Fresh green beans in just five minutes? Yep. That’s all it takes, excluding the time for water to boil. So simple! After just five minutes you can dress the green beans in a variety of ways and eat immediately or chill for heating later. This simple technique was shared with a friend recently and she told me her kids will now eat green beans. I hope it will help you get a quick vegetable dish on the table for your family. Plus there are many things you can do with quick and easy green beans.
How to Cook Quick and Easy Green Beans
Briefly cooking something in boiling water is called blanching. It’s typically done with vegetables to partially cook them for heating or finishing at a later time. With green beans, they are cooked perfectly in five minutes. Green beans stay bright green and are perfectly tender, not gray, overcooked or soggy.
Green beans cooked this way can be served immediately with a splash of olive oil or coconut oil, a little salt and pepper, and maybe a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs. You can dress them up many ways for variety.
This also technique helps you to cook ahead and save time. If cooking for eating later, immediately plunge the cooked green beans into a bowl filled with ice water. Chill a few minutes then drain, dry and refrigerate for 4 days. Just heat and dress as desired.
To save time cleaning the green beans (snapping off the stem end), buy the ready-to-cook baby green beans widely available in produce sections these days. They are sometimes called French green beans or haricot vert. These tender, slim green beans are my favorite. Figure about 3 ounces of raw fresh green beans per person.
What to do With Quick and Easy Green Beans
- Simply dress with olive oil, salt and pepper, plus a little fresh chopped parsley or other herb
- Add chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans, pistachios or pine nuts for crunch and texture
- Sprinkle with citrus zest for color and flavor
- Use a “fancy” finishing oil, such as walnut, hazelnut, white truffle (my favorite)
- Make a cool green bean, tomato and corn salad. This is great for warmer weather
- A more dressed up side dish, Green beans with shallots, pecans and pomegranate seeds
- Top green beans with oven-roasted baby tomatoes (which you can make ahead in 20-25 minutes)
- Drizzle with store-bought or homemade Balsamic syrup
- Use green beans as part of a Salad Nicoise along with cooked or smoked salmon or chicken for a full-meal salad
- Toss with sauteed mushrooms (I often use sliced shitake mushrooms) and a little toasted sesame oil and ginger for Asian flavor
Quick and Easy Green Beans
- 12 ounces fresh 340 grams, I like the French beans or haricot vert the best, raw green beans
- 1 tablespoon sea salt for cooking water
- Salt and pepper to season after cooking
- A drizzle of olive coconut or white truffle oil to dress before serving
- Fresh chopped herbs such as parsley optional
- Garnish options: A sprinkle of chopped walnuts pecans, pistachios or pine nuts, a drizzle of Balsamic syrup, oven-roasted baby tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, citrus zest. See post for more ideas.
- Fill a large pot (5 quarts or liters) 3/4 full with cold water. Bring to a full boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. The water will bubble up wildly. Drop green beans in and set timer for 5 minutes. Ready a strainer or colander to drain cooked green beans. Dress as desired and serve while hot.
- Note – If you are cooking green beans ahead for future use, ready a large bowl of ice water. When 5 minutes is up, move green beans to the ice water. When cold (just a few minutes), drain and refrigerate. Cooked green beans will keep 4-5 days in the refrigerator.