Bacon and green beans? You better believe it! Even the snappiest, freshest beans sometimes need a little more than salt and olive oil to make them sing, and this side dish is restaurant-worthy thanks to everybody’s favorite crowd-pleaser—bacon. It can be made right on the stovetop in 25 minutes as you’re pulling together your main dish. Its second secret ingredient? Shallots sautéed right in the bacon drippings, which when spun with whole-grain mustard lend a French feel to the mixture. Just make sure to time this dish so you can serve it as soon as it’s done; bacon waits for no one, and is tastiest served right away.
Savory uses of maple syrup have been making the rounds on restaurant menus over the last few years: We’ve seen it paired with sweet potatoes and yams, bacon and sausage, and even chicken! This recipe pairs its sweetness smartly with a veggie side—crisp green beans cooked briefly in salt water, blanched to retain their crunchiness, and tossed with buttery baked pecans, bracing Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and a touch of maple syrup. The resulting dish is sweet, salty, bright, and nutty in equal measure. It is a wonderful respite from your usual go-to weeknight salad routine.
When it’s green bean season at the market, you want to keep things simple: Think about textures and flavors that will complement the wonderfully crunchy texture with which you’re working. In this case, you’re going to want crisp fried garlic, toasty pine nuts, good olive oil, and salt and pepper. So simple. So good. It’s the rare dish that’s ready in 15 minutes—really—but this is one of them. Our only tip? Don’t let them kick around the kitchen too long before serving them. This is one of those warm salads that’s actually best hot or pretty darn warm.
Crispy flash-fried onions buddy up with sautéed button mushrooms and crunchy green beans in this delightful (and delightfully easy) side dish. Milk and flour whisked together create sort of an ad-hoc roux—the mixture that gives rich soups and gumbo their creamy oomph—which lends all this delightful mix of veggies a decadent texture. High heat keeps everything nice and crisp, never muddy, and once plated the dish looks so beautiful it might be on the menu at a trendy restaurant. But the best part? You can go ahead and use frozen green beans (trust us, you won’t even notice the difference).
Green Bean Salad With Walnuts, Fennel, and Goat Cheese
This is one of those recipes to make when you see a ton of perfect-looking green beans on sale at the farmer’s market, or you have so many in your garden you don’t know what to do. It’s super-simple—just whisking, boiling, and assembling—and employs a wonderfully easy French-accented dressing of Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and olive oil. Green beans are the base, as opposed to the traditional greens, and they're given oomph and sultriness by anise-y fennel, crunchy walnuts, and creamy fresh goat cheese. And it looks just as temping as it sounds.
Brown butter—even just a few tablespoons—makes everything better. In this recipe, green beans are cooked just enough to keep them crisp, and then they’re spun with nutty brown butter, lemon juice, roasted almonds, and salt. It’s that easy—just 15 minutes to put a tasty veggie side on the table. Tip: Save this recipe for when you have very fresh beans from the market, and if you prefer yours a little on the al dente side, quickly blanch them in ice water before returning them to the warm pot, so they stay the right temperature while the butter browns.
Just like barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, brown butter, mayonnaise, and sriracha, a honey-mustard sauce improves basically any recipe in which it makes a cameo. Consider this snap of a dish: Tender green beans mingle with honey, mustard, oil, salt, and toasted pecans. Everything is tossed together before it chills out in the fridge for a few hours, and then it’s brightened with red wine vinegar just before serving. Not only can you make this lovely side—a particularly welcome addition to any barbecue—in advance, but it can be ready in less than half an hour.
Trying to think of a new way to feature cranberries on the holiday table this year, or trying to mix up your steamed green beans routine? This recipe solves both problems, and it takes only 15 minutes to pull off. Simply boil green beans until they’re to your preferred tenderness, spin them with good olive oil, roasted nuts, and dried cranberries, and you have the sort of festive, red-and-green side dish that earns accolades even before guests have dug in. Not only does it look pretty, but you can make it well in advance and serve it at room temperature. (Talk about a gift!)
Wax beans—the unusual-looking, sometimes-golden bean you might avoid buying because you don’t know how to cook them—are just as simple as green beans are to prepare. This recipe highlights their slightly sweet, rich character by pairing them with butter, blanched almonds, olive oil, and salt and pepper. (Keeping things straightforward is key when you have good wax beans; you’ll want to taste the vegetables themselves!) Pro tip: Don’t skip the step of shocking the beans in ice water; doing so is key to getting the texture. And be sure to season to taste just before serving.
It’s time. This is the year to mix up the green bean casserole. This dish has all the flavors you love—cream, mushrooms, butter, we’re looking at you—but they’re all fresh as can be instead of having a processed taste. If you haven’t been cooking with shallots instead of onions, this is the recipe with which to play. Dipped in flour and pan-fried over medium heat, shallots get the crunchiness and almost sweet, nutty flavor you love in the garnishes on your favorite Vietnamese and Thai dishes, and they add the texture diversity you need to take your green bean casserole to the next level.