In this simple weeknight recipe, green beans are sauteed in butter and seasoned with garlic and crushed red peppers.
It's an easy recipe, ready in just 20 minutes. The only caveat? Don't overcook the beans! You want them tender-crisp.
I often make dinner with two vegetable sides, foregoing the starch. So I'm always on the lookout for tasty and easy-to-make vegetable recipes that would keep things interesting for my family.
I've been making this tasty side dish often. String beans are delicious, and they are one of the few vegetables that all of us can agree on - grownups and young picky eaters alike.
You'll only need a few ingredients to make this tasty side dish. Here's an overview - scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Unsalted butter: I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be great.
- Fresh string beans: I like to use medium-thickness beans in this recipe.
- Salt and pepper: Freshly ground black pepper tastes best.
- Minced garlic: Mince it yourself, or use the stuff that comes in a jar. Both work, although freshly minced tastes better.
- Crushed red pepper: It doesn't make the dish spicy - it merely adds an interesting layer of flavor.
It's so easy to saute green beans! The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
- You start by cooking the beans in butter over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Next, add the remaining ingredients (salt, black pepper, garlic, and crushed red peppers).
- Keep cooking until the beans are tender-crisp, about 5 more minutes. That's it!
String beans are wonderful when quickly boiled and salted. This is actually my favorite way to make them - boiled green beans. They're surprisingly good when cooked this way, as long as you don't overcook them.
But variety is nice, and sauteing green beans in butter and garlic is also a very tasty way of making them.
Regardless of how you choose to cook them, the most important thing, in my opinion, is to avoid overcooking them.
You want them to be tender. But they should still have a bite - much like "al dente" when cooking spaghetti. You definitely don't want them to be mushy or droopy.
On the other hand, you certainly don't want them too crunchy! Raw string beans do not taste very good. Although I hear that when young and picked fresh from one's garden, they most certainly are. But I never had the privilege of trying that.
In my experience, cooking the beans for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat is perfect.
But you'll need to double-check in your kitchen. Because as you know, cooking equipment varies greatly, and this includes your cooking range as well as your pan.
Frequently asked questions
Blanching is a cooking technique in which a food item is briefly cooked in boiling water, then plunged into iced water to stop the cooking process.
I suppose in an ideal world you should. But we don't live in an ideal world. Hurried and pressed for time most nights, I am not a fan of multi-step recipes.
So no, I don't blanch them before sauteing, and I don't think it makes a big difference in the final outcome.
I don't recommend that. Canned green beans would be a hard no. They are already cooked, and they tend to be limp, brownish, and lifeless.
But I also don't recommend using frozen green beans in this recipe. For best results, please use fresh beans.
This is up to you! You can cut them in half prior to cooking them, as shown in the photos on this page. Or you can leave them whole, as I do in the video, shown below in the recipe card. Both work.
I love this recipe as is and almost always make it as written. But in case you'd like to vary the basic recipe, here are a few ideas for you:
- You can use ghee or olive oil instead of butter.
- If you don't have fresh garlic on hand, try using ½ teaspoon of garlic granules.
- Try sprinkling bacon bits or dry-grated parmesan on the finished dish.
- Use wax beans. Also known as yellow beans, they can be used in most recipes that call for green beans, including this one.
- During the last 1-2 minutes of cooking, stir in small chunks of cooked pork jowl.
This is such a versatile side dish, it goes with anything. I often serve it with one of the following main dishes:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, in the microwave at 50% power.
They are also good when served cold! Kind of like antipasti. Sometimes I chop them up and add them cold to a salad. They make a great colorful addition to this tomato salad.
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Buttery Sautéed Green Beans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb. fresh green beans ends trimmed
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat.
- When the butter stops foaming, add the green beans and salt.
- Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the black pepper, garlic, and crushed red peppers.
- Continue to cook, stirring often, for about 5 more minutes, until the beans are tender but not mushy.