Vibrant Tasty Green Beans
Simple, five ingredient green beans. Dill, green beans, leeks, salt and olive oil, that's it. Five ingredients, one skillet, so good.
This is one of my favorite ways to cook green beans - five ingredients, one skillet. I know some of you are married to your traditional way of cooking them, but if you are in the market for a new version, give this recipe a go.
Simple Green Beans
I cook green beans a couple times a week during certain seasons, and this version with its slightly quirky combination of ingredients is one I come back to over and over. It is light and bright, healthy and delicious. Simply cook a bunch of chopped leeks (or scallions) until they are golden and a bit crunchy, toss in some chopped dill, and then add the green beans. Do your best to not overcook them and you're all set. If this recipe isn't quite your jam, but you love beans, try this Green Bean Slaw, these Yellow Wax Beans & Scallions, Feisty Green Beans (so good!), or this Yellow Bean Salad.
Side dish vs. Main dish
While I've written this recipe as more of a side dish - you can easily bump it up to main dish status. I sometimes use the dilled green beans to fill omelettes (along with a bit of goat cheese). Alternately, you might toss some tofu, tempeh or seitan into the skillet (sautéed until nicely browned or golden ahead of time) along with the beans. Or, you could make a main dish salad by serving the beans over lightly dressed butter lettuce & toss a few raviolis in. There are plenty of directions to take this one!
I think this goes without saying, but do your best to seek out really good beans. They should be bright green and have a bit of snap when you bend them. Avoid anything leathery, also avoid beans that are limp, mottled, soft, mushy or mangy.
As I note in the recipe down below, this is best made to order, just before serving. I don't like hot green beans after they've been sitting around for long periods of time - they lose vibrancy, and the texture and taste changes as they sit overcooking themselves. That said, there's a way to prep the main components ahead if you're doing them for Thanksgiving.
How to make ahead
You can make this recipe a day ahead of time by cooking the leeks and dill first and setting them aside. Instead of cooking the beans in a skillet, blanch them in a pot of boiling, well-salted water for about a minute. Drain and dunk the beans in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside until ready to use. Combine the components before serving - you can do it at room temperature, or heated quickly in a skillet or pan before serving.
Vibrant Tasty Green Beans
The following recipe is best made just before serving time. But as I mentioned in the main post you can make/prep this ahead of time by cooking the leeks and dill first and setting them aside. Instead of cooking the green beans in the skillet, blanch them in a pot of boiling, well-salted water for about a minute. Drain the beans and dunk them in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and place the beans in a bag or bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use. When ready, combine the components - you can do it at room temperature, or heated quickly in a skillet or pan.
- 4 leeks (or one bunch of scallions), well washed, root end and tops trimmed, sliced lengthwise into quarters and then chopped into 1-inch segments
- 1/3 cup fresh dill, well chopped
- 3/4 pound green beans, tops and tails trimmed
- extra-virgin olive oil
- fine-grain sea salt
In a large thick-bottomed skillet of medium-high heat add a generous splash of olive oil, a generous pinch of salt and the leeks. Stir until the leeks are coated and glossy. Cook, stirring regularly until a lot of the leeks are golden and crispy. I stir every minute or two in the beginning, and more often as they brown using a metal spatula. All in all it takes me roughly 7 - 10 minutes to brown the leeks.
At this point stir in the dill, and then stir in the green beans. Cook for a couple more minutes - just until the the beans brighten up and lose that raw bite. Turn out into a bowl or onto a platter and serve immediately. If you want to prepare these green beans ahead of time - read the head notes.
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green bean casserole move over! you've just been replaced on my thankgiving table!!
Green beans look hideous more often than not around here too! All the more reason to celebrate when I can find some good ones. I'm newly in love with leeks so this looks like a winner! Thanks!
this looks fantastic and it's perfect timing for some upcoming dinners we have. I get so tired of making green beans the same way so I'm excited to try this!
these look fantastic! i hate the way they're traditionally cooked: till the green beans are sad little creatures with a wan green appearance. yes, perfect for thanksgiving. or for dinner tonight.
