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Italian Green Beans Marinara

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 to 8 as a side dish

This is one of my favorite vegetable recipes that is delicious as an easy side dish or a vegetarian main dish. Try to find Italian flat beans or pole beans, but regular snap beans work equally well. Whether or not to blanch the beans is a matter of choice. See the notes below for more information. If you want a more substantial main dish, Italian sausage can be added. Slice and brown the meat before adding the garlic, then continue with the recipe as written.

Green Beans Marinara Recipe Photo

Snap the beans into 2-inch pieces. Blanch in lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes to soften slightly. Drain well. (See notes below to bypass this step.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until softened. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered, until tomatoes start to break down. Add the green beans and cook, covered, until tender. Taste the beans for seasoning and, if desired, add more salt, pepper or oregano.

Notes: I often skip blanching the beans, especially when they are young and very fresh, and just cook them with the tomatoes for a longer time, adding a little water as needed. In true Italian style, the beans should be cooked until very tender but, if preferred, you can cook them less so they remain slightly crispy.