Suddenly my string beans are coming in with a vengeance! I love to pick them when they are still thin and tender. Lightly steam and toss with a flavorful citrus dressing and you are good to go!
Are String Beans Paleo?
Technically, string beans are in the legume family, but since they are picked and eaten with their enclosing pods, before the bean is mature, they are considered Paleo. That’s why I like to harvest them when they are still slim and tender – when they are let go too long, the seeds mature and they become harder to digest.
In terms of digestion, string beans are really easy to digest (as long as they are slim and tender as stated above), because they do not have the anti-nutrients that are typically present in legumes. There are no lectins, phytates or enzyme inhibitors in fresh string beans that would be found in legumes.
What are Legumes?
Legumes are generally considered, beans, peas, lentils and peanuts. They are hard to digest, but they can be prepared in a more healthful way. However, folks on a strict Paleo diet will avoid them because they believe Paleolithic people did not eat them.
Some people can tolerate legumes very well as long as they are properly prepared to greatly reduce the anti-nutrient levels.
Traditional cultures follow the advice that you must soak legumes for a long time, in order to soften them and reduce:
- phytates which bind minerals and make them unavailable to the body
- lectins which cause inflammation in the gut
- enzyme inhibitors which make the amount of protein in the legume unavailable
- phytoestrogens which can cause hormone imbalances
- saponins which may cause leaky gut
Nutrition in String Beans
All that said, string beans are not exactly a legume and they actually have some very good nutrition. String beans are high in Vitamins A, C, K, folate, choline – minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium. They also contain a nice amount of fiber and have a great omega 3 to 6 ratio.
When lightly steamed and eaten with a nutritious fat – as in delicious salad dressing – string beans make a beautiful side to any meal.
- 1 pound fresh string beans, steamed until softened but still crunchy
- 1/4 cup organic avocado oil or organic extra virgin olive oil (or a combination of both)
- 1/2 juice of organic lemon (2-3 Tbsp)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives minced
- Set aside the steamed string beans in a bowl
- Combine all the ingredients for the dressing into a jar and mix
- Set in the refrigerator at least 3 hours before you want to serve it – best to make the day before to let the herbs meld with the marinade
- Toss into the string beans just before serving
- Tip: The dressing can also be served over warm string beans