Not all green beans taste like rubber

6447161Sometimes green beans make me gag. Seriously. They were a staple of my Nana’s Thanksgiving menu growing up. My Nana was spunky, stylish and a fabulous cook. So, as a kid, I had no idea why she continued to serve these bland, rubbery green sticks. Given that she lived a long, mostly healthy life, I realize now that she knew a thing or two about nutrition and longevity. I understand why she continuously served those nutrient and protein-packed green beans at family meals (just 1 cup provides 12g protein, 16g fiber, loads of Vitamin C, K & A, and an abundance of phytonutrients like quercetin and beta-carotene). It’s funny because, despite how lackluster those beans were compared to the rest of the meal, most adults cautiously ate a few mouthfuls to counteract any unhealthy food choices.

Thanks to my husband’s Babaanne (Turkish paternal grandmother), green beans have found their way back into our kitchen. Babaanne’s amazing green bean recipe—what we’ve deemed “Green Beans Istanbul”—is a now a family favorite. I’d like to think about how my childhood experience with green beans could have changed if my Nana had met Babaanne. Together these healthy home grandmamas would have cooked circles around Paula Dean and her heart attack inducing feasts. This recipe will have your family begging for green beans. Last week, I introduced them to my 11-month-old son, Evren, and he was absolutely smitten.

1374763710Green Beans Istanbul 
Note: This recipe is a “set it and forget it” meal for the crockpot. 

  • 2 C organic green beans
    Busy Mama Tip: Use bagged organic snipped green bean
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ lemon, juice of
  • 1 TBS organic tomato paste
  • 1 C water
  • 2-3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Dice onion
  2. Whisk lemon juice, tomato paste, water and a pinch of sea salt
  3. In crockpot, toss green beans, onions and 2-3 swirls of olive oil (try to get all green beans lightly coated with some oil)
  4. Pour tomato and lemon juice mixture over the top
  5. Set on high for 3 hours or low for 5-6 hours
  6. Mix well and season with more sea salt and fresh ground pepper as needed (if you are serving an infant or toddler, it’s best to leave the salt off their servings and grind the pepper small)

Green Beans Istanbul can be served hot or cold and tastes even better the next day! I often double or triple it so we have green beans to nibble on for a couple of days.

Do your picky eaters love green beans or hate ‘em? Is this easy recipe “busy mama approved”? Let us know in the comments!  Enjoy!

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