting New Side Dish.  And when I say interesting, what I mean is we couldn't stop eating it, all the while remarking how plain steamed green beans and carrots had been transferred into something amazing by the sauce.   Charmoula is sometimes referred to as cilantro pesto, and it's a North African sauce made of chopped herbs and spices.  It's often used as a sauce on fish, which is probably the next way I'll trying using it.  Charmoula is also fairly similar to Chimichurri Sauce, which is a South American sauce served on meat.   If you're not a cilantro fan, I think you could adapt this recipe to use more parsley and less cilantro and get a good result, but I'm not sure how it would work with no cilantro at all.

I would love to make this for Thanksgiving, but I'm going to my sister Sandee's house where there are a few confirmed cilantro haters, so I may have to just enjoy it at home!  It's a little hard to believe, but I've been experimenting with Low-Glycemic Thanksgiving Recipes for the last six Thanksgivings, and this recipe will be added to that page in the recipe index.  There are also some good recipes ideas there for using leftover turkey, if you're cooking a big bird this year.

This recipe will look prettiest if you use the thin French-style green beans, although I'm sure regular beans will also taste great.  Start by trimming the ends of the green beans and then cutting the carrots into thin strips that are the same thickness as the beans.  (I cut the carrots slightly shorter than the beans.)

I used this wonderful vegetable steamer that I inherited from my stepmother Norma, but if you don't have a steamer you can rig one up with a small metal colander inside a pan.  The pan you use for steaming needs to have a lid.  Start steaming the carrots first, because they take longer to cook.

While the carrots cook, start assembling the parsley, cilantro, garlic, and spices for the sauce.

Once carrots have steamed for about 3 minutes, add the beans and steam for 4-5 minutes more.  The vegetables should still be slightly tender-crisp; check one after four minutes to see how they're doing.

To make the sauce, use a food processor to chop the garlic, parsley, and cilantro, then add the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, ground cumin, and salt, and pulse until it's well combined and chopped.

Drain the cooked veggies for a couple of minutes, then toss then with about half the Charmoula sauce.

Arrange the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle over the rest of the Charmoula sauce.  Serve hot or warm.


Steamed Green Beans and Carrots with Charmoula Sauce
(Makes 4-6 servings, recipe from Fine Cooking with minor adaptations by Kalyn)

Ingredients:
1 lb. French-style green beans, ends trimmed
1/2 lb. carrots, trimmed into sticks the same thickness as beans (I cut the carrots slightly shorter than the beans)
1 large clove garlic, slightly chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T lemon juice (I use my fresh-frozen lemon juice)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. hot or smoked paprika
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Add a few inches of water to a steamer (or large pot with a steamer insert) and bring to a boil.  While water is heating, trim the ends of the green beans, and cut carrots into sticks about the same thickness as the beans.  When water starts to boil and steam, add the carrots and steam for 3 minutes.  Then add green beans and steam for 4-5 minutes more, or until all the vegetables are tender-crisp.

While the vegetables are steaming, chop the garlic a few times and wash, dry, and coarsely chop the cilantro and parsley.  Add garlic, cilantro, and parsley to food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the herbs and garlic are starting to look finely chopped.  Then add the olive oil, lemon juice, paprika, and ground cumin and pulse until all ingredients are combined.  (I'd start with the smaller amount of paprika and cumin and taste to see if you want more.)  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

When the vegetables are done, drain for a few minutes and then place them in a bowl and toss with about half the sauce.  Arrange vegetables on a serving platter and spoon over the rest of the sauce.  Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper as desired, and serve hot or warm.

Make-Ahead Tips for Thanksgiving:  The sauce can be made one day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.  Let it come to room temperature before using in the recipe.



South Beach Suggestions: 
The use of carrots in this recipe would make it limited to phase 2 or 3 for the South Beach Diet.

More Thanksgiving-Worthy Ideas with Green Beans and Carrots:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Maple-Glazed Roasted Carrots from Kalyn's Kitchen
Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds from Kalyn's Kitchen
Balsamic Green Beans and Onions from What We're Eating 
Roasted Carrots with Sesame Ponzu Vinaigrette from Steamy Kitchen 
Pan-Braised Carrots with Orange and Rosemary from Leite's Culinaria 
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit

33 comments:

  1. That looks so gorgeous and delish! I'll see if we can pull the food processor down to make it for T-Giving. Thanks for the yummy recipe and beautiful photos!

