Black Bean & Toasted Walnut Green Beans

It has been one of those weeks.  A week when everything I touch seems to either break or implode, every living creature near me needs assistance of some sort, and a week with no time at all in which to cook.  Cooking is how I relax; I find the entire process soothing and focused.  Thinking about what is on hand, imagining a technique, chopping things, stirring, not burning or cutting off any body parts….I like all of that.  This dish is not really a reflection of any of that process.  It is a reflection of having one of those weeks, and the need to make something really simple, soulful, and fast.  It’s not genius, it takes mere minutes, and I think you will like it even if you had a great week.

This is a terrific main dish if you are feeding people who are happy with a plate full of green food, or it makes a lovely side dish for dedicated carnivores.  Black Bean Sauce is a concentrated Chinese condiment made with fermented black (soy) beans and garlic, and it is quite salty and pungent, so a little goes a long way.  Add about half the amount I call for, taste, and add more if you like.

Black Bean and Toasted Walnut Green Beans
1/3 cup walnut pieces
1 tablespoon olive or walnut oil
One pound of trimmed green beans (I used frozen for this–if you use fresh, blanch in boiling water for a couple of minutes before doing the stir fry)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons Black Bean and Garlic Sauce
fresh lemon zest (optional but nice)

In a wok pan or a large, nonstick skillet, toast the walnuts over medium heat, stirring frequently, until you can see the oil begin to glisten on the surface of the nuts.  Scoop them out of the pan while you do the rest of the stir fry.

Add the oil to the pan and increase the heat to high.  Toss in the green beans, garlic, and black bean sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are hot and still bright green.  Stir in the toasted walnuts and sprinkle with fresh lemon zest.

Hope you have an excellent week!

Thanks for reading,


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  1. I love Asian style green beans. Yummy recipe!

  2. And a good way to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

  3. Yes! That occurred to me soon after I posted. I will have to do something Dragon-like tomorrow.

  4. This is a perfect Chinese New Year dish. I would love this with a big mound of brown rice. Yum!

  5. I could eat a big plate of this all by itself. Simply perfect! 🙂

  6. Angela, this looks so good I'd like some right now, for breakfast! Great photos too!

  7. Ooo, yum. I've heard of black bean sauce before. Looks like I need to try it!

  8. Katie, it is really versatile–I like Lee Kum Kee brand, which is available in larger grocery stores.

  9. Thank you Shawn!

  10. It was dinner last night–really makes a lovely entree.

  11. I have been trying to skip grains lately, but I adore anything like this with rice.

  12. Finally tried this recipe, but I was out of walnuts so I used slivered almonds and sesame seeds. Tasted great, though walnuts probably go with beans a little bit better. That black bean sauce in the bomb!

    1. I love the black bean sauce–goes so well with so many things…

  13. […] bit of a fog when I posted yesterday, and neglected to mention that my Chinese-influenced post of Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Black Bean Sauce would be perfect for Chinese New Year–Happy Year of the Dragon!  So, in celebration of that […]

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