French Green Beans ( Haricots Verts) with Lemon and Almonds

These French green beans are easier to make than you may think besides being the perfect accompaniment to any holiday meal.

Today's traditional Thanksgiving meal goes beyond the turkey or the ham; it's also about the "sides!"

Many accompanying side dishes are savory or sweet so I like to add balance by adding one that offers a refreshing and clean taste in order to "cleanse the palate" and make room for the parade of desserts still to come. That would be French Green Beans, steamed and served in a simple lemon vinaigrette dressing and topped with a sprinkle of sliced almonds. This zesty-tangy flavor combination make this a great balance for your richer side dishes.

A healthy alternative, French green beans (also know as Haricots Verts) are delicate beans that cook very quickly and can be served at room temperature or chilled. The dressing is a simple one that is very easy to make.  Combine extra-virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. These French beans are rich in flavor, they don't need much. Just before serving, top off with sliced almonds which double as a garnish and extra crunch.

Tips: Since this dish can be made ahead and also does not require reheating, it is an oven space saver as well as a cook's time savor!!
I sprinkled with natural sliced almonds (right out of the bag) but if you prefer, you can roast them in the oven for a minute or so, then reserve them to add them onto the beans at the last minute.
Also, French beans can be found easily at Trader Joe's or other local grocery stores.
Since they are thinner, more petite size of the green bean family, they only need a good rinse before cooking.  And, if you are having a large crowd over for thanksgiving, double our recipe below.

Steaming is how I prepare them, which is virtually no fuss at all.  Adding a subtle zesty-lemon flavor makes this green vegetable come alive!  Delicious!

We grew up with our mom adding fresh lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil to many of her recipes.  This light, refreshing taste added to the green beans compliments any meal.

Hope you will give these French green beans a try this holiday season!

French Green Beans with Lemon and Almonds

  • 1 lb. (16-ounces) fresh French Green Beans - rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil 
  • 1/2 of a small lemon juiced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1/8 tsp. of salt, plus extra salt for taste
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • Few lemon slices, as garnish 

Place whole French beans into a medium size saucepan with 2 to 3 cups of water, and sprinkle 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt over them.

Cover, and on medium heat, bring water to a boil.  Lower heat to simmer for 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and carefully drain all the water from the pot. (I do this with a pot holder to hold the lid slightly open and tilt the pot over my sink to drain the water).

Return the pot with the beans to the stove, remain covered and allow the beans to steam for 2 minutes longer, or until they are tender to the bite.  Be careful not to over cook them, or you will have mushy beans.

Here's a tip: Take a bean and bite into one.  If it has reached the tenderness to your liking, then transfer them to a bowl and allow the beans to cool completely.

Drizzle the olive oil over them, then the lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Transfer to a serving platter. Taste a bean, and sprinkle lightly with salt over them to taste.  Place a few lemon slices on both ends of the platter, as garnish.  Set the dish aside to serve at room temperature, or chill before serving.  Just before serving the French beans, sprinkle on top with sliced almonds.

Serves 4 to 5
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