When it comes to holiday meals, the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes get all the love. But having a bright green side on the the table next to all the shades of off-white and brown brings it all together. It’s like that pop of color that takes your outfit of classy neutrals from blah to wow. For years, this Green Beans Almondine dish has been one of my contributions to our family gatherings, though I never realized there was a fancy name for it.
Green Beans Almondine (or Amandine, in proper French) is a classic French dish in which green beans are served with almonds. Amandine refers to the almond topping, which can consist of toasted whole, sliced, or slivered almonds. Truite Amandine (Trout with Almonds) is another classic French Amandine dish.
In this recipe, I’m giving you a more or less traditional Green Beans Almondine dish, but I’ve added pomegranate seeds as a garnish. The piquant flavor next to the buttery almonds and green beans is a delicious surprise, and you can’t deny this dish is a looker. Serve it as part of your holiday spread, and you’ll feel better about that second helping of mashers.
So how do you make Green Beans Almondine?
First, you will set a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Season it with a teaspoon or two of salt. Trim the stems of 1 pound (450g) of green beans. I like to leave the tails intact, though some people prefer to cut those off as well. (See below for the quickest technique for doing this.) When water comes to a boil, add the green beans and boil for 5-6 minutes, until they are bright green and just barely crisp-tender. Note: if you are using very skinny haricots verts for green beans, they will only need 1-2 minutes in the boiling water.
Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Some recipes will tell you to ready a bowl of ice water and plunge the green beans into that to make sure they stop cooking immediately. I don’t think you need to do that if you are going to be serving the green beans right away, but see below for my advice for make-ahead.
Make sure the green beans are well drained (pat dry with a clean kitchen towel if they are not), and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet and add 1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds and 1 minced clove of garlic. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until almonds and garlic are toasted golden brown (2-4 minutes).
Add to bowl with green beans and toss. Garnish with 1/3 cup of pomegranate seeds to serve.
What is the best way to trim green beans? Should you cut the ends of green beans?
The fastest way to trim fresh green beans is to stack a large handful of them together, with the stem ends all next to each other on a cutting board. Then use your knife to cut all of them off at once. If you cut a little more or a little less off of each bean, so be it. You’ll find this cuts (pun intended!) your prep time down considerably. I usually leave the tail ends on because I think they look pretty on the plate. If you prefer to cut them off, just turn the beans the other way, line up the tail ends, and chop them off.
What’s the difference between French-style green beans and regular green beans?
French-style green beans, or haricots verts, are usually much skinnier and sometimes shorter than traditional green beans. You can often find them prepackaged in the produce section of the grocery store, often pre-trimmed as well. They are beautiful in this dish, though as I noted above, they need only 1-2 minutes of cooking time in boiling water.
What’s the best way to get the seeds out of a pomegranate?
De-seeding a pomegranate can be difficult (and messy!). The best way I have found is to fill a large bowl with water and put it in the sink. Then cut the pomegranate in half and put both halves into the bowl. Using your fingers, break apart each pomegranate half and delicately separate the seeds from the whitish membrane. The pieces of membrane will float so you can skim those off the water while the seeds float to the bottom. When you’re done, discard the pomegranate rind and pieces of membrane. Drain the seeds, and there you go!
What are the health benefits of green beans?
Green beans are a low-calorie and low-carb vegetable filled with nutrients like Vitamins A, C, and K. They also are a good source of potassium, fiber, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Note that canned beans often contain a lot of sodium—make sure to rinse canned beans before you use them. Fresh or frozen beans are always the best choice in terms of nutrition.
Can I make this dish in advance?
Yes! I often make these beans in advance of a holiday meal. Boil the green beans, but have a bowl of ice water ready. When the beans are done, drain them, and then pop them into the bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process immediately and cool the beans off. When the beans are cold, drain again, and then put into the refrigerator. (This can be done 24 hours in advance.) You can also make the almond/garlic topping in advance, place in a small bowl, and cover. I would make this a few hours in advance and leave on the counter until you’re ready. To assemble the dish, warm up the almond topping in the microwave, and toss with the green beans, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Garnish with pomegranate seeds as above.
How do you keep green beans green?
The key to keeping green beans green is not overcooking them. Also, not dressing them in advance, especially if you are using something acidic in your dressing, like lemon juice. To make green beans in advance, see my notes above—stopping the cooking process with an ice bath is key. If you’re making your green bean recipe “à la minute” or just in time for dinner, you won’t need to worry about your green beans turning brown if you have not overcooked them and not dressed them before serving.
If you are looking for other great green bean dishes, don’t miss my Green Bean Salad with Baked Goat Cheese. Other delicious green sides include my Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Spinach Beet Salad, and Kale Salad with Cranberries. For another holiday side dish recipe, check out my Cauliflower Stuffing with Sausage and Pecans.
- 1 lb (450g) green beans
- 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
- 1.5 T. unsalted butter
- 1/2 c. sliced or slivered almonds (1.4 oz/40g)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 c. pomegranate seeds
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Trim the stems of the green beans, leaving the tails intact.
- When water comes to a boil, add the green beans and boil for 5-6 minutes, until they are bright green and just barely crisp-tender.
- Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Make sure the green beans are well drained (pat dry with a clean dish towel if they are not), and transfer to a large bowl.
- Toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper.
- Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet and add the almonds and garlic.
- Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until almonds and garlic are toasted golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add to bowl with green beans and toss.
- Garnish with pomegranate seeds to serve.
If you have very thin haricots verts, they will only need 1-2 minutes in the boiling water.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 154Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 235mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g