Recipe for sautéed green beans step by step.

Sautéed Green Beans & Garlic



One of the easiest side dishes I make for the holidays is this fresh Sautéed Green Beans & Garlic. There are many variations of simple green bean side dishes.  There are green beans sauteed with garlic, bacon with green beans,  onions and garlic with green beans, simple green beans with soy sauce, and the popular Chinese ones that I love.  This green bean recipe, however; is simple, festive, and with just a little bit of heat! I love them, my family loves them, and I think you will too!


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So tell me this – how much time do you spend thinking up side dishes for your holiday meals? Personally, I used to spend a good deal of time trying to come up with something different every time.  My family would then ask me: “Where are the green beans you made last time”? Or something that sounded like “I really enjoyed that veggie side dish last time, mom”.  Even when you’re someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen there comes a point that you decide it’s sometimes just better to give them what they love!

Recipe for sautéed green beans and garlic

Not your mama’s green beans

My mother is an amazing cook.  Many of my recipes are hers or hers with little variation.  My poor mother would try to experiment and give us something new and we’d all complain (still do to this day).  “Your recipes are perfect – why are you changing it”??  That being said, I don’t remember string beans being a delicacy in our home.  Mom always spiced them up with salt and pepper, and she’s the best person to tell you how to cook fresh green beans, but they weren’t really any different than the ones I would eat at friends houses. Mom’s recipe for fresh green beans was to keep them fresh, and cook them a little too long, because that’s how dad likes them.  

When started to cook my own Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners I was looking for something a little “more”, and I have a husband who enjoys all of his dishes with a little kick.  That’s when I started to develop a recipe for fresh cooked green beans that was easy to make, but was a little less ordinary. Of course there is a long history of Green Bean Casserole – it’s just not a favorite in our home.

How do you cook green beans?

Green beans don’t need a lot of time, and although I say that mom’s needed something a little more, when they came fresh out of dad’s garden, they were tasty just as they are.  It doesn’t take a lot to prep and cook green beans.  Here are the steps to prepping them for this Sautéed Green Beans & Garlic recipe:

How to make green beans sautéed in oil and garlic.

  • Choose beans that are long and firm.  You don’t want to choose beans that have become too floppy or have started to discolor.  
  • Gently rinse the beans in cool water removing any residue.
  • Place in a strainer to let the remaining water drip off.
  • Make a small cut on either side of the green bean

That’s it.  They’re ready for cooking! 

What’s different about this recipe from regular green beans? Sautéed Green Beans & Garlic are a twist on the traditional!

In this recipe there is no boiling involved.  Boiled green beans are super common (and super boring).  In this recipe we blister the green beans in a little olive oil and add a little spice with crushed red pepper flakes.  They’re different and delicious!


Recipe for sautéed green beans step by step.

Sautéed Green Beans & Garlic

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes

These easy and tasty green beans bring a little something different to the table. They're blistered, with a touch of onion and garlic - and if you're anything like my husband - you can add a kick of heat as well.


  • 1 pound French green beans (they are the long, skinny ones)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves/minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 shallots/sliced
  • Salt 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Trim the ends off each of the green beans.
  2. Heat oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add shallots and cook until tender
  4. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes tossing continuously adding the garlic the last minute of cooking.
  5. Remove beans from oil and set on paper towel
  6. Add the beans to a serving dish, toss with zest, shallots, and spices.
  7. Serve immediately.


Green beans are something you need to make the day of - so if you're adding these easy green beans to your Thanksgiving menu, cook them the day of.

Make sure you wait to add the garlic as mentioned above. Cooking it longer may result in bitter garlic, which doesn't taste good at all.

Variations on this recipe:

  • Add sliced lemons to the pan when you are almost done cooking.
  • Sprinkle some bread crumbs into the pan to toast near the last minute of sauteeing.

This recipe can be eaten hot or cold!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 150Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 5gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g
This recipe gives you a little bit of a new twist on a classic recipe, and I hope you enjoy it! These are the beans that are on my Thanksgiving and Christmas tables every year, and they haven’t failed me yet!



PS: Try these other holiday sides to complete your table:

Easy Make Ahead Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes

Top 10 Thanksgiving Sides (Recipes)

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