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Cooking With Green Beans

Green beans are a crowd pleasing vegetable and one of the quickest side dishes you can make.

Besides being a classic Thanksgiving side dish, green beans are a versatile vegetable that can be use any time of the year.

The peak season for fresh green beans is July thru September, though you can find them in the market year-round.

When shopping for green beans, select the ones that are thin and firm with bright green color.

Look for beans that don’t have large, bulging seeds. These beans will be sweeter, crisper, and less mealy.

An easy way to test for texture is to snap a loose green bean in half. They should break rather than bend.

Green beans are simple to cook and can be use to add deliciousness to dishes like stir-fries, pasta salads, potato salads, and soups. Like this Chicken Potato Leek Soup.

Green beans are a good accompaniment with other vegetables as well.

They’re also a versatile side that pairs with all types of protein, including chicken, beef, pork, fish and shrimp.

Cooking With Green Beans

Before cooking your green beans, snap off the stem end of the vegetable. If you buy them prepackaged the stems should already be detached.

There are several ways to cook green beans. How you cook them will depend on how they are used in a recipe.

Before cooking your green beans, snap off the stem end of the vegetable. If you buy them prepackaged the stems should already be detached.

Blanching or Steaming

Blanching or steaming them will help to preserve their flavor, color, texture, and nutritional value as well.

Cook’s Notes

Blanching is placing the beans in boiling water. Steaming is placing the beans in a steamer basket inside a pot or boiling water.

Both blanching or steaming gently softens the outside of the bean while keeping the interior crisp tender for a side dish, salads or as a stand alone salad.

It also sweetens the produce and causes the vegetable to hold its color for a longer period of time.

A crucial step in blanching or steaming your vegetable, is to quickly remove the beans from the boiling water or steam basket and plunging them into an ice-water bath which will shock the beans abruptly and halt the cooking process.

Ice-Water Bath For Boiled Or Steamed Green Beans – Qwart/Getty Image

An ice-water bath is what assures ideal texture and color.

Blanch beans for 3 minutes in boiling water. And steam them for 7 minutes (steaming will take about 1 1/2 times longer than boiling).

If blanching vegetables for a stir-fry or pasta dish, don’t shock the vegetables in cold water but instead simply drain and add to the wok or skillet.

Blanch green beans before sautéing, roasting, or freezing as well.


Sautéing your green beans can add flavor and aroma.

The best way to saute them is to steam them first. Here are the steps.

STEP 1: Add the beans with a tablespoon of water to a large skillet. Cover the the skillet and cook over medium high heat for 4 minutes.

STEP 2: Remove the cover and cook until the remaining water evaporates, about 1 minute.

Sautéing Green Beans With Butter & Garlic

Now that the beans have softened, add your favorite fat, such as olive oil or butter and sauté the beans for 2 minutes until tender but still bright green.

If you choose to use butter, sauté over medium heat so as not to burn it. If you choose to sauté over higher heat, olive oil will be your best choice.


Roasting is done at a high temperature, than blanching, steaming, of sautéing. The roasting your beans will crisp them up, creating an amazing depth of flavor.

Most recipes for roasting greens beans will call for a preheated oven to 425 degrees.

When roasting greens beans it is best to toss them first in a large bowl with olive oil or your favorite oil. Add sprinkle with a little salt for flavor.

Arrange the beans in an even layer on a baking sheet. Take care not overcrowd the sheet pan when roasting. If beans are too close to each other, they will not brown evenly.

Place the sheet pan into the preheated oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and the beans blister a little. This should take about 10-12 minutes.

More Green Bean Dishes

When the beans have been prepared and cooked in the way you choose, as you can see, they can embellish just about any dish, including a side dish, salad, stir-fry, pasta or even an egg dish.

More Deliciously Yummy Recipes

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