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Sometimes we just want to serve a side that is nice and simple: nothing too fancy or complicated. Today we’re sharing a side dish that’s exactly that. Sauteed green beans are a great way to get those vegetables in and they pack much more flavor than simply boiling or steaming them.

To perfect our green beans, we started off cooking the beans right in the pan, then added water partway through the cooking until the butter evaporated. This gave us perfectly crispy beans that didn’t get too soggy yet were cooked all the way through. To add a delightful acidity we added some lemon and garlic. Keep reading below for this excellent side dish.

Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 medium cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1lb green beans, stem ends snapped off and beans cut into 2″ pieces
  • table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves


  1. Combine butter, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add beans, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown (4 to 6 minutes).
  2. Add water, cover, and cook until the beans are bright green and still crisp (about 2 minutes). Remove the lid, increase the heat to high, and cook until the water evaporates (30 to 60 seconds).
  3. Add the butter mixture and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the beans are crisp-tender, lightly browned, and beginning to wrinkle (1 to 3 minutes). Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and toss with lemon juice and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
  4. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted fromSerious Eats

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