"Best Ever" New Potatoes & Green Beans ♥ a Kid-Friendly Recipe

'Best Ever' New Potatoes & Green Beans cooked in one pot with just a touch of sugar, tossed with garlic and butter. Kid approved!
graphic button small size size 10 What makes today's vegetable recipe special: New potatoes and green beans cooked together in one pot with just a touch of sugar, then tossed with butter and garlic. That tiny bit of sugar somehow makes all the difference! Kid approved! graphic button small size size 10

~recipe & photo updated & republished 2014~
~more recently updated recipes~

First Posted 2008: My favorite seven-year old Kate has a knack for opening the back gate at the right moment: she knows when the dog needs a romp. Plus, she often catches me mid-cooking and is happy to sample. She loved the raw asparagus salad we made together; she and her BFF Elena moaned that glazed turnips & carrots were "delicious".

Over the weekend, Kate and her sleep-over friend Jillian showed up just as I was snapping pictures of still-untasted potatoes and green beans. I handed Kate a bean and she munched right in, then announced, "These are the best beans ever!" (Yes, Kate got a hug.)

I handed Jillian a bean and she scowled. "I only eat canned beans." Tough cookie, that Jillian! The house rule is, You don't have to like it but you do have to try it and applies equally to grown-ups and kids. So after snapping off the objectionable curlicue at the end of the bean (I think when we talk about "topping and tailing beans", she took off the 'tail'), Jillian took a tiny tentative bite. Her face brightened, "These beans are the best beans I've ever tasted. They're sweet!" (Yes, Jillian got a hug too.)

The three of us proceeded to polish off all the beans straight from the bowl. Then I handed the girls forks to sample the potatoes. Kate took one bite and said, "These are the best potatoes I've ever eaten!" Jillian peeled the 'red stuff' (the skin) off hers but once that was gone (and we'd had that talk about how all the energy that makes strong bones and quick minds is stored right under the skin and gets thrown away if we peel the skins), she too loved the potatoes. Kate and Jillian went home with a big batch for their supper table -- carrying caraway beets, too.

I must say: to my taste, these are the "best ever" beans and potatoes too. That tiny bit of sugar really makes a difference, although the girls were more sensitive to the sweetness than I.

Updated 2014: Kate and Jillian are so grown-up now, it's a shock to see them around town so tall and confident. Some time, I need to ask if they remember the potatoes and beans! Because they are memorable! I make them on the fly often during the summer. Kids love 'em. Adults love 'em. Even those who usually avoid carbs will indulge in a tater or two or three. Or four. (They’re small, after all.) Last summer, we made a couple of big pots at a condo on the beach to serve with fresh-grilled fish. Heaven!

"... beautiful, simple and oh-so-tasty recipe. " ~ Janis
"... awesome recipe!" ~ Simply Complex
"... my husband and I loved it." ~ Amy
"... I made this, it is delicious!" ~ Jennifer
"... they were FANTASTIC!" ~ Claire


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 45 minutes
Serves 8

Water to cover both the potatoes and beans
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (don't skip, it really makes the difference)
1 pound very small red or white potatoes, washed well, skins on
1 pound fresh green beans, stem ends snapped off, broken in half or thirds if long
Garlic to taste, a clove or two minced very small
2 tablespoons butter
Additional salt to taste

START THE POTATOES Start the water, salt and sugar to a boil while prepping the potatoes. Add the potatoes as soon as they're prepped, cover and let cook at a slow simmer until nearly done, the actual time will vary based on the size and density of the potatoes but I start checking at about 15 minutes, the potatoes are usually ready after about 20 minutes.

ADD THE BEANS Add the beans, return to a boil and cook for about 7 minutes or until the beans are well-cooked but still bright green. Drain the potatoes and beans, then return them to the hot pot to toss with garlic and butter. Add salt if needed.

TROUBLE FINDING SMALL POTATOES? Tiny potatoes are rare at the grocery store though the earliest new potatoes at the farmers market can be just this small. For larger potatoes, I would pick out the smallest red-skinned or light-skinned potatoes available, of similar size so they cook evenly. Cook them whole, then cut into halves or quarters when tossing with the butter and garlic.
FOR ST LOUISANS The tiny potatoes are from Summit Farms, the produce dealer who anchors the Kirkwood Farmers Market. They're not local since it's still too early for Missouri potatoes. But they're really small, just 1 - 2 inches in diameter, perfect for eating whole in one or two bites and also excellent for stuffing for appetizers.
TRY SEPARATELY? I loved the potato-bean combination but you could cook them separately with a bit of sugar, too for "best ever" beans and "best ever" potatoes.