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  2. Kat, you are very welcome; so glad you like it.

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  3. This looks awesome!! I LOVE cilantro pastes and sauces ... so darn good! I've always wanted to make some at home so I'm so glad you posted this!

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  4. Thanks Rupert and Debbie. The cilantro sauce would be good on just about anything you can think of. (Of course I might be a tiny bit biased since I love cilantro.)

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  5. Yum!! I can think of at least 20 things I want to put that sauce on. And I love cilantro too - it is one of my favorite herbs!

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  6. The charmoula sauce looks very good, I can't wait to make it in my own kitchen! I've not used cilantro beyond the raitas and chutneys of Indian cuisine, this is going to be a step into unchartered territory. Is it extra-virgin olive oil that we need to put in it? For you long would the sauce stay usable if I store it in the fridge?
    - S

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  7. I think that without any cilantro it would be chimichurri instead of charmoula. Thankfully I'm a big cilantro lover, so I'd be happy just to drink the sauce! But I bet it'd taste even better on the veggies. :P

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  8. I've never heard of Charmoula Sauce, Kalyn, but this dish looks really terrific. Will have to make this for a girlfriends' gathering. Too many cilantro haters in my family, too. ;-)

    Thanks!
    Shirley

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  9. Alyssa, I can't think of anything it wouldn't be good on, lol! (Okay, maybe not fruit.)

    Steaming Pot, I would use extra virgin olive oil in this. I don't think the sauce would stay good much more than a day in the fridge because cilantro seems pretty perishable once it's cut. Hope you like this new way to use cilantro, my favorite herb!

    Joanne, I've made chimichurri with and without cilantro, but I think you're right that the traditional chimichurri just has parsley. We can drink it down together.

    Shirley, my condolences on the cilantro haters. Even though I realize it's supposed to be a genetic thing (it really does taste bad to them) I just don't get it.

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  10. I'm definitely going to try this - it looks so good. My question is: what kind of food processor did you use?

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  11. Grace, I have a Cuisinart that I've had for many years, but I think most any good food processor will work for this.

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  12. I am definitely not a cilantro hater - so I know I'd love this sauce! I love the colors here- what a gorgeous dish.

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  13. Deborah, you must try it! This was just so amazingly good.

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  14. Kalyn I love everything about this...except the cilantro.

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  15. Barbara, we will let you make it without cilantro, but it sounds like we might have to call it Steamed Green Beans and Carrots with Chimichurri Sauce!

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  16. If there were awards given for best Thanksgiving sides, yours would win several: Most Colorful, Most Flavorful and Most Healthified.

    The folks at your Thanksgiving table are so lucky!

    Donna

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  17. Oh Donna, you are so sweet. The ironic thing is that my family will want me to bring Broccoli with Cheese Sauce (made with canned soup.)

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  18. This looks beautiful and delicious. Kudos to you for chopping the carrots so they are close in size to the beans. Hard to do, but it will look and taste better that day. I've enjoyed your blog for years.
    -Lisa

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  19. Thanks Lisa! And so glad to hear you've been enjoying the blog.

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  20. Thanks Maria! I swear I could eat a big plate of this for lunch and be perfectly satisfied!

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  21. I recently "discovered" smoked paprika and I think it's wonderful. It definitely adds a unique flavor. This dish looks great; anything with cilantro and I'm in!

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  22. Zesty, I think the smoked paprika is so superior to the regular type. And you know I'm 100% with you on the love for cilantro.

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  23. Count me in as a cilantro lover. This sauce does sound a lot like chimichurri. Lovely dish!

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  24. Thanks Andrea! This was really so good.

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  25. Glad I checked out your blog this evening! Looking for new ideas for Thanksgiving & this is a winner! We love cilantro. This will be a pleasant change from green beans sauteed with EVOO & spices. Thank you for sharing!

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  26. Wow that looks like a really healthy and tasty veggie dish, will try it out with local grown Irish produce.

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  27. Sean, hope you enjoy it, and fun to hear from someone in Ireland!

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  28. I made this on the weekend - it was so very good. I really enjoy your recipes.

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  29. Grace, thank you, and so glad you enjoyed it!

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  30. Kalyn, I love chermoula/charmoula. I think you might like my adaptationzxs of a kale salad a local restaurant makes with it.

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