How to Cook Fresh Green Beans
Get out of your green bean rut with these incredible ideas for how to cook, roast, steam and sauté them. Plus, find out how many calories are in green beans, what nutrients are in green beans and why they're so good for you.
Pictured Recipe: Vegan Green Bean Casserole
While one of the most iconic uses for the ever-popular green bean is in a creamy casserole at the holidays, fresh beans purchased in-season at your local market can't be beat. (Fun fact: even dogs can enjoy the deliciousness of green beans). Also called snap beans or string beans, green beans actually come in a range of colors, from green to yellow to purple. When a recipe calls for green beans, most likely it means the ones that are green in color - although any color will work.
"Haricots verts" is simply French for "green beans." However, the term is often used for the very slender beans, also called French beans (not to be confused with frozen french-cut green beans), found in the produce section of many large supermarkets. Contrary to what many think, green beans are technically legumes because their fruit grows in a pod, whereas beans usually refer to the whole plant.
It's easy to add beautiful color to a dish with green beans. Toss green beans with pasta for an easy hot or cold supper. Or simply sauté some garden-fresh green beans with garlic for an easy, healthy side dish to serve with your favorite grilled meats. Whether you grow your own or buy them at the store or farmers' market, you can learn simple ways to cook green beans and enjoy their incomparable flavor.
Green Bean Nutrition
Green beans are a tasty, low-calorie and nutrient-rich vegetable. A 1-cup serving of cooked green beans delivers 4 grams of fiber and 14 percent of the Daily Value for both vitamin C and folate, a B vitamin important for the healthy growth of new cells. Green beans are also a top source of silicon, a mineral that is critical for strong bones.
The nutrients in 1 cup of cooked green beans are as follows:
- Calories 44
- Fat 0g (sat 0g)
- Cholesterol 0mg
- Carbs 10g
- Total sugars 5g (added 0g)
- Fiber 4g
- Protein 2g
- Sodium 1mg
- Potassium 182mg.
Related: All the Green Bean Recipes You Need
How to Prep & Cut Fresh Green Beans
Cut off the stem ends. The most efficient way to do this is to line them up on a cutting board and do several at once. If they are curvy, cut or snip them individually; rinse in cool water. Small beans are most aesthetically pleasing left whole; larger beans can be cut into desired lengths.
Five Simple Ways to Cook Green Beans
Cooked green beans need only a little butter and salt, but they can be made even more delicious with flavor enhancements, including other vegetables, such as tomatoes, onions and corn; crisp-cooked bacon; toasted walnuts or almonds; lemon; sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds; and herbs such as tarragon, dill and chives.
1. How to Sauté Green Beans
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 minced shallot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1 pound trimmed green beans and cook, stirring often, until browned in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
2. How to Roast Green Beans
Toss 1 pound trimmed green beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 450°F oven, stirring once, until tender and browned in spots, 25 to 35 minutes. Serves 4.
3. How to Steam Green Beans
Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add 1 pound trimmed green beans. Cover; cook until tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
4. How to Microwave Green Beans
Place 1 pound trimmed green beans in a large microwave-safe casserole with 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook on High until tender-crisp, stirring once, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
5. How to Boil Green Beans
Cook 1 pound trimmed green beans in a large pot of boiling water until tender-crisp, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4.
How to Shop for Fresh Green Beans
Green beans should snap. Avoid limp or flabby beans that do not break with a crisp sound. Avoid any beans that have brownish scars. The best green beans are small, thin and firm. The peak season for green beans is July to September, but you can find fresh green beans year-round.
If it's out of season or you want to save money, frozen green beans are great convenience item to keep in your freezer for quick and easy cooking. Frozen green beans are nutritious because they're picked at the peak of ripeness and then frozen to seal in their nutrients. And, most of them don't have added sodium like some canned vegetables do.
How to Store Fresh Green Beans
Wrap fresh green beans in dry paper towels or a brown paper bag. Place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 4 days.