This classic French recipe of green beans with almonds has been elevated with sautéed shallots, garlic, freshly grated lemon zest, and lemon juice. This elegant, simple, and delicious vegetable side dish comes together quickly and is great for the holidays!
1lb (16 oz)French green beansharicot verts, trimmed
¼heaping cupraw sliced almonds
2medium shallotsfinely diced
2medium garlic clovesfinely minced
zestof one small lemon
2teaspoonsfreshly squeezed lemon juice
kosher saltto taste
freshly ground black pepperto taste
Please see recipe notes below for make-ahead tips and instructions.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water liberally with kosher salt (it should be very salty to taste). Salting the cooking water aggressively accomplishes two tasks: it ensures that the green beans will be seasoned properly inside and out, and also helps them retain their bright green color after cooking. For make ahead tips, please read the notes section at the bottom of this recipe thoroughly.
Blanch the green beans for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are crisp-tender and slightly squeaky between your teeth. It is important that the green beans be slightly undercooked as they will be transferred directly to the skillet and will continue cooking during this time.
Meanwhile in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat until lightly bubbling. Add the sliced almonds and sauté, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown. Reduce the heat to low and add the chopped shallots and garlic. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly caramelized.
Using a large slotted spoon, tongs, or kitchen spider, transfer the blanched green beans from the boiling water directly to the skillet. Sauté briefly, gently tossing the green beans with the almond mixture until evenly combined and the green beans are tender. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice, toss once again, and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
Tips for Success:
Make Ahead Tip: If you want to prepare this dish in advance, blanch the green beans as directed (reducing the cook time by an additional minute or so). Transfer the green beans to a large ice bath to shock. Once the beans are cool, drain and transfer them into a thin, even layer on a towel-lined baking sheet to soak up any excess water. Transfer the green beans to an airtight container or large Ziploc bag and refrigerate for up to 2 to 3 days. Just before serving, prepare the almond mixture as directed and add the par-boiled green beans. Continue sautéing over low heat until the beans are heated through completely.
Crockpot or Slow Cooker: While I haven't personally tested this option, I've heard from multiple people over the years that once the green beans are prepared, they can be transferred to a crockpot or slow cooker and kept warm (over the low setting) prior to serving. If you are doing this, be more careful with the cook time for the green beans, as they might be sensitive to becoming over-cooked with this method. In addition, I really only recommend this route if you are using the crockpot to keep them warm for a shorter period, not all day.