Day 234: Green Beans with Lemon & Pine Nuts ♥

Gorgeous green beans, brightened with lemon zest & juice
Today's vegetable recipe: Fresh or frozen green beans cooked in well-salted water, then tossed with lemon juice, a little oil and if you like, toasted pine nuts.

~recipe & photo updated in 2007~

2005: After several days in a row of cooking Thanksgiving-appropriate vegetables (you know, those with sugar and cream and butter) and Thanksgiving tomorrow -- "just plain beans" tasted soooo good.That said, this bean recipe isn't so plain -- those are toasted pine nuts peeking out, plus lemon brightens the whole experience. If you're looking for a last-minute simple vegetable for your Thanksgiving table, these beans would be great.

2007: This simple 'lemon zest, juice & olive oil' has become my favorite treatment for every-day green beans. And when the fresh beans are good, they're simply fabulous, otherwise, yes, frozen still works. In my sensibility today, the pine nuts add more expense and calories than they contribute in flavor or texture -- I call them unnecessary.


Hands-on time: 5 minutes for frozen beans, 15 minutes for fresh
Time to table: 25 minutes for frozen beans, 35 minutes for fresh
Serves 4

Water to cover
Table salt

1 pound frozen (or in 2007, fresh) green beans (see KITCHEN NOTES)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (see NOTES)
Zest of a lemon
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil on MEDIUM HIGH. SALT the water (see TIPS). Add the beans, cover and let cook til done, about 10 minutes. Drain and return to hot pan. Stir in remaining ingredients. Serve and enjoy!

It's my experience that fresh grocery store beans are often woody -- so I really do PREFER frozen. And of course they're inexpensive and convenient, too. (2007 That said, when fresh green beans are good, there's no beating them.)
Toast pine nuts at 350F for 5 - 10 minutes. I set the timer, even for 1 or 2 additional minutes because I'm prone to getting busy with something else and before you know it, you've got pine nut crisps on your hands and the fire department at your front door.
By right, salt should be added to the water AFTER it boils. But once again, because I'll likely forget, I add it to the water when I first put it on the stove. I've never done taste comparisons but I sure don't think there's a difference. It does seem, however, that I've read that one reason to add the salt after the water has begun to boil is to avoid pitting a non-stick surface.

A Veggie Venture - Printer Friendly Recipe Graphic

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2005

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I have grown green beans in my garden, but I don't seem to be able to keep them picked. You really do have to pick every other day or the beans get too old. I am excited to find an interesting recipe for frozen beans because I agree they're good.

  2. Hi Alanna,

    I made this truly delicious green beans for thanks-giving lunch at my boy's pre-school. I am from India and we cook vegetables very differently. I blindly followed your recipe. I made 1.5 pounds and my dish came back cleanly wiped.

    One of the moms who organised the event had asked for the recipe. Today she told me that her 9 yr old girl who hates the word 'green beans' had helped herself with a 2nd serving. I'm conveying her thanks to you:) I'd given her the link and I do hope she'll find many more inspiring recipes here.

  3. I have about 3 pounds of green beans to cook. Do you recommend cooking them longer than 10 minutes? If so, how much longer? (They are fresh, not frozen.) Thank you!

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna