Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans

This side is:

a) 100% vegetables
b) 100% hearty
c) oddly Christmasy-looking
d) all of the above

If you guessed “d,” then you hate these kinds of questions because you always know whoever’s posing it is trying to get you to say that. And I don’t blame you. But you’ve got to try these green beans to believe how true it is.

I became a little disillusioned with oil-packed sundried tomatoes a while back. They taste great, but are hard to find. You use up that toadstool-sized bottle in one sitting. They come cured in a set of flavors that the packager decided, not you. Hence, I’ve turned my eye to the dried dried variety, the kind that usually comes in clear plastic bags and costs substantially less. Steeped in hot water for five minutes, they create a rich, sweet broth as they plump up that would be much too shameful to discard. For the past week, I’ve been tossing this reddish ochre-tinted solution into pasta sauces, soups and — case in point — these simple green beans.

frying with flying colors

I almost wonder if, in a pinch, soaking sundried tomatoes and maybe a few dried porcini mushrooms would produce a vegetable broth even more savory than the slow-simmered real deal. Why not? It seems to make perfect logic in terms of time use: it took a good deal of time for the sun to dry out these vegetables into their more concentrated forms. Like veggie bouillions, if you will. Plus, when you add the softened, soaked tomatoes to dishes at the last minute, it almost achieves that perfect denseness and concentrated flavor of a fresh tomato cooked down for 20 minutes or so — something which I’m often too impatient to let happen properly.

If I’m talking all of the sudden in drastically different gears than the fresh produce-hailing hippie of summer’s excesses, it’s not exactly the way I had intended it. Fresh tomatoes are very much alive and kicking. But it’s getting cold up in this ‘hood, fast. Soon we’ll all be talking about soups and Thanksgiving turkeys. But for now a slight compromise of seasons. I served this side alongside a simple crusty baguette-grilled cheese for dinner one night. The bread was perfect for mopping up those thick remnants of burgundy sundried tomato goo.

a toasty early-Autumn meal

Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans
(makes 4 side servings)

1 dry quart or about 1/2 lb string beans, stems removed
about 5 sundried tomato halves
1 cup boiling water
1-2 tablespoons olive oil.
2 garlic cloves or one large one, minced
Pinch of dried thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the tomato halves in a bowl or pot and submerge with the boiling water. Cover, and let sit for 5-7 minutes as you prepare everything else. Once time is up, remove the tomatoes and coarsley chop them, reserving the water. Set tomatoes aside.

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on high with the garlic until the oil begins to sizzle. Add the green beans and stir to coat with the oil. Add a pinch each of salt, pepper and thyme and let sizzle another minute, stirring. Add the soaking water from the tomatoes, stir, and cover. Open lid after 2-3 minutes to stir and cover for another 2 minutes. Remove lid and continue stirring. Add the chopped sundried tomatoes and stir until most of the liquid is cooked off. Serve immediately.

Cost Calculator
(for 4 servings)

1 dry quart string beans: $2.69
5 sundried tomatoes (at $2/3-ounce bag): $0.35
2 Tb olive oil: $0.25
1 clove garlic, salt, pepper, pinch of thyme: $0.25

Total: $3.54

Health Factor

Two brownie points: Well, I’m not sure where NutritionData’s getting their sundried tomatoes from, but the sodium count on my dry organic sundried tomatoes from Trader Joe’s spoke of only 25mg of sodium per serving, which is, um, less. So this ingredient confuses me a little. Perhaps it varies greatly in additives and production methods that each one is, essentially, a slightly more altered species of tomato than I had originally bargained for. Or perhaps mine are just delicious nuggets of vitamins, antioxidants and lycopene, without much negative repercussion. Either way, I can safely say that a little of these go a long way in terms of flavor, so it would be difficult to overdose on them. And, that a green bean is a low-calorie blessing in many ways.

11 Responses

  1. a.b.b

    A variation is the standard Greek/Turkish dish of long-cooked green beans with tomatoes and garlic. Cook slowly for at least an hour, keeping an eye on the liquid level, until the beans are soft and luscious. This is great at room temp, too.

  2. Kitt

    I did the Greek version a couple of weeks ago, based on a recipe from Cooking 4 the Week. I’ll have to try it your way, too!

  3. masticator

    I made a really spicy green bean tagine a few weeks ago I think you would like. I think I posted it, but I’ll figure out the recipe.

  4. Lisa

    This was excellent. Made it as a side for, of all things, reheated pepperoni pizza, and it was perfect.

  5. ohiomom

    I have been trying to find the “dried, dried tomatoes”, thanks for letting me know TJ’s carries them.

  6. Alanna

    You might try the software product called Accuchef which relies on the ND database but allows you to add your own ingredients, too — or adjust your choices. The ‘default’ for ND is oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes which you seem NOT to be using. So glad you pay attention to this — not many of us do! It adds another step and layer of complexity but I think, makes me a better cook to say nothing of a better blogger!

  7. courtney

    I recently started making America’s test kitchen quick marinara. I usually add in some balsamic, just to help along the depth of flavor. I wonder if the dried tomatoes would be better at that? You now have me thinking.

  8. pick-a-book


    […]Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans » Not Eating Out in New York[…]…

  9. plombier robinson

    plombier robinson…

    […]Sundried Tomato-Braised Green Beans » Not Eating Out in New York[…]…


    I recently made my own sundried tomatoes with our garden tomatoes– first I coated them and let marinade for 1 hour in freshly minced garlic, my Gourmet Collection Italian AND garlic and onion spice blends, and some balsamic vinaigrette, and roasted for 35 minutes in my oven…I will never purchase them again..they were truly fabulous, and sweet like candy almost. 😁😋


    OOPS … SORRY !!! roasted them in 225 degree oven..only because some recomendations said 200 and some said 250…☺️

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