When I was a kid, if you asked me what my favorite food was, I’d emphatically reply, “Potatoes!” French fried, baked, roasted, boiled, however they were prepared, I was all in, and that spud love rings true today. Although they are technically a vegetable, from a nutritional point of view, I consider potatoes to be a starch (or “carb” in the vernacular), one that is minimally processed and nutrient-rich, packed with filling fiber, vitamin C and potassium.
One of my all-time favorite potato dishes, Greek lemon potatoes, is so satisfying to me that I have always said, jokingly, I could make a meal of it. Well, here I actually did. In the traditional Greek dish, the potatoes are roasted in a bath of lemon juice, olive oil and water until the liquid is reduced to a glaze and the spuds absorb the tangy citrus flavor and become soft and creamy inside and delightfully browned outside. Often, they are sprinkled with fragrant dried oregano, as well.
This recipe starts that way (albeit with a more modest amount of oil than is often used), but to make the dish a complete meal, before the potatoes are completely cooked, I toss fresh green beans as well as a can of butter beans into the pan. As the dish continues to roast, the green beans become crisp-tender, the butter beans firm up and brown a bit, and they both marry with the potatoes in the lemony liquid. I like to use butter beans here because they are similar to the big, meaty Gigante beans common in Greek cuisine, but any white bean will work such as cannellini or Navy.
As a final, flavorful flourish, I crumble briny feta over everything for an enticing Mediterranean, one-pan vegetarian meal (or a side for fish, poultry or meat) that indulges that potato passion in a healthful way.
Lemon Potatoes With Beans and Feta
Active: 10 minutes 5/8 Total: 50 minutes
This recipe turns traditional Greek lemon potatoes – with their bright tanginess, creamy insides and browned outsides – into a complete, healthful vegetarian meal with the addition of crisp green beans, meaty butter beans (or any white bean) and a sprinkle of briny feta cheese. It also makes a lovely side dish for grilled or roasted fish, poultry or meat.
5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds), unpeeled and quartered lengthwise into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 1/2 large lemons)
1/3 cup water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
8 ounces green beans, or haricots verts, trimmed
One (15-ounce) can butter beans or another white bean such as cannellini, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
Place the potatoes into a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking dish. Pour the oil, lemon juice and water over the potatoes and sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Transfer to the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Using tongs, flip the potatoes and return them to the oven to roast 15 to 20 minutes more, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork and browned in spots.
Add the green beans, butter beans, oregano, pepper and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the dish with the potatoes and toss to combine and coat the beans with the remaining oil in the pan. Return the dish to the oven for about 8 minutes or until the green beans are crisp-tender. Sprinkle with the feta cheese and serve.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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