These look delicious and perfect for Thanksgiving. I'm going to give them a go this weekend. And I agree about seeing lots of low quality beans around this year...I wonder what's up?
oh, yum!! Looks so simple yet delicious! I'll have to try this soon...maybe for thanksgiving. Thanks for all your great recipes!! :)
I've taken to splashing a bit of apple cider vinegar on all my green bean recipes...think that would be ok? On a personal note, really love the way you've made veg dishes so accessible...my folks practically inhaled the chickpeas and rice w/ tahini!
Hi Heidi, This sounds wonderful. I am afraid I am a green bean snob as is my husband. I think I will also try this with asparagus as it is easier to find in the market that is truly fresher than the awful looking green beans we have been seeing here in the Northeast of USA. Of course, our season is so short, we don't have the wonderful all round weather for fresh that you do and most of our 8 months of the year veggies come from far away. Groan. Thanks again for your wonderful recipes. Bev
i think i may have just found my green bean recipe for thanksgiving!
I can't stand dill, otherwise this is amazing. What else would work? I have some fresh thyme and I love tarragon .. would you experts advise please? thanks!
Woooo-these bring back memories. My mother used to make green beans in a similar way using dehydrated onions (it was the 60s!) and dill weed. Delicious! I'm so sorry to hear you are all having trouble getting good green beans. Our garden blessed us with perfection and overabundance this year. Freezer is so full we had to buy a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving. Of course, the tomato crop was a failure, so I guess we'll use green beans on our pizzas this year! Thanks for the recipe and the terrific site.
this looks great. we've gotten some great green beans every week in our CSA box for the last month or so. we are getting a little behind eating them, so i think i am going to have to break this recipe out.
This looks fresh and fabulous. And, yes, the green beans have been looking terrible here as well. Is it a bad year for green beans?
Cook's Illustrated just did up a new one-skillet green bean recipe (no blanching and shocking) that is similar to this, but adding in some water into the hot pan after a few minutes' searing - makes for a quick steam and then you let the water evaporate at the end (throwing in some butter or vegan margarine to brown and add back more flavour). I think that technique and this recipe could be nicely married if people want their beans a little bit more well-done.
This sounds fresh and wonderful! I'll definitely be trying it out. If anyone is interested in another tasty green bean recipe, Madhur Jaffrey's Gujerati Green Beans is a favourite in our home.
Mmmm this beats the old green bean casserole for Thanksgiving!
For me the trick to fabulous green beans is using young ones (super thin). Usually the ones at the store are to big. The flavour and texture is completely different.
I love the color and flavor of green beans. I've been hunting for a green bean recipe for Thanksgiving that's bright-tasting to go with the heavier fare. This one may be just the ticket, especially because the ingredients would pair nicely with the addition of a few snips of the overgrown marjoram that is currently terrorizing my garden!
You are so right about the awful state of green beans lately. The worst seem to be the ones that come in the pre-washed, hermetically sealed packages. They are often covered with rust spots! I usually just boil green beans in salted water but one of my son's favourite ways to eat them is cooked in the oven on an oiled pan. I sprinkle the beans liberally with sea salt as they hit the preheated pan and then serve them to him as 'green bean fries.' He likes them well enough to ask me to make them often! Of course, when I use yellow beans they look more like actual french fries, but yellow beans are less often available.
Tried this out at once and sooo good! Added a bit of my homemade tofu and just a touch of soy sauce to please hubby though. I also prepare my green beans the same way, blanching and setting them aside until just before mixing with other ingredients. You might want to try sesame seeds, a touch of sugar and soy sauce, ground together into a paste then tossed with green beans that have been thinly sliced diagonally. In place of sesame seeds, I have also used peanut butter with good results.