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A healthy side for Christmas

Try Catherine Burns’s steamed green beans as a healthy side this Christmas

Decidedly non-American, but with lots of American friends, we got pulled into Friendsgiving as usual this year.

My favourite part of this shenanigan was that my most American friend, just had DNA results showing that her ancestry was in fact, 99.9 per cent British.

In comparison, despite being born and raised British, mine revealed me to be a mongrel of Europe – only 15 per cent British, 28 per cent Scandinavian and lots of everything else in between.

That includes 5.1 per cent Italian … can I get a citizenship with that please?

I love the DNA tests. They’re an amazing wake-up call to the reality of the tiny bit of time that we exist within the big picture of evolution.

It’s incredible that we can identify ourselves as one thing, but that our bloodline can reveal completely unexpected heritage – because really, we are made up of so much that came before us. It’s mind-boggling.

Of course, I appreciate that DNA tests can be mind-boggling in a negative way too. Anyone who has watched Our Father on Netflix knows this.

It’s the story of a fertility doctor who artificially inseminated women with his own um … contributions … instead of the spouse, partner or chosen donor. He now has 94 known children. Can you imagine?

Anyway…. gosh, how did I go down this rabbit hole?! Oh yes, Thanksgiving! So the amazing thing to me, is that among the piles of delicious food, there is really only one green vegetable allowed – the green bean.

And, it’s usually done as a casserole, with tons of butter and cheese. You can imagine how I feel about it. But I love green beans so I decided to see how delicious I could make them without all the dairy while still keeping them tasting fresh and delicious.

Green beans are surprisingly nutritious with a good dose of vitamins A and C, decent calcium and magnesium, lots of fibre and a nice little dose of protein too.

The recipe below is my favourite after a few cases of trial and error. It’s packed full of flavour and the toasted pine nuts make it feel nicely luxurious.

The dressing itself uses the Acid League Meyer Lemon and Honey vinegar from Miles. It’s $15 for a gorgeous-looking bottle but if you’re looking to cut costs you can simply replace it with lemon juice. (Likewise, you can also replace the pine nuts with toasted almonds.)

The beauty of the Acid League vinegar is that it provides you with all the health benefits of raw, unfiltered vinegar (it includes The Mother in the bottle) but adds a new dimension of flavour. So, move over apple cider vinegar there’s a new kid in town!

Raw, unfiltered vinegar has been shown to help improve digestion in some cases and helps to slow sugar release from carbs.

In fact, even though this recipe is a side, you could eat it as a starter before your main meal for even better results. You might think it’s odd to eat veggies first but that’s just perception – and this is good enough to stand alone, I promise!

Crisp, Steamed Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts (serves up to 6)


Large handful fresh or frozen green beans, per person

1 tbsp pine nuts, per person

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3.5 tbsps Meyer lemon and honey Acid League vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 small clove fresh garlic

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a jar, shake up all the dressing ingredients (everything except the beans and pine nuts) and test. Adjust seasonings as necessary.

2. In a dry frying pan, gently toast the pine nuts over a medium heat … keep an eye on these as they can catch quickly. Set to one side.

3. Steam the green beans so they are perfectly al dente!

4. In a dish, toss the green beans in the dressing (approximately 1.5 tbsps per person) and then top with the toasted pine nuts. It’s that easy!

Catherine Burns is a qualified nutritional therapist. For more details: www.natural.bm, 505-4725, Natural Nutrition Bermuda on Facebook and @naturalbda on Instagram

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Published December 02, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2022 at 3:28 pm)

A healthy side for Christmas

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