It’s funny, generally on Thanksgiving I’m much more focused on making recipes than giving thanks. Not that I don’t want to, of course, but most years it gets lost in the fray of white whipped potatoes with thick gravy and silken cinnamon-y pumpkin pie and the inevitable post-meal malaise. Occasionally we go around the table with a “what I’m thankful for” all-play, but it’s usually more of a novelty than a meditation for me.
Today I finished a book, The Book Thief, about the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. It was a tear-jerker for sure, and I felt a little ridiculous as tears streamed down my face while Alex sat next to me watching the Colts beat the Broncos. But it made me think of how thankful I am for every breath breathed without fear, every step taken without physical pain, every moment I’m able spend with my loved ones. Life, as I know it now, seems ridiculously easy compared to that dark time.
A few years ago, I had a period of months in extreme physical pain and have thought, “If only I can be no longer in pain, I’ll be thankful every moment of each day.” Then of course once I was healed, the thankfulness gradually faded and my mind moved onto more present stressors and worries. So this season, instead of faded thankfulness, I’m seeking to live in gratitude, each morning waking with a new gift I’m thankful for. Cheesy maybe, but if practicing a life of gratitude is cheesy, I’m all in for the cheese.
And, the recipe, which incidentally has no cheese! It’s a simple side dish but the flavors are complex; the beans become tender and slightly browned during roasting, and the contrast with the zesty lemon and crunchy hazelnuts is spot on. This is a side dish for our Healthy Thanksgiving 2015 menu, where Alex and I create a veggie-filled menu to show that the holiday can be about seasonal, nutritious eating instead of stuffing ourselves with rich foods. The entire menu is below, along with a few other Thanksgiving resources.
Why to Make It: A simple and zesty side dish that works for a variety of diets
When To Make It: Summer or Fall
Caveats: Green beans always take us longer than expected to clean and trim, so plan accordingly!
Instagram: Tag your healthy Thanksgiving creations on Instagram with #healthythanksgiving2015. (We’ll be using it for ours and would love to see yours!)
Menu: Below is our menu for this year, which we’ll post over the next few days.
Pinterest: Our Healthy Thanksgiving pinboardPrint
- 1 pound green beans
- 1 shallot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts
- ½ lemon
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Wash the green beans and trim off the ends. Thinly slice 1 shallot. In a bowl, combine the beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then place the beans and shallot on the pan and roast for about 13 to 15 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, toast ¼ cup whole hazelnuts in a small dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring constantly until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and chop.
- When beans are finished roasting, add squeezes of the juice of 1/2 lemon and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is an acclaimed vegetarian cookbook author and cook based in Indianapolis. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious.