These green beans with browned butter and almonds are a different take on a traditional side dish. It gets loads of flavor from toasted almonds, of course. But it doesn’t stop there—the addition of red pepper flakes, shallots, lemon zest, chives, and a drizzle of walnut oil makes this 30-minute side spectacular.
Adapted from Christopher Kimball | Milk Street Vegetables | Voracious, 2021
We especially like the texture of slivered almonds in this dish, but just about any type of nut pairs well with the beans. Red pepper flakes add a touch of piquancy and lemon zest and juice brighten up the flavors.—Christopher Kimball
Why Our Testers Loved This
Our testers loved that this quick and easy spin on classic green beans almondine was ready in just 30 minutes. They also raved about the spectacular combination of warm toasted nuts, lemony green beans, and nutty brown butter.
Notes on Ingredients
- Nuts–Almonds are classic here, but feel free to substitute walnuts or hazelnuts, depending on your preference and what you have on hand.
- Green beans–If you can get your hands on the French-style green beans or haricots verts, feel free to use them here. Note that they may cook a little faster than regular beans. Do use fresh green beans here.
- Toasted walnut oil–A drizzle of this nutty oil elevates the dish, but it can be pricey, so it’s ok to skip it.
How to Make This Recipe
- Toast the almonds. Cook the almonds over dry heat until golden brown. Reserve half of them for garnish.
- Sauté the shallots. Cook the shallots in butter until tender and golden.
- Cook the green beans. Add the green beans and water to the pan, cover, and steam until barely tender. Uncover the pan and continue cooking until the water has evaporated and beans begin to sizzle.
- Serve. Stir in the lemon zest and juice and season to taste. Garnish with reserved almonds, and chives and walnut oil, if using.
How do you choose the freshest green beans?
Look for fresh perky ones, not sad and floppy ones. They should be bright, solid green, not speckled with black dots. You want firm, smooth, vibrantly colored pods that snap easily when you bend them.
What’s the best way to store green beans?
For a big meal, you might be buying food ahead of time. For best results, store unwashed green beans in your fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Wash them right before using.
Can I use French green beans or haricots verts?
Yes, definitely. They’re a little more tender and sweeter. They’re also smaller—this means that you’ll need to keep an eye on your timing so you don’t overcook them.
- Save a little lemon zest for sprinkling over the top of your finished dish for an extra pop of flavor and color.
- This dish is best served immediately after making it. To get ahead, you can trim your beans and zest and juice your lemon, but we don’t recommend preparing it in advance.
More great green bean recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Green Beans with Browned Butter and Almonds
- 1/3 cup (3 oz) slivered almonds or substitute chopped walnuts or chopped hazelnuts
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) salted butter
- 3 medium (3 oz) shallots peeled and sliced into thin rings
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 cup water
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds green beans trimmed
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1 lemon), preferably organic
- Chopped fresh chives for garnish (optional)
- Toasted walnut oil for serving (optional)
- In a large Dutch oven over medium, toast the almonds, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, 5 to 6 minutes. Dump about half of the almonds into a small bowl and reserve for garnish.
- Add the butter to the remaining almonds in the Dutch oven. When melted, add the shallots and pepper flakes, then increase to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, then bring to a boil. Stir in the beans, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes.
- Uncover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the moisture evaporates and the beans begin to sizzle, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Move to a serving dish and sprinkle with the reserved almonds. Garnish with chopped fresh chives and/or a drizzle of toasted walnut oil, if desired.
- Green beans–Use fresh green beans for best results.
- Add some color–Save a little lemon zest for sprinkling over the finished dish to add a pop of color and flavor.
- Get ahead–You can trim your beans and zest and juice your lemon ahead of time, but we don’t recommend making the dish until right before serving.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe for green beans with butter and almonds seems fairly simple but it really has a lot of flavour. The slight heat from the red pepper flakes elevates this dish to a “wow” side dish and the lovely toasty flavour of the almonds and the brightness from the lemon zest and juice play well together to make a very well-balanced dish.
What is not to like about fresh green beans cooked until crisp-tender with a hint of pepper and freshened with lemon juice and topped with toasted almonds? Green beans are green beans until you add the almonds, shallots, and flavoring.
The technique of browning the almonds and keeping half in the pan while you cook the beans added a dimension to the beans. It is hard to explain the combination of flavors but it all worked beautifully together. This recipe is a keeper.
This is a tasty way to prepare green beans. In fact, they become the star of the show. I’d suggest serving these with other items that do not have complex flavors. They would be good with salt and pepper rib eye steak, a roast, roasted chicken, or just by themselves if you’re vegetarian.
I had only sliced almonds on hand and found them to be great in this dish, perhaps because there was more surface area to brown. Be careful not to overcook as their crispness is part of their appeal.
This recipe for green beans with almonds and butter was such a wonderful alternative to regular steamed green beans. I served the green beans alongside some pan-seared pork chops and they complemented each other perfectly!
I especially enjoyed the texture of the toasted almonds and the richness of the toasty brown butter added to the dish. Adding a little lemon at the end led to a perfectly balanced side vegetable dish I’ll make again and again.
In about 30 minutes, you can pull together a flavorful “platter on the table” pretty side dish! This serves 4-5 people depending on how many other items are in the mix. I found it needed a good bit more salt than it called for and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes gives it a little more heat than I’d like in this dish; 1/4 teaspoon may be the better choice. I’d recommend saving a pinch of the zest for sprinkling on at the end as a nice pop of color to mix it up with all the brown.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I love the buttery, lemony, nutty backdrop of these green beans with browned butter and almonds. All the flavors meld together in a way that makes this a great side for almost any meal at all. I also loved the options for substitutions for the nuts—I vastly prefer walnuts to slivered almonds, and in this case, they were a solid addition to the recipe.