Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
In 1842 the vanilla plant was brought to the islands of Tahiti by the missionaries who came to the islands. At this time the missionaries taught the Tahitian people how to plant, marry vanilla, and harvest the world's largest vanilla beans. The beans grown on the islands of Tahiti are two to three times as plump as the beans grown in Mexico, Madagascar, Bourbon, Tonga, Indonesia, India, and Ugandan.
Tahitian vanilla growers take great pride in their plants and vanilla beans. The plant flowers have to be married by hand. Here on the islands we do not have bugs that will pollinate the vanilla flower. The smell of Tahitian vanilla has a rich floral aroma when the fruit is ripe. The vanilla beans are rich of chocolate, licorice, and caramel flavor. The vanilla beans grown here on the island contains more caviar inside each bean, meaning the pulp inside the vanilla bean. This is what you cook with, and it gives flavor and aroma to each bean.
Here on the islands we love Vanilla Sauce. There are several ways to make this sauce. This sauce is not like the other sauces that I prepare. This one is made with water, cornstarch, organic light brown sugar, and Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread. When I make my sauce, I use fresh vanilla beans. I am sure this one will be rather expensive. It is possible to use pure vanilla extract when you make your vanilla sauce.
- 1 Cup Organic Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 2 Cups Water
- ¼ Cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
- 1 Vanilla Bean cut into slivers or 2 Tablespoons Pure Vanilla Extract
- 6 Cups Fresh Long Green Beans cut into ½ pieces
- 1 ½ Cups Raw Cashews Split
- 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
- 2 Sprigs Fresh Parsley
- 4 Cups Fresh Long Green Beans
- 1 Cup Snow Peas
- 1 Cup Sugar Snap Peas
- 1 ½ Cups Mushrooms
* You may choose to add these ingredients instead of just green beans. This recipe is good with all green beans or splitting the green beans up with sugar snap peas, snow peas, and mushrooms.
In sauce pan add green beans and enough water to cover the beans. Add a pinch of salt when cooking the green beans to the water. Boil the green beans for 7 minutes until they are tender but not fully cooked. Remove from stove and drain.
In a 2 quart casserole dish spray the dish with non-stick vegetable cooking spray and add the green beans and cashews. Mix well
In sauce pan add the organic light brown sugar and cornstarch and mix well. Add in the water and stir until this is well blended. Cook on high heat brining mixture to a rolling boil. When mixture is boiling add the vanilla beans you have cut into slivers. If you are using pure vanilla extract do not add this now. You will add this at the end. Allow the mixture to cook until it makes a nice cream sauce and is very smooth.
Remove mixture from the stove and stir in the Earth Balance Butter and at this time if you use pure vanilla extract stir this into the mixture. Mix well and pour the mixture over the green bean and cashews in your casserole dish.
Top the green beans with bread crumbs. You will need to melt 1 tablespoon of butter and mix with your bread crumbs before placing them on top of your casserole dish. Sprinkle the cut up sprigs of parsley on top of the bread crumbs.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Bake uncovered in over for 15 minutes until well heated and the vanilla sauce has finished thickening. Serve as a side dish or just enjoy as is.
When you cook with sauces and vegetable there is no right or wrong way to do this one. You can add what you have in your home to make this dish. If you choose to mix snow peas with your green beans this one is very delicious too.
If you like my recipe please leave a comment.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.