Vibrant Tasty Green Beans

Vibrant Tasty Green Beans

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. 

Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe

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.
Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe

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.
Vibrant Tasty Green Beans Recipe
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.

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Vibrant Tasty Green Beans

4.18 from 17 votes

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
  1. 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. 

  2. 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.

Prep Time
8 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
18 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


I made these last night, and they came out great! I used 4 huge leeks from whole foods. They really cooked down, but I had to use a big metal pan rather than a skillet (my skillet was just too small). The dill tasted great! Thanks for the recipe.


Samantha mentioned the one-skillet green beans on America's Test Kitchen. Excellent way of preparing beans, which will taste great with the leeks and dill. You don't have to overcook them. They can be as green as Heidi's picture. The caramelizing adds a wonderful depth of flavor.


I love, love leeks! Definitely going to make this one.


Green beans and dill are natural partners, my father in law was very fond of a type of pickled green bean called 'dilly beans' They had just a hint of chili in them. yum. My personal tweak to the recipe - just a little splash of lemon juice just before serving. HS: ooh yeah, I imagine that and a touch of lemon zest would be perfect!


This looks so good... however I need a place for all my fennel, so hopefully that will pair well. Thanks for the ideas!

Organic Goodness

Tried the recipe this evening and LOVE it! Thanks!


Looks great! What a nice combination. For me, I had trouble getting good tomatoes this summer. The beans have been decent, but no good summer tomatoes :(

Traci (Soup of The Day)

It's funny how everyone comments "Wow! Great recipe! Now, here's how I'd do it differently...." Nothing wrong with that, not at all. My version of this uses shallots instead of leeks and an herb like thyme or savory. It's a wonderful way to cook beautiful fresh green beans.


I would just add some fried garlic HUMMMM


I adore green beans -- usually prepare them with garlic, olive oil and tomatoes here in Cairo (most Mediterranean countries make it that way). Looking forward to experimenting with this new recipe. Thanks, Heidi :)


Wow these look great. Sure going to be on my table for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.


Vibrantly gorgeous!!


WOW - these green beans look great! great flavors. thanks for sharing zesty




I love the addition of dill in this recipe--I'm sure that really freshens up the dish. I was lucky enough to grow up having green beans cooked the right way: steamed or blanched quickly, left fresh enough so that they're still crisp. In fact, I have no trouble eating them completely raw! Another favorite of mine is roasted green beans with toasted almonds--I'm sure toasted almonds would be delicious in here too if you want the added protein.

Jessica D

Perfect! I just bought leeks yesterday and was wondering what to do with them. This looks soooo good!


I don't know why people continue to eat green bean casserole when there are dishes like these around.


I've rarely met a bean recipe I didn't like, and dilly green beans are one of my favorites. I associate the aroma and taste of dill with summer though, and even though it's available in the grocery store off season (along with kiwis and citrus and pomegranates), it just doesn't work with my palate to have dill now. Not sure why, since I do love the green beans at Thanksgiving and they're not exactly in season either. Still, i'll mark this recipe to try when the ground begins to warm again.

becky and the beanstock

Gorgeous and (again) so seasonal. I think I'll add toasted walnuts or pine nuts for that extra crunch. Yum.


Up here in southwestern Ontario the green beans have looked awful for months. Even the ones grown here looked like they were brought from Isengard by Orcs! So, what is your feeling about frozen beans? I love the crispness of fresh beans, but really is there any nutrition left in the ones in the stores here in mid-November? Any suggestions for how to make the frozen ones crisp up?


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