The start of the holiday season always gets me looking forward to the classic dishes that appear on the table around this time. Green beans are a very popular side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, whether in a casserole or simply prepared. This lemony green bean dish is a delicious, vibrant alternative to casserole. It not only tastes amazing, it is also much healthier for you.
Fresh green beans are a vegetable that I have always liked, even when I was a kid and a very picky eater. Back then I would normally shirk around the word vegetable. But when summertime rolled around and the beans were ready to pick, surely enough I was out in the garden eating them straight from the stem. Fast forward to the present day, and now I enjoy them as a healthy side dish to many meals. This savory preparation of green beans combines lemon with an almond breadcrumb sort of crust. I love the added crunch and nuttiness of the breadcrumbs, and the brightness of the lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.
There is also no need to worry about keeping this dish warm, which is one less stress around the holiday table! It is still delicious at room temperature. You can also prepare the simple lemon vinaigrette and breadcrumbs ahead of time. When it’s time to eat, just combine with cooked green beans.
To prevent the green beans from turning an unappealing olive color, make sure to dunk them in an ice bath after cooking. The olive color can also happen if the beans are overcooked, so make sure to watch the time on the stove. After the ice bath, you simply toss the green beans in the lemon and olive oil vinaigrette, and then top the dish with the toasted almond breadcrumbs.
This simple recipe will leave you feeling satisfied without weighing you down. You won’t miss all that heavy cream of a casserole. I scraped my plate clean because the almond breadcrumbs were so tasty. It is a great compliment for any holiday table, and easy to put together in a hurry.
- 1½ lbs green beans, trimmed
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Over medium heat, lightly toast the almonds. Transfer to a blender or food processor and chop until they are the same consistency as breadcrumbs.
- Mix together 3 tbsp of olive oil and the lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat the remaining tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, breadcrumbs, almonds, and lemon zest and stir. Cook until golden, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch for 4-5 minutes. Prepare a large bowl of ice water while the beans are cooking. Remove beans from hot water – they should be tender and still crisp. Place the beans into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain the green beans and return them to the pot. Toss with the olive oil and lemon juice. To serve, top with almond breadcrumbs.