These easy Sautéed Green Beans are a healthy and tasty side dish that's quick and can be made year round using fresh or frozen green beans. This recipe is gluten free and easily made dairy free & vegan.
- About Sautéed Green Beans
- How to Make Sautéed Green Beans
- Frequently Asked Questions
About Sautéed Green Beans
Hands down, this is the best way to cook frozen green beans or even fresh green beans in my opinion. Probably because it is so easy, only needs 5 ingredients, can be made year round, and tastes delicious.
I mean isn't it always nice to have a couple of easy side dishes that you can turn to when you're feeling less than inspired about cooking dinner? Well, these sautéed green beans are perfect for that. They're also a lovely side dish for a holiday meal when everything on your plate is casseroles, sauces, and more casseroles. (Related: I highly suggest adding some Roasted Thanksgiving Veggies to your table too)
Ok, so back to green beans. I seriously serve them with everything because they don't have an overpowering flavor so there's no competition with other dishes. I always serve them with my popular crockpot pork tenderloin and mashed potatoes.
They have the perfect crisp-tender texture because you quickly blanch them before sautéing them. FYI: Blanching means you boil the green beans for a few minutes, then put them in ice-cold water to stop them from continuing to cook.
Besides how tasty they are, I love that these green beans are super quick to make; we're talking less than 15 minutes cooking/prep time. And if you buy frozen, then you'll have pretty much no prep time. If you buy fresh, you'll simply have to snap off the ends.
Green beans: The beauty of this recipe is that it is the best way to cook fresh green beans and it's a great way for cooking frozen green beans. If you are using fresh green beans, you'll need to snap off the ends of the beans (which is a great activity for kids to help in the kitchen). Frozen green beans are usually prepared, so it makes it even easier. However, frozen green beans will take a few extra minutes to cook when being blanched since they are frozen.
Butter: I typically use butter, but olive oil or even bacon grease taste great with these green beans. I don't recommend using coconut oil because it would give these a strong coconut flavor. Avocado oil would be ok, but I like having a more flavored fat like butter, bacon grease, or olive oil to give the green beans a little more taste.
Garlic: Definitely recommend making sure you use garlic in these sautéed green beans especially since there are only 5 ingredients in the recipe. Use fresh garlic or bottled minced garlic if needed. I have tried them with garlic powder, and they turned out ok but are definitely better with fresh garlic.
Salt: You need to add a little salt to bring out the flavors of these sautéed green beans. I absolutely would not skip it.
Red pepper flakes: I love the slightly spicy kick you get from the red pepper flakes (or crushed red pepper), but you could use less for a more mild dish. Or substitute with black pepper, white pepper or cayenne pepper if needed (use the same amount or less if desired).
- green beans 1 pound: $1.99
- butter 1 tablespoon: $0.11
- garlic 1 clove: $0.06
- red pepper flakes: $0.05
- salt 1/4 teaspoon: $0.01
TOTAL COST: $2.22 or $0.56/serving (Based on San Diego Sprouts 2019)
How to Make Sautéed Green Beans
Time needed: 12 minutes.
This recipe is incredibly simple, so here are step by step photos on how to make sautéed green beans.
- Blanch the green beans: Add green beans to boiling water.
Cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove from boiling water and transfer to ice cold water.
- Melt butter and add garlic to the skillet.
Stir for about 30 seconds.
- Add green beans to the butter.
- Stir to coat the green beans in the butter and garlic.
- Let cook undisturbed so the green beans get a lightly brown color.
- Add salt and red pepper flakes.
- Stir, serve, and enjoy!
How to Blanch Green Beans
Blanching green beans is simple and you can go use either fresh or frozen green beans.
- Add the green beans to boiling water and boil for 2 minutes.
- Transfer to ice cold water. [Either use a slotted spoon to transfer. Or drain out the hot water and add the green beans to the ice water.]
Butter: substitute butter with olive oil or bacon grease.
Garlic: use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder in place of the fresh garlic.
Pepper: you can use white pepper, black pepper, or cayenne pepper. Or omit entirely.
How to Make Allergy Friendly
These are vegetarian, gluten free, egg free, nut free, and soy free. To make them dairy free, replace the butter with olive oil (which will also make them vegan) or bacon grease (which will obviously make them no longer vegetarian). Green beans are also low FODMAP veggies if that is something of concern for you.
To subtly change the flavor of the green beans, you can use olive oil or bacon grease. Also, you can use black pepper, white pepper, or cayenne pepper to alter the flavor a little bit.
Alternative Prep & Cooking
If you buy green beans in a steamer bag, you can skip the blanching step and follow the directions to steam the green beans.
Alternatively to blanching, is to steam the green beans for 2 minutes. You don't want to steam them completely so they aren't overcooked after being sautéed.
Make Ahead Ideas
Since these only take a few minutes to make and taste best enjoyed immediately after cooking, you can snap the ends off the green beans if needed and mince the garlic. Keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Otherwise, everything is pretty quick and ready to go.
Keep these in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I don't recommend freezing them after cooking because the texture will slightly change when defrosted. However, if you must freeze them, freeze in an airtight container for up to one month.
To reheat, add to a skillet over medium-high heat until warmed through (it will take longer for the frozen beans to reheat, obviously). You might want to add an additional teaspoon of oil or butter to help them get crispy again.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have to boil green beans before sautéing them?
I recommend blanching the green beans before sautéing them to help them get a little crispy and have more flavor when sautéing. If you start sautéing them right from the freezer, they will release a lot of water which will cause the green beans to be a little soggy and not get the lightly browned, crispy coating that makes sautéed green beans so great.
How long do you blanch green beans?
You only need to blanch the green beans for about 2-4 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Then transfer to the ice water.
Nutrition benefits of this recipe
This simple recipe is a great way to add green veggies to your plate without having to make a salad. Green beans have been shown to help improve health conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Like many pants, green beans are full of phytochemicals and antioxidants. Green beans are high in Vitamin K, Vitamin C, manganese, and folate. Adding the small amount of fat, like butter, helps your body absorb these nutrients. And the salt adds flavor without too much sodium per serving.
Basically, these sautéed green beans are a very nutritious side dish to round out any meal.
What to serve with Sautéed Green Beans with garlic
The options are endless for what to serve with these green beans. I personally love mashed potatoes plus slow cooker pork tenderloin since it has a tasty gravy to go along with it. Or serve with this lemon garlic shrimp with some bread. But really anything... pork, beef, poultry, seafood, and vegetarian main meals are all great with the sautéed green beans.
These sautéed green beans are a fabulous side dish for almost any meal because they have a mild, yet fresh flavor so they won't compete with any other dishes. You can make sautéed fresh green beans or use frozen green beans, so they can be made year round. Plus, there are only 5 simple ingredients and they take minutes to make.
MORE EASY VEGGIE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE:
- Sautéed Broccolini
- Rosemary and Garlic Carrots
- Five Spice Baby Bok Choy
- Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes
- Vegan Creamed Spinach
Sautéed Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- If the green beans are fresh, snap or cut the ends off. [Usually, the frozen ones already have ends removed]
- Fill a large skillet half way with water. Bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add green beans. Stir and boil for 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water.
- After the green beans have boiled 2 minutes, transfer them to the bowl of ice water.
- Dump the boiling water out of the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add butter and garlic.
- Drain green beans.
- Once butter has melted, add drained green beans. Sauté for about 5 minutes until crisp-tender.
- Season with red pepper flakes and salt. Enjoy!
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This post was originally published January 25, 2013. Text, recipe, video and photos have been updated/added.
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