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Do you suffer from lachanophobia? Turn to A Veggie Venture and Veggie Evangelist Alanna Kellogg for the best vegetable recipes online. Find a quick recipe for tonight's vegetable in the Alphabet of Vegetables or plan menus with vegetables in every course. If you're a dieter, turn to hundreds of zero-point, one- and two-point Weight Watchers recipes and many low carb recipes.
© Copyright 2008, 2014
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

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


  1. AnonymousMay 27, 2008

    I grew up on something very similar - a variation being swapping a touch of balsamic vinegar for the sugar - it lends it the same sweetness with a bit of a kick, maybe more for adult tastes (but hey, I loved loved it as a kid). Yum yum!

  2. The tiny red potatoes and green beans are a beautiful color combo!

  3. So interesting -- I never think about adding sugar to beans, or to any vegetables except tomatoes. But if you say "best ever", you know I'll try it.

  4. My mom always added one teaspoon to the water she boiled corn on the cob to. She only boiled it one minute. It was always the sweetest and best ever corn on the cob.
    You'd think a teaspoon wouldn't be enough to notice but it must just give the right boost. I'll give it a go.

  5. When my daughter was that age she would touch an unfamiliar food with the tip of her tongue. If the sweet receptors said yes, she would eat it. Now she has a daughter who loves to eat naked green beans -- there's hope! Maybe (at 2 1/2) she's ready for the balsamic version?

  6. This looks like something we would love. Red potatoes, nicely parboiled and then grilled or broiled find their way to our plates often, as do green beans. We had a gorgeous Asian inspired salad last night, but it's in the wings so to speak as things often are in bloggsville, right? I've not added sugar to much of what I cook that's savory, but recently have noticed that with Mexican cuisine, it is. As least as far as Rick Bayless is concerned. It's interesting...

  7. YUm!! I've made a recipe very similar to this and just loved it!! I can only imagine how good this recipe is. I'm gonna have to give your version a try...thanks for sharing:).

  8. AnonymousMay 29, 2008

    These are lovely - can I say that we think your glazed turnips and carrots are great as well!

  9. I like to use new red-skinned potatoes and green beans in my potato salad and I think our potato salad is the "best ever" potato salad - no sugar in it though, but there are onions and a bit of garlic, which may lend the requisite sweetness.

    These green beans and potatoes sound fantastic though. We'll have to try it soon.

    If it's any consolation, wikipedia says: The notion that "all of the potato's nutrients" are found in the skin is an urban legend. While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, the majority (more than 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself. Of course, you don't have to tell your daughter's friend. Eventually, peer pressure will probably cause her to try the skin and she'll discover that she likes it after all.


    P.S. How are we going to choose which of your green bean recipes to have?! We were JUST saying last night that if this cool weather keeps on, we must comfort ourselves with your stellar green bean casserole.

  10. Ha! Thank you for setting ME straight, Elizabeth. I'll tell Jillian to check with you from now on!

  11. wow...thts an amazing blog there...being an indian its a little difficult though to understand that people find it so difficult to stay vegetarian..

  12. Thank you for this beautiful, simple and oh-so-tasty recipe. This is what I call a "stone soup" type of recipe - start with just a one or two great ingredients, then - if you feel like it - add a few bits and bobs of other things to take it in another direction. For instance, when I made this last night, I roasted a red pepper, which I then chopped into large chunks and added at the end with the last bits of some feta cheese that was hanging 'round in the fridge (crumbled), and some minced lemon thyme from my garden. Oh, and I sauteed the garlic in olive oil (because I wouldn't burn it the way I would the butter) and used half the called-for butter because of the olive oil. Yum!

  13. just what I've been looking for, trying it tonight!

  14. Thanks for the awesome recipe! I just made it tonight, and my boyfriend loved it too.
    The sugar makes it taste just right.

    +1 for it being vegetarian!!

  15. I made this tonight and, while my 4-year-old wasn't a fan, my husband and I loved it. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. This sounds delicious. Do you think it would work with sweet potatoes instead?

  17. Claire ~ Hey there, y'know, this isn't the right recipe for sweet potatoes. What's cool here is how the jacketed potatoes and the green beans work together. If you're looking for sweet potato recipe, though, I've got lots of them, here are my favorites.

  18. Thanks so much! I'm going to cook the "best ever" beans by themselves :)

  19. ...and they were FANTASTIC! Thanks for a great recipe. I just made the beans, but I used Earth Balance vegan butter and 1.5 cloves of fresh garlic.

  20. I make these beans once a week. Now my favorite way to have them is with 2 cloves freshly minced garlic, a shake of oregano, black pepper & tony chachere's


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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