Haricots Verts Amandine. French green beans are tossed with buttery toasted almonds, tender shallots, a little garlic, and a squirt of lemon juice. Sophisticated, elegant, delicious, yet completely effortless.
Hard to believe the holiday season is fast approaching though I wouldn’t blame you if, like me, your mind has been…elsewhere. So many storms to weather lately and I know that Thanksgiving in the US, and other holidays globally, are shaping up to be quite different, and difficult, this year. Please know I am keeping all of this in mind as I continue to launch a series of holiday dishes in the next few days. If you are able to host a small gathering, or simply need a little encouragement and comfort through food, these are the dishes for you. Some, like these haricots verts amandine, are written to serve 4, but can be easily doubled. Others, like this sweet potato casserole, can be halved and easily scaled down for a smaller gathering.
To be sure, the pandemic has flipped some different switches in all areas of our lives. But whichever direction the holidays take you this year, I hope you will be surrounded with as many of your loved ones as possible and you are able to cook something that brings you joy. Thank you for being here and for giving me the opportunity to make your holidays a little tastier and hopefully a little easier.
All sorrows are less with bread ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Haricots Verts Amandine
Ditch the old-school green bean casserole and let these haricots verts amandine steal the show. Haricots verts amandine translates to “green beans with almonds”. It is a classic French dish that is sophisticated, elegant, and insanely delicious. I can honestly say it is one of my favourite side dishes for any holiday.
Though it only takes a few simple ingredients to effortlessly throw together, it is hardly surprising that the dish is always a hit. Crispy green beans are coated with buttery, toasty almonds, bits of shallots, a little garlic, and a sprinkle of lemon juice to brighten it all up. So fancy, so good, yet completely fuss-free.
As with all recipes that are made up of few ingredients, do your best to seek out the freshest you can find.
- Green beans: Although green beans are available all year, they are obviously not as good during the winter months so do your best to find ones that look bright green and avoid any that seem limp or mottled. Any variety of green beans will work here but I like to buy the bagged French beans (often labelled “haricots verts”) that are slender, and more tender, than the regular green beans. They also cook faster and retain a more robust flavour than traditional green beans. If you can’t find them, use traditional green beans and cook them a little longer.
- Butter: I have tried using exclusively olive oil in place of butter and the overall dish definitely suffers. The butter helps brown and crisp the almonds beautifully adding intense nutty flavours to the beans. See below for vegan options.
- Almonds: In the written recipe below, I call for flaked almonds which become super crispy when toasted in the butter and are my absolute favourite. These are sometimes harder to find so feel free to use slivered if that is easier for you.
- Shallots and garlic: You could omit the garlic and this dish would still be delicious. Not so much the shallots. I find their flavour essential to this dish.
- Lemon juice: Again, an incredibly essential ingredient that truly adds a fresh and bright flavour to this dish.
Best Method To Cook Green Beans
Green beans can be cooked in a variety of ways: steam, boil, sauté, roasted, and what I call a semi-steam. Whichever method you choose, you want to make sure that when you serve your beans they have retained their vibrant colour and snappy texture. Overcooked green beans can become dull and limp rather quickly. Not good.
My preferred method to cook green beans is the boiling and ice plunge method.
Boiling the beans in salted water and then plunging into ice water is unquestionably the best way to keep them snappy and retain their vibrant green colour, as well as ensuring they don’t continue cooking. I am not always on team blanching and I admit that I often skip the tedious step. However, whenever I do skip it, I end up regretting it as the beans take longer to cook and are much more likely to lose their vibrancy and turn out gray and limp. In addition, blanching the beans allows you to make this dish ahead of time (more on that below).
Here’s how to boil green beans:
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a rapid boil. Have a large bowl of iced water ready. Cook for 2-3 minutes if using french green beans, or 4-5 if using regular green beans, until the beans are tender, but still crisp – check by snapping one in half. Strain the beans into a sieve or colander and then immediately transfer into the iced water. Once the beans have completely cooled (about 3 minutes) drain and dry with a kitchen towel.
