This Plan-B Pesto Beans uses my latest favourite pantry ingredient which is easily frozen baby beans.
It’s funny I still feel myself having my old childhood resistance to frozen beans even though I know they are delicious. Each time I notice the hesitation and cook the beans and totally ENJOY them, it feels extra good that I’m rewiring my old programing.
Not all frozen beans are created equal though. I tried all the different brands I could find and the baby beans were head and shoulders above the rest. So if you’re not completely in love with the first beans you buy, try another brand.
I’ve also rediscovered commercial pesto as an incredibly tasty pantry ingredient. Normally I make my own pesto in big batches when basil is in season and freeze it. But last years stash is long gone. Luckily I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much I’ve enjoyed trying different commercial brands.
And even better that when I made this and served it tossed over spaghetti for my boys they loved the pesto as well! Even though it’s green! Of course they didn’t like the beans but one step at a time.
I’ve used ground (minced) beef here because it’s my favourite protein but you can easily substitute whatever meat or legumes you like (see variations for ideas).
Plan-B Pesto Beans
- 500 g frozen beans
- 500 g ground minced beef
- 180 g pesto small jar
- 50 g parmesan cheese grated
Place a large pot on a high heat with a small splash of oil. Add frozen beans and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 2 minutes. If they start to burn reduce the heat.
Stir the beans well then cook covered for another minute or until the beans are no longer frozen. Transfer the beans to a clean bowl.
Return pot to the heat and cook meat, stirring until the meat is no longer pink.
Return the beans to the pan and stir in the pesto. Remove from the heat. Taste and season with a little salt if needed.
Serve beans with parmesan on top.
NET CARBS 15g/serve
Variations & Substitutions for Plan-B Pesto Beans
vegetarian – crumbled tofu, tempeh or any cooked legumes like lentils, chickpeas or beans. Or use boiled eggs or cook 6 eggs directly with the beans – just scramble in the pot with the hot beans then stir in pesto.
different protein – any diced or ground (minced) meat or poultry will work or see the vegetarian options above. You could also use canned fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, kippers or sardines or even smoked fish or chicken or ham.
dairy-free – use this
more substantial (carb lovers) – toss in cooked spaghetti or short pasta.
more substantial (low carb) – roast nuts, avocado, extra cheese, fried or poached eggs.
different vegetables – also fantastic with frozen broccoli or cauliflower (defrost first before adding to the pot) or frozen peas (cook as per the bean recipe). Or if you prefer fresh vegetables you can use any cooked veg. Shaved fresh cabbage cooked in a similar manner to the beans with an added splash of water is divine.
more fancy / for entertaining – I’d serve with a green salad, kale caesar salad or this reliable cabbage salad. And a handful of basil leaves or fresh parsley scattered over will make it look prettier. And I’d probably add some toasted whole pine nuts with the cheese for the extra extravagance.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
ground (minced) beef – freeze it.
frozen beans – leave them in the freezer for months.
pesto – commercial jars of pesto will keep for months in the pantry. Fresh pesto will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. Cover with olive oil to prevent exposure to air and browning reactions. Can be frozen.
parmesan – wrap in baking paper and store in the fridge in a sealed paper bag or airtight container. Will keep for months. Can be frozen if you’re going away.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt, more cheese or a squeeze of lemon.
too tart – some commercial pestos are quite acidic, balance that out with a drizzle of olive oil.
too dry – next time get it out earlier. For now a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil will help.
burnt beans – I like a little char but you don’t want them completely black. Adding a splash of water to the pan will help and reducing the heat. The only solution for now is to discard any really burnt ones.
sticking to the pan – next time make sure the pan is hot before adding the oil and meat. For now, removing from the heat and stirring in the pesto should loosen everything.
Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the parmesan separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks or can be frozen. To serve, warm in a pan with a little more oil and top with your cheese.
More Recipes like Plan-B Pesto Beans
- ‘Plan-B’ Green Bean Nicoise Bowls
- Plan-B Spinach & Eggs
- Episode 15. ‘Plan B’ Meals
- Chilli Con ‘Tuna’(tuna & beans)
- Minute Chicken with Green Olive Chimmichurri