Planning and preparing a big holiday dinner stresses even the most seasoned of cooks. Having a simple side dish in your arsenal of recipes helps keep you sane and your guests happy and well fed. Here is a simple Thanksgiving green beans recipe to accompany your feast. You can even make them ahead.
French haricot vert (har-ee-ko vare), often called baby green beans, are widely available these days. One of my favorite vegetables, they are slender and more tender than other green bean varieties. You can prepare them a day or two ahead, a great help for the busy holiday cook.
- Large pot to cook the beans
- Large bowl to chill after cooking
- Saute or fry pan to warm them back up
Baby green beans or haricot vert often come ready to cook with ends snapped off in packages, saving you preparation time. If they are not trimmed, line them up on a cutting board and trim off the ends with a chef's knife.
Start by setting up an ice bath. Fill a large bowl half full of ice and fill ¾ full with cold water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the beans into boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then plunge immediately into a big bowl of ice water (called shocking) to halt the cooking process.
Make Them Ahead of Time
As soon as the beans are cold, drain on a clean kitchen towel or in a colander, then refrigerate until needed. This can be done 2-3 days ahead of time.
Pro Tip - Don't just cook the green beans ahead, but ready your garnishes ahead too. Put them in small bowls or bags, label them, and place them on top of or near the beans in the refrigerator. That way you don't have to think about it when you're ready to serve.
How to Warm
Pull beans from the fridge about an hour ahead of time to come to room temperature. They will heat more quickly.
While the turkey or main course is resting, place the green beans in the oven to warm. Depending on the quantity, they will warm pretty quickly in a shallow casserole dish or on a foil covered rimmed baking sheet covered with foil at 350 degrees.
Finish and Serve
To finish the beans, thinly slice a large shallot crosswise into rings (do this in the morning and refrigerate covered until needed). Cook shallot in a little olive oil over medium low heat until they are soft and sweet. Season with salt and pepper. Toss with warmed green beans and sprinkle with chopped toasted pecans. Add bright red pomegranate seeds, like sparkling rubies on your holiday table.
More Thanksgiving Recipes
To complete your Thanksgiving side dishes and dessert, click on the recipe links for:
Thanksgiving Green Beans
- Large pot for cooking
- Large bowl for chilling
- 12 ounces haricot vert French baby green beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil divided use
- 1 large shallot 3 ounces, peeled and thinly sliced into rings
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped pecans hazelnuts or pine nuts, toasted
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Fill a large mixing bowl ⅓ full of ice. Fill the bowl with cold water and set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a full boil.
Cooking and Chilling
- When water comes to a boil, add salt (2 teaspoons). Drop beans into the boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove immediately and plunge into the ice water bath. Chill a few minutes, then drain, dry, toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve. This can be done 1-2 days ahead.
- Place a medium sauté or fry pan over medium low heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. When oil is warm, add the shallot. Cook the shallots until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Either refrigerate until serving or leave at room temperature, covered, if doing right before dinner.
- If chilled, remove the beans from the refrigerator an hour ahead. About 20 minutes before serving, place the green beans in a large shallow casserole dish and top with the shallots. Cover with foil and place in the oven. When green beans are hot, top with nuts and pomegranate seeds. Serve at once.