My friend Priya Khanna is a real estate expert in Princeton, NJ and when I met her we spoke about nutrition and food. Of course! She told me she was passionate about cooking, and not Indian food only. I heard she was amazing with French and Thai cuisine as well.

So naturally, as I am always looking for new recipes and workshops, I invited her to lead a cooking event for The CogniDiet. I asked her to take Indian, and very importantly, quick and easy to prepare, vegetable recipes  and teach my clients.

In my curriculum, I absolutely emphasize the need to get your carbohydrates mostly from fresh vegetables. After a few kale salads, green beans and roasted zucchini, people are really starting to get bored. The idea was born to use the same vegetables but with an ethnic twist.

This is the second dish that was prepared “green beans with fresh coconut and almonds.  In fact it is my favorite because I love green beans. You can serve this with any protein source and it will bring a nice exotic flavor to the dish. I am planning to prepare this often because I am so bored with the usual green beans and onions/parsley recipe I have been using for years. You can decide to keep it on the milder side or spice it up with more cayenne pepper. Enjoy!

I have to say however that in order to get into Indian cuisine, you will have to invest in a few staples when it comes to spices. We have them all at home because my husband likes to cook recipes from all over the world. Coriander seeds, cardamom pods, anise stars, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, cumin are staples you should have in your pantry.


Ingredients:  Serves 6 to 8

·        1 pound green beans, thinly sliced crosswise (1/4 inch)

·        2 tbsp. coconut oil or ghee

·        1 tsp brown mustard seeds

·        8-10  fresh curry leaves

·        2 garlic cloves crushed

·        1 inch ginger minced

·        1 small green chili serrano or jalapeño, split lengthwise (optional)

·        1 cup freshly grated unsweetened coconut (available at any Indian grocery store in the freezer section)

·        1 tsp teaspoon ground cumin

·        1 tsp ground coriander

·        1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)

·        1/2 tsp ground turmeric

·        1 tsp salt (or more to taste)

·        2-3 tsp toasted sliced almonds

·        Juice of one lemon

·        Fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnish



·        Mix the fresh coconut, cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, and ½ tsp salt in a small bowl and set aside.

·        Heat oil in a wok or a heavy skillet over medium heat, add mustard seeds until they begin to pop and/or turn gray, ensure to cover skillet as seeds crackle for a few seconds. Lower flame and immediately add the curry leaves, ginger, garlic and jalapeno pepper (do not burn the garlic).

·        Add green beans and stir-fry 3-4 minutes. Then add the coconut spice mixture and mix well and cook 5-8 minutes stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender (do not overcook). Add the remaining salt. Check for seasoning. If mixture becomes dry and begins to stick to bottom of wok add a few tablespoons water.

·        Finish with lemon juice. Top with sliced almonds and garnish coriander leaves.

·        Dish can be served hot or at room temperature.


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