Other Methods For Cooking Green Beans
If you aren’t making this haricots verts amandine recipe ahead of time, you can certainly skip the blanching and cook your green beans using any of the methods below.
- Sautéing: Place a large skillet with over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir in the green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 5-7 minutes. Remove the beans from the skillet and proceed with recipe. Note: With this method, you don’t want to overcrowd the beans so you may need to cook them in batches. This method works best with the more slender French green beans, as they cook a lot faster.
- Steaming. Set a steamer basket in a medium to a large pan with a lid and fill with 1 to 2 inches of water. Make sure the water is not touching the basket. Place the beans in the basket and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Remove the beans from the pan and proceed with recipe.
- Semi-steaming: This may be my second preferred method to cook green beans which I learned from America’s Test Kitchen. Add the green beans and ¼ c water to a large skillet. Once simmering, cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the green beans are bright green and tender. Uncover and cook until all the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Remove the beans from the pan and proceed with recipe.
- Roasting. Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the green beans on the pan and toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp kosher salt. Roast for about 15 minutes until they are just tender. Remove the beans from the pan and proceed with recipe.
How To Make Haricots Verts Amandine
This is a great weeknight side dish as well as being fancy enough for your holiday table. I have yet to meet someone who isn’t completely delighted by this dish.
You can find the full written recipe below, but here is a quick rundown.
- Prepare and cook the beans: Trim the the tips where the beans joined the plant. Cook the beans by boiling, roasting, sautéing, steaming, or semi-steaming (see above for instructions).
- Toast the almonds: Melt the butter in a large skillet. Once foaming, add the almonds and watch them closely. You want them golden-brown but they can burn easily so keep stirring them and lower the heat as soon as they start to brown. Once the almonds are turning golden-brown, add the shallots and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes more.
- Bring it all together: Place the blanched beans in the skillet and toss the ingredients together. Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of water and shake the pan to mix everything together again. The beans should all be glossy and coated well with the butter sauce. Turn out onto a dish or platter, and serve.
Make it nut-free: Though the almonds are integral ingredient in this dish, if I don’t have any on hand I simply leave them out. There is plenty of flavour from the shallots, garlic, lemon zest, and lemon juice to make the dish delicious. If you want a little crunch, use pepita (pumpkin) seeds and toast them just as you would the almonds. So good.
Make it vegan: You can use vegan butter to make haricots verts amandine, just don’t let the butter brown. Alternatively, use extra-virgin olive oil in place of butter.
You can make this recipe a day ahead of time by blanching the beans in a pot of boiling, well-salted water for about 1-2 minutes. Drain and dunk the beans in a large bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Drain again and wrap in a clean tea towel and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Once the beans have been blanched, the dish comes together in less than 10 minutes. Perfect for when you have a hectic day of holiday dishes to make.
Note: I don’t recommend making this dish ahead of time unless you are using the boiling method (described above) to cook the green beans. Otherwise, the beans will lose their vibrancy and become limp and soggy.
Other Simple & Delicious Side Dishes You May Like
Haricots Verts Amandine (Green Beans with Almonds)
- kosher salt
- 1 pound French green beans or regular green beans trimmed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds or slivered
- ¼ cup minced, or thinly sliced, shallot about 1 large, or 2 small
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- Bring a pot of genrously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender 3 to 4 minutes. Add 1 to 2 minutes more if using thicker green beans. Drain and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking for about 2 minutes, or until cooled. Drain and and dry thoroughly in a clean kitchen towel. This step can be done 1 day ahead, if desired (see notes).
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the almonds, and cook, stirring constantly until the butter has browned and the almonds have turned a golden-brown colour, about 3-4 minutes. Add shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, about 1 more minute.
- Place the blanched beans in the skillet and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of water then shake the pan to mix everything together again. Cook until the beans are hot and glossy and coated well with the butter sauce, about 2-3 minutes. Turn out onto a serving bowl or platter, and serve.