Green beans almondine is one of those side dish recipes that ticks all the boxes: it’s elegant, delicious, and super easy to make ~ it’s one of my favorites!
green beans almondine is effortlessly elegant and very French
This French dish has been on my radar since I was a kid. Back then you’d regularly find it on the menus of ‘fancy’ restaurants, but it’s definitely fallen out general view since. I’m crazy about almonds and so this dish has stayed with me for life. I love it because it jazzes up an everyday meal, but also provides that essential fresh green veggie side that goes missing on so many holiday tables. I cook them so they’re crisp/tender and everybody goes wild for them.
almondine (almandine) simply means “with almonds”
In France ‘almandine’ means a dish is cooked with butter and almonds. Other foods cooked almandine style are asparagus, and trout.
green beans almondine relies on very simple flavors
Only 4 ingredients make up this dish but, in true Mediterranean fashion, they each do their part. The brilliance of this recipe is that you don’t need or want to jazz it up; those 4 ingredients work hard to make the dish perfect.
- fresh green beans
- you’ll lightly steam the beans just to their crisp/tender perfect state. This brings out the color and flavor of the beans without over cooking them.
- we’re using sliced almonds. You could also use slivered almonds.
- butter is key to this recipe, and there’s lots of it.
- leave out the salt, or add to taste if you use salted butter. A good amount of salt is important for bringing out the flavors.
making the almondine sauce
This is a simple sauce with delicious flavor all due to the almighty ‘Maillard reaction‘ (appropriately French!) ~ the chemical reaction that happens when you introduce heat to the proteins and sugars in food. In this case both the butter and the almonds turn golden brown over the stove top heat and their flavors become so much more complex.
The butter sauce enrobes each and every green bean and the result is pure bliss. It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the green bean casserole (which I love as much as the next girl) and if I had my way we’d have them both on our Thanksgiving table!
should you cut green beans, or leave them whole?
This is purely a matter of preference. The only difference is that cut beans are easier to eat. So for casual meals I cut them in half or thirds, but for more formal meals like Thanksgiving I leave them whole because they look pretty and elegant that way.
“French’ style green beans are sliced julienne style. You can do this quickly and easily using the slicer blade of a food processor, just cut the beans to fit the size of your tube and stack them horizontally.
how to trim green beans
Truly the most labor intensive part of making green beans almandine is trimming the beans! Only one end, the little stem end, needs to be trimmed; the bottom end can stay. How to tell the difference? The bottom end of the bean is pointed with a little sprout like tip. The stem end of the bean, to be trimmed, is more squared off and often has a bit of stem attached.
Do you need to remove the ‘strings’ from green beans?
Green beans can also be called string beans, and this is because in the past they contained tough strings that ran down their length. These were so fibrous they had to be removed by hand before cooking, but that’s no longer the case, thanks to selective breeding!
how to cook green beans to crisp tender ~ don’t over cook them!
The secret to cooking green beans is to avoid boiling them. I lightly steam them either in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave. Green beans are at their best when they are cooked just beyond the raw stage, but no further. If I’m serving my beans chilled or in a salad I will shock the beans in ice water immediately after cooking to stop the process. When I’m serving them hot, like for this recipe, I skip that step. Note: some people like their beans on the softer side, so if this is you, just cook the beans for a minute or two longer.
how to serve green beans almondine
Transfer the beans from the skillet to a serving dish, and then drizzle the sauce and almonds over top.
Because of the shape of green beans, a serving spoon isn’t ideal. A serving fork will work, but I find scissor tongs, or serving tongs, work best. They allow the diner to securely grab a portion of beans in one fell swoop. Everyone should have this classic serving utensil in their collection.
why I love this recipe
This is the type of side dish I can get excited about. If it’s on my plate I will scarf down every last bean before moving on to anything else. Green beans have a lovely meaty quality that sets them apart from so many other veggies and this recipe really does them justice. The simple flavors mean it can go with just about any meal, so that’s a huge plus.
I’ve spotted other recipes that add extras like vinegar, brown sugar, or garlic, but I really think they’re unnecessary. The flavor of fresh green beans with those golden nuts is supposed to be the star of this dish.
more classic side dish recipes
- Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary
- Rainbow Carrots with Browned Butter and Sage
- Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Browned Butter
- Whipped Kabocha Squash with Vanilla Bean and Nutmeg
- Maple Candied Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
- Favorite Green Bean Casserole from scratch!
- Butter Pecan Pumpkin Souffle
Green Beans Almondine
- Melt the butter and salt in a skillet and add the sliced almonds. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly, until the butter is browned and the almonds are golden. This will take about 5 minutes, give or take. Then set the pan aside. Note: stay by the pan because you don't want the butter to burn.
- Put the trimmed beans in a large microwaveable bowl with 1/2 cup water. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Remove the bowl and give the beans a good toss. Cover again and microwave for an additional 2 minutes.
- Drain the beans immediately and add to the pan with the butter and almonds. Give everything a really good toss, over medium heat if the butter has cooled.
- Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve immediately.