Fresh green beans, garlic, lemon and a hint of spice is enough to make my heart sing. And it’s all happening in my Lemon Garlic Green Beans.
With just a few ingredients and a short cooking time and you have a delicious side dish suitable for a fancy dinner party or an ordinary Tuesday night.
Easy Steps to Making Lemon Garlic Green Beans
- Wash your beans and cut them to a size you like.
- Place them in a skillet with approximately 1/2 cup of water. Cover and bring the water to a quick boil, then reduce to a simmer. Steam your beans this way for 7 minutes, or less if they’re very thin. Drain.
- Back on the burner, make a space in the center of the skillet and pour in the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, also.
- Shake and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasonings as you like, or cook a little longer if desired.
- Stir in lemon zest and serve.
That’s it! Nothing to it.
Do you need a good zesting tool? A rasp grater will make short work of zesting citrus or making a lovely pulp of ginger or garlic. Great for finely shredded Parmesan cheese, too. I use mine several times a week.
But why not use the lemon juice? Very simple, it will turn your green beans an ugly gray color which isn’t very appetizing. The acid in the lemon juice reacts with the chlorophyll in the beans, causing the gray color. The good news is the lemon zest does an even better job of imparting lemony flavor than the juice ever could – without adding excess moisture, too!
Want another lemony recipe? Try my Lemon Garlic Chicken. It’s a family favorite!
Lemon Garlic Green Beans
- 1½ lbs. fresh green beans, washed, stemmed and cut as desired
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter
- pinch red pepper flakes if desired
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- zest of one lemon (not the juice!)
- Place prepared green beans in a large skillet (or other wide pan with a lid) and add the water. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Reduce heat so a simmer is maintained, but not a hard boil. You don't want to boil the water away. Steam them like this for 7 minutes. Drain.
- Return the pan of beans to the burner and make a clear spot in the center. Pour in the oil and add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Quickly shake to spread the oil. Salt and pepper the beans to taste. Cook, uncovered for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Taste the beans and cook another minute or two if you wish and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Gently stir in the lemon zest and serve immediately. (Don't add the lemon juice or it will turn your beans gray.)