poor scientist. will blog 4 food.

the culinary adventures of a self-described foodie

Magnificent, Easy-Peasy Green Beans


I still have a couple of Mendocino posts to write, but I had to post this recipe for sautéed green beans ASAP because it’s that good.

Now, I’ve only ever cooked green beans once before, and that was when I decided to make “dry-fried green beans,” aka the delicious green bean dish they serve at Chinese restaurants, usually with some finely diced shallots and sometimes with a bit of ground pork. Well, the ugly truth (and perhaps you might want to stop reading here) is that those green beans are so good because they’re fried not once, but twice. First, they are deep-fried, then they are stir fried in a ton of oil. After that slightly traumatic experience, I haven’t revisited green beans… that is, not until yesterday.

Originally, I was going to cook brussel sprouts as one of the veggie side dishes to a roast chicken (more on that later). However, the brussel sprouts looked downright heinous at the market, so I opted for the green beans. I kinda made up the recipe as I went along, and they turned out wonderfully. I happened to have drippings from the roast chicken on hand, which probably made them that much better, but really you could substitute with chicken or veggie stock instead of water and they’d be pretty good too (and healthier to boot!). Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Magnificent (and super easy) green beans


  • olive oil or animal fat (pancetta, bacon, roast chicken drippings), 2 Tbsp
  • green beans, 1 lb, top and tailed (i.e., remove the tips)
  • water or stock (~1/2 to 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • red pepper flakes, to taste
  • lemon juice (optional)


  1. Heat oil over medium high heat in a large saute pan.
  2. Add green beans, stir for about a minute.
  3. Add salt, pepper, red pepper, garlic.  Stir and let garlic cook for a bit (until fragrant but before it burns).
  4. Add water or stock, bring to a boil.
  5. Cover and steam for ~6 min or until most of the water has evaporated, or until green beans are to desired texture. Add more water if necessary.
  6. Turn off heat. Finish with a sprinkle of lemon juice.

As mentioned above, I roasted a chicken, which I haven’t done in a while. I think the first time I roasted a chicken, it was so complicated (and I burned it), that it intimidated me a little bit. But since then, I’ve regained my confidence and a most excellent, simple recipe for roast chicken from EF. Seriously all it is is this: Wash and dry the bird. Rub olive oil, salt, and pepper on the skin and then bake at 450F until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. I put a LOT of kosher salt on the skin and it was darn tasty. Oh yeah, EF also mentioned a tip from an old friend about roasting chicken: if your kitchen gets smokey, then you’re doing it right. My kitchen got so smokey that the fire alarm went off twice, after which we took out the battery. (Don’t worry, we replaced it after lunch!) So, I guess it was a successfully roasted chicken!

The other side dishes were also exceedingly simple yet tasty (notice a trend here?). I made the Near East brand of tomato and lentil couscous, which was fantastic. I love their couscous, and I wish they made them in bigger packages/servings. The other dish I made was roasted sweet potato “fries,” which I put in quotes because they aren’t crispy like fries but I did cut them into strips. I would’ve liked to make them more crispy, but I ended up burning the first batch, due to the high oven temp (450). Usually, I roast veggies at 400 and not on the lower rack, but this time I had no choice. They still came out great; we just ate the unburnt bits.

One of the best meals I've ever made (yes, I'm quite proud of myself!)


Author: Jen

Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

4 thoughts on “Magnificent, Easy-Peasy Green Beans

  1. Those pictures are making me salivate!

  2. Well, I guess that answers my enduring question of why I like Chinese-style green beans so much.

    What if there could be a perfect storm of greenbeanation…double fried in bacon grease…

  3. Looks delicious! I did not know that about twice fried Chinese green beans. Here I have been thinking it was a healthy dish!!!

  4. @Tim: don’t drool on your keyboard!
    @Zach: “perfect storm of greenbeanation” — love it! It should be an item at one of those “heart attack diners” that serve huge burgers.
    @MamaTamTam: yeah, me too! Now I only eat like 2 or 3. 😦

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