Wondering what goes with green beans? Learn the best ingredient pairings, meal ideas, popular flavor combinations, and other helpful tips.
Knowing what goes well with green beans gives you a starting point for putting meals together using the ingredients you already have on hand.
Whether you want to reduce food waste, get more creative in the kitchen, or improve your cooking skills, it starts with understanding what flavors pair well together.
What Are Green Beans?
Green beans, also called string beans or snap beans, are botanically a fruit, but classified as a vegetable because of how they're used in cooking.
There are many varieties of green beans but fall into two major categories: bush or pole, which refers to the different ways the beans were grown.
Bean beans grow on short bushy plants, while pole beans grow on long, flexible, climbing stems, also known as climbing vines.
Common Types of Green Beans
- Green Beans (String Beans or Snap Beans) - tough, fibrous strings running the length of the pod, hence the name string. They also can be easily snapped in half when fresh. They do well steamed, sauteed, roasted, or even pickled.
- French Green Beans (Haricots Verts or Filet Beans) - smaller, more tender, and quicker to cook. They do well in quick cooking methods such as blanching or sauteing.
- Romano Beans (Italian Green Beans or Flat Beans) - wide, flat green beans with a crunchy texture similar to that of a sugar snap pea. They can withstand longer cooking times than other green beans and do well with cooking methods such as boiling or braising.
- Long Beans (Yard-Long Beans or Asparagus Beans) - native to China and around 18 inches in length, any longer and the texture is too tough. They can become waterlogged when cooked in water, so it's best to saute or stir-fry them for the best texture. They can also be eaten raw.
- Purple String Beans - the same as your standard green bean but with an antioxidant called anthocyanins, that gives them their purple hue. Serve them raw or lightly steamed, otherwise, they'll lose their color.
- Wax Beans - the only difference from string beans is that they're yellow. They got their name because the color resembles beeswax, not because they have a waxy texture.
When To Buy
Green beans are in peak season from May through October. But due to the various growing regions, they're available year-round. Look at the seasonal produce guide to see what's in season right now.
What To Look For
Look for green beans that are firm with a bright green, purple, or yellow color without any browning or bruising.
How To Store
Store green beans in the refrigerator and only wash them right before cooking so they retain their freshness and crisp texture.
What Goes Well With Green Beans?
Red bell pepper, carrots, chile peppers, corn, fennel, garlic, ginger, green onions, mushrooms, pearl onions, potatoes, red onions, and shallots.
Coconut, lemons, limes, and tomatoes.
Cayenne, cumin, curry leaves, smoked and sweet paprika, black and white pepper, red pepper flakes, and kosher salt.
Basil, bay leaf, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.
Nuts & Seeds
Almonds, peanuts, and walnuts.
Unsalted butter, cheese: blue cheese, feta, parmesan, and yogurt.
Bacon, eggs, ham, pancetta, pork, prosciutto, and shrimp.
Anchovies, bread crumbs, capers, chicken broth, chickpeas, Dijon mustard, olive oil, black olives, Niçoise olives, shell beans, soy sauce/tamari, sugar, vinaigrettes, vinegar: red wine, rice wine, sherry, and white wine.
Popular Green Bean Pairings
- anchovies + garlic + parmesan + walnuts
- mustard + prosciutto + walnuts + vinaigrette
What To Make With Green Beans
Green beans are a popular ingredient in French and Mediterranean cuisine. They're used in savory dishes and all varieties can be steamed, sauteed, roasted, or even pickled.
Make blanched or sauteed Haricots Vert green beans, boiled or braised romano beans (Italian green beans), or lightly steamed or raw purple string beans to showcase their beautiful color in a side dish alongside lemon butter fish or BBQ salmon bites.
For salads, you can substitute asparagus for green beans in warm potato asparagus salad with roasted garlic vinaigrette or make an Italian green bean salad.