Sautéed French Green Beans Make The Easiest Side Dish
We are constantly looking for easy side dishes that impress. French green beans (called haricot verts) are already one of our absolute favorite vegetables, but when tossed with a simple walnut and anchovy vinaigrette you would not believe how much flavor can get packed in.
Here’s why we love this sautéed green bean recipe so much:
- Texture! Between crunchy French beans, toasted walnuts, chopped capers, and scallions, you get a lot of texture without a ton of fuss.
- Umami! What do you get when you combine anchovy filets, capers, Dijon, and vinegar? An umami bomb of flavor! If you like savory, salty flavors (hi, that’s us!), you will love this string bean recipe.
- Healthy and nutritious! Other than a pinch of sugar (which you can totally omit, we like the subtle sweetness), this recipe is low on fat and high in vitamins and fiber. Don’t forget the anchovies, which add Omega-3 fatty acids!
- It’s quick! In about 15 minutes you can have this side dish on your table. Three cheers for easy-to-prep and quick-to-cook dishes!
- French green beans versus traditional green beans: Here’s the thing about cooking with haricot verts — because they are thinner and more tender, there is absolutely no need to blanch or parboil and they cook much quicker!
If you’re crazy about the flavor and texture in this dish, we think you will absolutely love our Sicilian cauliflower, which also features capers, but has pine nuts and raisins (love the sweetness they add!).
Ingredients for Sautéed French Green Beans
- French green beans (haricot verts)
- Anchovy filets
- Red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
- Capers, chopped
- Dijon mustard
- Whole grain mustard
- Pinch of sugar
- Fresh herbs, such as dill, chives, parsley, tarragon, chervil
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
French green beans are definitely my preferred bean when cooking, but don’t worry — this will taste just as delicious with regular sautéed green beans. Tips below for how to adapt the recipe!
Why are we using two types of mustard? We love the flavor of Dijon, but nothing can replace the texture you get from whole grain mustard! Don’t have one of these? Feel free to use your favorite mustard or substitute with honey mustard, which adds a great sweetness.
How to Trim Green Beans
Most fresh green beans or haricot verts are available already cleaned and trimmed in bags at the grocery store. If you’re buying fresh, simply cut off the root end of the bean, then discard.
Alternatively, you can snap the root end off the beans and discard. Whichever is easiest!
Flavoring The French Green Beans
First, toast the walnuts. While you could certainly leave them raw, we love how nutty they get when toasted. Highly recommend.
Cook the anchovy filets. Don’t be nervous about the anchovies! They add the most wonderful, salty, umami flavor. By cooking them in a bit of olive oil, they break down and melt so you’re never going to bite into a big piece of anchovy. Also, adding a pinch of sugar to the vinaigrette, you add a subtle sweetness that plays off the salty ingredients beautifully.
Let’s make the walnut anchovy vinaigrette!
Walnut Vinaigrette For Sautéed Green Beans
While the walnut and anchovy vinaigrette might seem a little too pungent or salty based on the ingredients, rest assured it is well balanced! But this is definitely a green bean recipe for people who like savory umami flavors!
A bright, acidic vinaigrette gets poured over the sautéed French green beans just as they finish cooking. The heat from the haricot verts and the hot skillet will warm up the vinaigrette ingredients, basically making sure your kitchen smells amazing.
How to make the walnut vinaigrette: Combine red wine vinegar, chopped capers, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, sugar, fresh herbs, sautéed anchovies, and olive oil in a large bowl.
Whisk together until thoroughly combined, then set aside until string beans are fully cooked (more on this below!).
How To Cook Green Beans
Whether you’ve got string beans or French green beans (haricot verts), this recipe will work no matter how you cook the beans.
You’ve got options! Steam, sauté, roast, or boil. You can leave the green beans whole (but trimmed!) or cut them into 1″ pieces. This green bean recipe is all about the walnut vinaigrette!
Our preferred method for cooking green beans? Sautéing! Here’s how to sauté green beans:
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add French green beans and cook, stirring often, until blistered (but not burnt!) on all sides and the beans have the slightest crunch left, about 5-7 minutes.
- Season lightly with kosher salt, they won’t need much since they’re getting tossed with the anchovy vinaigrette.
- When the sautéed green beans are done, add the vinaigrette (already mixed together on the side), then toss quickly to coat.
That’s it! Sautéed green beans could not be easier!
Other Methods For Cooking Green Beans
- Boiling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, yet still crisp, 3 minutes. Drain and immediately transfer to an ice bath. After 5 minutes, drain and toss with anchovy vinaigrette and walnuts.
- Roasting. Toss French greens with 2 Tbsp olive oil, then place in a rimmed baking sheet. Season with ½ tsp kosher salt, then roast at 425F for 15-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Toss roasted string beans with anchovy vinaigrette and walnuts.
- Steaming. Place 1 ½ cups water in a pan, then place a steaming basket on top. The top of the water should not touch the steaming basket. Bring to a boil, then add string beans. Place lid securely on top and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender. Transfer to a bowl and toss with anchovy vinaigrette and walnuts.
Definitely give this French green bean recipe a try if you like delicious, easy vegetable side dishes that don’t take up a lot of time and are healthy and nutritious!
If you make Sautéed French Green Beans, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below.
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For other simple weeknight vegetable dishes, check out the following:
- Oven roasted broccoli
- Tandoori oven roasted carrots
- Deconstructed falafel sandwich
- Vegan roasted vegetable salad
- Roasted golden beets with horseradish
Sautéed French Green Beans
- 1 lb French green beans (haricot verts), trimmed, see note below
- ½ cup walnuts chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 anchovy filets
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped herbs such as dill, tarragon, chives, parsley, or chervil
- 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp capers drained, chopped
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard
- pinch of granulated sugar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 2 large scallions cut into 1" pieces
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add chopped walnuts. Cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes, stirring often so they don't burn. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then add anchovies. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to carefully press into and break apart the filets. Be careful, oil may splatter. Cook until the anchovies are melted and broken down, then pour into a mixing bowl.
- Make the vinaigrette. To the bowl with the anchovy oil, add chopped herbs, vinegar, capers, Dijon, whole grain mustard, and sugar. Whisk to combine, then set aside.
- Cook the French green beans. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet, then heat over medium-high heat. When hot, add trimmed green beans and cook, stirring often, until blistered (not burnt!), about 5-7 minutes. Green beans should still have a slight crunch to them. Season with kosher salt.
- Add the vinaigrette. Pour the anchovy vinaigrette into the skillet along with the sliced scallions, then toss to combine. Transfer cooked green beans to a large serving bowl. Top with toasted walnuts, then serve immediately or at room temperature.
- If you can’t find haricot verts (French green beans), use traditional green beans, trimmed and cleaned. Note that cook time will be a few minutes longer as green beens are thicker than haricot verts.
- Alternatively, if cooking traditional green beans, you can parboil them for 3 minutes in boiling water, then transfer to warm skillet to sauté to help them cook quicker.
- Don’t want to sauté the green beans? Add the toasted walnuts and anchovy vinaigrette over your favorite green beans (steamed, roasted, boiled)!
- We leave the string beans whole (but trimmed) for presentation, but they can of course be cut into 1″ pieces before being sautéed.
- Green beans tossed with the vinaigrette can be served warm or room temperature.