In this easy recipe for balsamic green beans, a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar gives the dish a wonderfully complex flavor.
In this recipe for balsamic green beans, a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar gives the beans the complexity of flavor that no vegetable can have without some assistance. And I do like plain steamed green beans too, just for the record!
Balsamic vinegar is magical
The first time I tasted balsamic vinegar was in a restaurant in Italy. The waiter served us our order of Bistecca Alla Fiorentina.
Before we had a chance to start eating, he carefully, proudly, drizzled a few drops of thick, dark, extra-aged balsamic vinegar on our steaks.
You see, traditional, extra-aged balsamic vinegar is not really vinegar anymore. At least not in the sense that we usually think about vinegar. It’s a dark, rich, very thick syrup.
It has such a complex flavor profile that I don’t think I have the vocabulary to even try describing it. Although “sweet,” “fruity” and “syrupy” come to mind. And “acidic” is also there, yes, but it’s very subtle and well balanced out by the other flavors.
Ever since that visit to Italy, I always have Italian balsamic vinegar in my pantry.
Use younger vinegar in these balsamic green beans
Not all balsamic vinegars are created equal, however. I would never use extra-aged balsamic vinegar in cooking. It would be a waste.
For cooking, younger balsamic vinegar, which is still aged but not extra-aged, is quite suitable. And it’s easier to find young balsamic vinegar in the US.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty dis dish. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
- Fresh green beans: trim the ends but leave them whole.
- Olive oil: I am partial to extra-virgin olive oil, but any type will work here.
- Balsamic vinegar: use aged vinegar, which is thicker and sweeter than young vinegar, but not extra-aged one.
- Honey: just 1/2 tablespoon, to add complexity and balance out the acidity of the vinegar. You can skip this ingredient if you wish.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder. If you use fine salt rather than kosher salt, you might want to use less of it. As for the garlic, you can use fresh minced garlic. But I like the way it’s easier to evenly con the beans when using garlic powder.
How to make balsamic green beans
It’s a truly easy recipe! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
- Coat the beans in the remaining ingredient. I use my hands to coat them well.
- Roast them for 20 minutes in a 400°F oven, giving them a quick stir midway through roasting.
- Serve. To serve, transfer the beans to a serving platter and drizzle them with the pan juices.
What to serve with balsamic green beans
It’s a very versatile side dish. You can use it with almost any main dish. Since I roast the beans in a 400°F oven, I often serve them with a main dish that I can cook in the same oven. Such as:
What about leftovers?
You can keep leftovers of these balsamic green beans in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave on 50% power.
Never miss a recipe!
I typically publish a new healthy recipe once or twice per week. Want the new recipes in your inbox? Subscribe!
Balsamic Green Beans
- 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (not fine salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the green beans in a 9 X 13-inch Pyrex dish. Add the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to toss together, making sure the beans are well-coated.
- Roast until tender-crisp, tossing once midway through roasting, about 20 minutes.
- To serve the balsamic green beans, divide them among plates and drizzle with the pan juices.