A hearty sweet and savoury vegan green bean & pear sauté topped with creamy potatoes: reinterpreting a German classic.
Whenever my mum brings along some of her garden’s bounty it comes with a condition and I’m not kidding you here. The kind of condition where she makes me vow I’ll use said produce right away. Rather than safe it [she knows me too well] for a ‘special’ dish [she doesn’t understand this part] . Not taking into accountance my self-imposed pressure of not only using it up in due time but in a way worthy of it because it’s such a rare treat. I know. Store-bought vegetables? Just use them. Homegrown? Come up with the best possible or exciting way of preparation.
It’s definitely a struggle at times when I’m lacking creativity or can’t make the decision for one specific dish. Not this time. For once I knew what I wanted as soon as I saw the gorgeous beans. With slightly crisper weather all that’s been on my mind lately is comfort food. And German classics often are just that. However, if you’re familiar with traditional German cuisine you’ll know it isn’t exactly the most vegan-friendly to begin with. If a dish doesn’t contain meat you’ll find butter, milk or eggs in the ingredient list.
The dish I decided to tackle is called Birnen, Bohnen und Speck [Pears, Beans and Bacon]. Essentially, it’s a sweet and savoury hash of green beans, bacon and onions. I can’t remember the last time I ate the real deal. Given we hardly ate traditonal German fare during my childhood and I’ve been vegetarian for 11 years by now it must have been a long time. If you’ve seen my other recipes you’re aware I’m not taking authenticity or classics too serious rather putting my own spin on them. No matter how close or not to the original my version of this dish is: all that matter is that it’s seriously good in its own way. Who needs bacon again?
Birnen, Bohnen und ‘Speck’-Auflauf / Vegan Pear, Green Bean and Ham Bake
- 2 small red onions, chopped
- Coconut oil
- 150 g green beans, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 small not too ripe pear, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 medium-sized starchy potatoes [150 g], peeled
- Scant 1/2 cup almond milk [100 ml]
- 1/2 vegan sausage [I used a chorizo by Wheaty], chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- nutritional yeast
- Boil green beans until not quite tender [because you’ll bake them later on, too]. Drain and set aside.
- Melt the coconut oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the onions and sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
- Add in the sausage and fry until it gets crispy in places.
- Prepare potato topping by cooking the potatoes until tender. Blend with almond milk, salt and pepper. Be careful not to overmix to avoid it turning gloopy.
- Stir the pear into the skillet, frying only a few more minutes.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture into a small baking dish.
- Top with the potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven [175 °C/ 350 °F] for 20-25 minutes.
- Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and serve.
Fake meats aren’t for everyone and I rarely buy them myself but this dish wouldn‘t come as close to the original without.
On the pictures: I ran out of beans when making this hence the impromtu add-in of random bits of frozen broccoli shortly before it went into the oven.
Happiness-inducing today: Good songs on the radio on my commute back home from work.
Stay in touch!
If you have an own garden or family giving you produce from theirs: Do you try to use any of it in the ‘best’ way possible, too?
Have you ever had ‘Birnen, Bohnen und Speck’?
What is your favourite recipe using green beans?