Sautéed greens beans are a healthy side dish that goes well with just about any meal. To make this an easy one-pan recipe, saute garlic and beans first and then steam until crisp-tender.
From a casual weeknight dinner to more elaborate holiday festivities, sauteed green beans are a classic side dish for just about any occasion. For convenience, this recipe cuts down on the number of cookware used.
Instead of the typical blanching process, I steam the green beans using a little vegetable broth in the same pan that I initially used to saute the garlic and butter. This allows all the flavors to carry over. I think we can all appreciate less clean up without sacrificing taste.
How to cook sautéed green beans
- Wash and trim green beans to 3 to 4 inches in size.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
- Saute the minced garlic in the olive oil until fragrant.
- Add beans and vegetable broth to the pan, stir and cover.
- Turn to medium-high heat and cook beans until tender, crisp, and bright green.
- Remove lid and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
- Add butter and stir with the cooked green beans.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
How do I prepare green beans?
Fresh green beans or string beans can be purchased trimmed off the vine with the connection point still intact or already cut in prepacked bags. Make sure to trim off the inedible stem on the very tip. I like to have the beans about 3 to 4 inches in length to make them easy to cook and eat in a few bites.
Garlic for aromatics
The quickest way to add pungent, earthy notes to these green beans is to toss in a generous amount of minced garlic, around 1/16 of an inch. This will ensure maximum allicin development naturally found in the garlic.
I saute the garlic in olive oil first so that aromatics hit the nose immediately, and the flavor better infuses throughout the cooking process. Make sure to not mince the garlic until right before ready to use, for elevated intensity without being overly potent in smell.
Steaming green beans in the pan
Typically quickly boiling or blanching is recommended to par-cook green beans in hot water for several minutes before sauteing. However, for this recipe, I eliminate the blanching step to cut down on the number of pots needed.
Instead, these green beans are covered with a lid and then steamed inside the pan with a flavorful vegetable broth to soften the cell walls. Within minutes the beans are vibrant in color and have a nice tender chew, but not mushy or overcooked.
Saute for flavor and texture
Allowing the liquid broth to evaporate concentrates the flavors in the pan. A final saute of the beans with butter adds a glossy sheen and hint of richness.
Can this be made ahead of time?
Yes! For the best-tasting beans made in advance, I highly recommend using this blanch and shock method. This technique par-cooks the beans while keeping them colorful and crisp. When ready to use just reheat with the garlic and vegetable stock the same day of serving.
If making ahead of time, I would not cover the beans as called out in the recipe instructions, just simmer in the liquid until warmed through and then toss with butter.
What I serve this with
Why do you steam green beans?
Steaming only requires a small amount of liquid to boil and then evaporate into superheated particles to cook the beans throughout. With the lid covered it takes a few minutes for the water to reach above 212ºF (100ºC). Keep it covered as you don’t want to stop the process before the water changes phases or you’ll risk losing all of that intense heat to effectively cook the beans.
Sautéed Green Beans
- 2 pounds (908 g) green beans
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (11 g) finely minced garlic
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable broth, or vegetable stock or water
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) unsalted butter
- Wash green beans thoroughly under cool water and drain well.
- Trim off the stem ends of the green beans. If the beans are very long, cut them in half, they should be about 3 to 4 inches in length.
- Heat a large 12-inch saute pan over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil, once hot add the minced garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 30 seconds.
- Add the green beans and vegetable broth to the pan, stir to combine.
- Increase to medium-high heat. Cover and cook until the beans are crisp-tender and bright green, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove the lid and stir the beans until the water has evaporated about 2 minutes.
- Add the butter and saute until melted and combined with the beans, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat.
- Taste the beans and season with more salt as desired.
- Sprinkle beans with black pepper, stir to combine.
- Serve the green beans warm.
- Make it Vegan: Substitute butter with olive oil.
- Make it Whole30 or Paleo: Use ghee instead of butter.