Microwave Green Beans with Easy Tomatillo Salsa ♥

Microwave Green Beans with Easy Tomatillo Salsa, another quick, fresh salad or side dish ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.
How to cook fresh green beans in the microwave, it takes just minutes and the beans turn out perfectly crisp or perfectly soft, depending on how you want them. This is a basic weeknight cooking technique you'll use again and again, whenever the beans look especially pretty. Once the beans are cooked, if you like, toss the warm beans in a quick tomatillo salsa, just a few fresh ingredients puréed in a food processor. This light and lively salsa is a great way to dress up green beans!

Real Food, Fresh & Fast. Budget Friendly. Little Effort, Big Taste. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Great for Meal Prep. Low Carb. Low Fat. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.

Hey, all. Lucky day, two recipes for the price of one!

Somehow I missed cooking green beans in the microwave. Perhaps because I didn't have one for so many years? Perhaps because the one in the kitchen is serially referred to as the Popcorn Maker and the Butter Melter and the Water Boiler? No matter. Call me hooked, fresh green beans cooked in the microwave are excellent.

#1 How to Cook Green Beans in the Microwave

The detailed recipe is written in traditional recipe form below but here are the highlights in just two easy steps. You can do this!

PREP & COVER WITH PLASTIC WRAP Cut the fresh beans into lengths (or if you like, cook them whole) and put them in a microwave-safe dish along with a tablespoon of water. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and pierce the plastic with the tip of a knife in a couple of places.

COOK ON HIGH, CHECK AFTER 3 MINUTES The beans should be done but still bright green. Check after 3 minutes, then if needed, cook another minute at a time. Why is there no exact time? There are just so many variables, most importantly, your own taste. In addition, microwaves vary in power, microwave dishes vary, some time the moon's in the east and the sunflowers face away from the sun ...

You Might Wonder Be Wondering ...

Have another question? Ask away, I'll do my best to answer!

Do you need to buy special beans, especially for microwaving? No Way! Specially packaged vegetables are called "value added" by the food processing industry. That means the producer adds "value" and you pay "more". So those special packages of green beans are convenient (pre-cleaned, pre-trimmed, etc.) but they're also expensive and definitely not required. Instead, just watch the produce section for pretty-looking green beans, fresh and plump without dark spots. Take advantage of them on the spot because good green beans aren't a given, you don't find them every time. Fresh beans will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, especially if you get them out of the produce bag and into a container where they stay moist (but not wet) and can breathe. (I know, it's funny, thinking about vegetables "breathing". But they do need exposure to air, not too much or they'll dry out.)

Can you microwave frozen green beans? Probably. But this recipe is really about cooking fresh green beans in a way that's quick, easy and convenient. Save those frozen green beans for a night when you're really desperate!

What other basic cooking methods are good for fresh green beans? You'll find so many ways to cook green beans in the A-Z Green Bean Recipes, that page is all organized so that it's easy to find exactly what you're looking for. But let me recommend roasting (Roasted Green Beans) and a quick skillet sauté / stir fry (Simple Skillet Green Beans). And there's no doubt that the green-bean cooking technique is a huge part of what makes the World's Best Green Bean Casserole live up to its name.

How do you dress up green beans? I do recommend the Easy Tomatillo Salsa as a "dressing" for green beans (recipe below) but I share many ideas in Quick Ways to Doctor a Bag of Green Beans, most work well with cooked fresh beans, not just frozen. My favorite? A good squeeze of the house salad dressing, My Everyday Creamy Herb Salad Dressing which is kind of a ranch dressing, just better. :-)

#2 Easy Tomatillo Salsa: Simple, Fresh, Bright

The salsa comes courtesy of my new favorite cookbook, Mexican Everyday (affiliate link) by Rick Bayless. These green beans are the cookbook's maiden recipe but I've been pouring through the pages, bookmarking recipes, underlining ingredients, strategizing what to make when. Once again, call me hooked.

Mexican Everyday is home cooking, Mexican style. The ingredients are (mostly) familiar and (mostly) available. And it doesn't endorse cooking by prescription but by taste. Every single recipe includes adaptations and embellishments.

The Easy Tomatillo Salsa is a perfect temper for the green beans. And hmm, what about cauliflower, sweet potatoes, or a dipping sauce for grilled meat ... so many possible uses. May I suggest a double batch?!

Mexican Everyday suggests serving the beans at room temperature as a salad. They can also be served hot as a side dish. You won't go wrong, either way.

And if you like green beans, they're especially good in summer, beautiful color, easy to make-ahead, easy to adapt. Here are a few more ideas! They're all quite simple. Try Summer Green Bean Salad with Corn & Pickled Onion or Chilled Green Bean Salad with Rosemary & Garlic Oil.

How do you save and share favorite recipes? recipes that fit your personal cooking style? a particular recipe your mom or daughter or best friend would just love? If this recipe hits the mark, go ahead, save and share! I'd be honored ...

Microwave Green Beans with Easy Tomatillo Salsa, another quick, fresh salad or side dish ♥ AVeggieVenture.com. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan. Gluten Free.


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes
Serves 4

The Tomatillo Salsa makes about 1/2 cup, you'll use about two tablespoons per pound of green beans. Use the remainder for other vegetables, tacos, salads, etc.

1 pound green beans, stem ends snapped, left in lengths or broken into bite-size pieces

1 small (2g) garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 medium (112g) tomatillos, husks removed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeño
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cooked Beans, still hot
2 tablespoons Easy Tomatillo Salsa
Salt to taste
For garnish, a little thinly sliced red onion or Spiced Pickled Red Onions
For garnish, chopped cilantro

BEANS Place the beans and a tablespoon of water in a microwave-safe dish. Seal the dish with plastic wrap, then pierce the wrap in two or three places to allow air to escape, just use the tip of a sharp knife. Cook until the desired doneness is reached, I prefer green beans "less cooked" (with a little crunch) especially if serving chilled as a salad or cooking for meal prep to serve later and a little "more cooked" (and softer) if serving hot. If needed, drain off any water but leave the beans in the same bowl.

SALSA While the beans cook, in a small food processor, pulse the garlic and salt together until the garlic is finely minced. (This is a great trick with other recipes too, the salt helps grab the garlic so it minces really fine without needing to scrape the side of the food processor a hundred times.) Add the remaining ingredients and pulse several times, until all the ingredients are evenly mixed but before it all turns to a liquid. Makes about 1/2 cup.

COMBINE & SERVE Toss the Cooked Beans and 2 tablespoons Easy Tomatillo Salsa. Taste and season with additional salt. Arrange on a platter or in a bowl and garnish. If serving hot, serve immediately. If serving cold, cover and chill until ready to serve.

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from Kitchen Parade, my food column

Seasonal Eating: Late Winter Across the Years

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Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2007, 2020 & 2021 (repub)

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 love tomatillas, and am guessing I'd love this. My brother used to see Rick Bayless at the gym all the time when he lived in Chicago! How about if we make sure we eat at both his restaurants when we go to Blogher!

  2. I have that cookbook sitting on my shelf - maybe it's time to dust it off.

  3. Kalyn ~ Great idea!

    Cate ~ Do!

  4. I followed your recipe precisely and it came out a little too warm for my taste. There was a lot left over so I added an equal amount of rice wine vinegar to cool it off. I had it again today. Realy realy good. Ron

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  7. I will try this and let you know how it went.


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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