Caramelized Coconut Green Beans are ready in just under 15 minutes and entirely vegan! Which makes for the perfect weeknight side dish! It’s low carb, paleo, and Whole30.
Since the most exciting thing happening here these days is a visit to my local fruit and vegetable market, I’ve been cooking with a lot of veggies these last weeks! Sometimes I go there and find bargain bags with fruits or veggies for just a $1. They are just perfect when you use them the first or even second day.
I had quite a lot of green beans to use up and I was dreaming of making a recipe I saw in that Food and Wine magazine from a couple summers ago. The only thing I was missing was coconut chips (unsweetened). The first recipe I finally got to make from Chef Biju was his Vegan Biryani Salad (it is soooo good!!).
I like to have coconut on hand for my homemade granola. So when I finally got a chance to pick up the coconut, I still had these beans to use up and was very happy! From what I was researching, this is a very popular side dish from the southwest part of India.
The magic happens when you cook up the coconut and the onion…can we say caramelized coconut! Oh, my! It is tempting enough to eat just that part of the recipe! Crunchy and slightly sweet natural coconut adds such a wonderful dimension to the same old boring green beans.
Also, my other obsession has been hot peppers! I just planted some baby cayenne pepper plants and some seeds from my Calabrian peppers. While I’m waiting for them to grow, I’ve been using up these gorgeous Thai chili peppers! The other fun thing I did was pickle the Thai chili pepper!
What to serve with caramelized coconut green beans?
If you’re going for an Indian themed meal, serve it with dal, roti or rice. It would go great with a side of your favorite protein.
Can I use coconut chips or fresh coconut?
The coconut could fresh or you could use chips like I did. The coconut chips have a more mild flavor than fresh coconut, so it’s totally up to you.
How to make caramelized coconut green beans?
The first step is to gather up all your ingredients.
The first step is to cook up the green beans. The key is to make sure when you boil them that they stay bright green.
The next step is to caramelize the coconut and the onions. While they are cooking up, you add the spice.
When I researched the recipe I checked my pantry to see what I had on hand. I didn’t have mustard seeds, but I happened to have ground mustard my mom brought me over. I did have black peppercorns, but opted for ground black pepper. I did not have coriander seeds on hand, but if you do, it’s part of the recipe and you use it to garnish the green beans at the end.
Now for the chili peppers: I did not cook it with the beans so my kids would try this (they don’t like spicy!). So I cooked up the chili peppers on the side in a small skillet with coconut oil for a minute. Only mom and I got the peppers with the beans!
Just a slight warning: your whole house will become like the inside of a Thai chili pepper. The fumes that comes out from heating up the pepper is very intense! But I really enjoyed this spicy flavor addition, so if you like it hot, do make the beans with the pepper according to the recipe.
Once the coconut/onion mixture is ready, you add in the beans and fold to combine it all together. Cook it up for a few more minutes, until all the flavors are combined and the beans are tender, yet not mushy.
Gluten-free, vegan, easy to make…this is a flavorful and different way to enjoy green beans! I think it could even be an option for the green beans during the holidays (I am not a huge fan of the cream sauce, so this will be what I make this Thanksgiving!).
PIN for later!
Some other vegan side dishes:
Caramelized Coconut Green Beans
- Boil the green beans in a large pot of salted water. Cook until they are still crispy and bright green (about 3-4 minutes).
- Drain the beans and pat dry with a paper towel; set aside.
- In a large skillet on medium-high heat, add the coconut oil (or whatever mild oil you have ). Add the onion. Cook until the onion begins to lightly brown (3-4 minutes). Lower the heat to medium-low.
- Add in the coconut and keep an eye on it as it will brown very quickly (1-2 minutes). Add in the garlic, ground mustard and pepper (keep an eye on the coconut at this point and really lower heat if it's getting too brown). If you are using the Thai chiles, now is the time to add them in.
- Keep stirring so the coconut doesn’t brown and add in the green beans. You want the coconut and onions to be golden around the edges, not browned or burned.
- Fold in the beans and combine with onions/coconut (about 3 minutes). Cook a few more minutes until the beans get heated up and combined well with the flavor of the coconut/onions.
- Transfer to a serving plate and serve with flaky sea salt and coriander seeds (optional if you have, I did not have and did not serve with it).