This is a dish that we make year-round, but one that’s especially good when French beans are in season. Sautéing green beans with garlic is a quick, easy side good with just about anything, and it’s a one-pan dish – no need to blanch the beans first. Frozen greens beans work just as well.
For some more speedy sides, try my crispy roasted mushrooms (they pair very well with the beans), or match with some more classic dishes like roasted red cabbage or dairy-free mashed potatoes. We most often serve the green beans alongside eggs or lentil patties and roasted potatoes.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Beans: any type of French, wax, or string bean, and they don’t need to be green if you have other varieties available to you. Yellow, purple, and rarer types like dragon tongue are all excellent here.
- Oil: substitute butter if preferred but note that it has a higher tendency to burn as these are cooked rather quickly on a higher heat. If you’re not comfortable cooking with olive oil, use another oil instead.
- Herbs: optional, but a delicious addition if you have fresh herbs. Oregano, thyme, mint, and dill are my favourites.
Step by Step
Step 1: heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat (see notes) and add the beans.
Step 2: cook until the beans are browned, stirring frequently, then add the garlic and spices. Cook for about 30 seconds and serve hot.
Stovetops vary so widely that you will need to use some personal knowledge here to determine the heat level needed for your stove. In my experience, medium heat on an induction cooktop, especially cheaper ones, is more like high on a standard electric or gas stove. Keep that in mind and adjust the temperature as needed.
It’s a common misconception that green beans need to be blanched before sautéing, and it’s what leads to soggy, over-cooked beans. They cook perfectly well in a frying pan and the result is snappy, browned, perfectly cooked beans. If you think you don’t like French beans but have only had then boiled or steamed, try frying them.
If using frozen green beans, don’t thaw beforehand and simply increase the cooking time by a couple of minutes. Be careful when adding them to the pan as the oil tends to spit a little when the ice hits it.
How to Store
Storage: sautéed green beans are best served immediately and will get a little floppy as they’re stored. They can be refrigerated in a sealed container for a couple of days and refreshed in a hot frying pan with a splash of olive oil to reheat.
Freezing: I don’t recommend freezing the cooked beans.
- Watch the garlic: the garlic cooks very quickly so be careful not to burn. You can even turn off the burner if you know there will be some residual heat to cook it (on a radiant or coil stovetop).
- Don’t cook the herbs: if you are adding herbs, they’re sprinkled onto the cooked beans while they’re still very hot to release the natural oils in the herbs without the risk of burning them in a hot pan.
- Make sure to top and tail: fresh runner beans have chewy tops and sometimes the tails can be a little sharp, so it’s good practice to remove both. Simply snap them off with your fingers:
- Don’t wash too early: beans get rusty if they’re washed and stored wet. Wash them immediately before cooking to prevent this from happening and always store them in a dry place in the refrigerator.
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Garlic Green Beans
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ~300 grams green beans topped and tailed
- 2-4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper to taste
- Handful of fresh herbs optional
- Add the oil to a large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat (see notes above). Once the pan is hot, add the beans, being careful of spitting oil.2 teaspoons olive oil, ~300 grams green beans
- Cook the beans for 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until they're browned but not floppy. Add in the garlic, salt, and pepper, and cook for another 30 seconds to just brown the garlic.2-4 cloves garlic, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, Handful of fresh herbs
- Serve immediately, topped with fresh herbs if desired.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
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