Classic sauteed green beans are so simple and tasty, they hardly need explaining, or a recipe. But I include this because once in a while, you need a little bit of a jog.
To learn more about buying and prepping green beans, view this Le Chou Fou WTF, CSA? post.
This version was inspired by a recipe in Time-Life’s Foods of the World series, American Cooking: Southern Style. Indeed, a sauté of the freshest greens you can find, beans or leaves, in a little bit of hog fat, pretty much screams classic southern cooking. But I also suggest some variations. In fact, classic sauteed green beans also pair up beautifully with plant-based “bacons”, a variety of which are featured in these vegan bacon recipes from Clean Eating. Just note the slightly different technique.
And now, a step by step walk through, or, if you prefer, jump to the recipe.
- Snap or trim the stems off your beans. A generous handful makes a great serving size. Chop some kind of onion, 1-2 tablespoons for each handful of beans.
- If using bacon, place 1 slice for every two handfuls of beans in a cold sauté pan over medium high heat; this ensures that the bacon browns evenly, and doesn’t start sizzling and burning immediately. If not, heat the pan, then add about 1 tablespoon of oil—olive, canola, or coconut—for every 2 handfuls of beans.
- If using bacon, once the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan. Either way, add 1-2 tablespoons of chopped onions, shallots, or scallions to the hot fat and stir for about a minute. Then add the green beans, tossing to coat with oil.
- After 1-2 minutes of cooking the green beans and onions, add 1 tablespoon of water or broth for every 2 handfuls of beans. Cover the pan tightly and let steam approx 2-3 minutes. When you remove the lid, the beans should be bright green, and crispy but not starchy tasting.
- Add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar for every 2 handfuls of beans. Stir for about 1 minute; depending on the quality of the vinegar, it may get a little syrupy.
- Stir in 1-2 tablespoons of fresh herbs for each handful of beans; I used mint, but dill, tarragon, and parsley are all very fine choices. Top with the cut-up bacon, or your choice of vegan bacon.
It is worth noting that acid, such as in the balsamic vinegar, will turn the beans a dull olive color over time; they still taste fine, but keep this in mind, preferably only adding the balsamic within 15 minutes of serving.
These make a truly lovely dinner with just corn on the cob and maybe some sweet potato fries on the side. Enjoy.
Classic Sauteed Green Beans Recipe