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Tender-crisp Green Beans with Bacon and Pine Nuts is a great combination of textures and flavors – rich and buttery and crispy and crunchy. It’s the perfect side dish for your holiday feast and ready in under 20 minutes!
Let’s face it, vegetables can be boring. But not this version! Some of our other favorite vegetable sides that are anything but boring are Easy Oven Roasted Cauliflower and Traditional German Red Cabbage [Rotkohl]!
This recipe was originally published in November 2016, and has been updated for content.
When it comes to vegetable side dishes, most nights of the week I find it easier to do really simple, plain versions to serve alongside whatever it is we are eating for dinner. This side dish has all the flavors we love from our Bacon Wrapped Green Bean Bundles but with an easy, family-style presentation that’s perfect for weeknights.
For a holiday meal or a Sunday dinner or if we are invited to a friend’s house and I’m assigned to bring veggies or a side, this is one of my favorite dishes to serve.
There are so many great things going on with the different textures and flavors in this easy vegetable side dish. It’s a great alternative to green bean casserole that is traditionally served at many a Thanksgiving feast if you are looking for something a little lighter.
Why this recipe works
- It takes less than 20 minutes to have a vegetable side dish that the whole family will actually want to eat! Not having to remind my kids to “eat their veggies” is always a win in my book!
- So much better than boring, steamed green beans, or worse, mushy & salty green beans from a can.
- Bacon – Because everything is better with bacon!
- Bacon: You can use thick cut or regular bacon in this recipe. Either works so it’s totally up to personal preference.
- Green beans: I always make this recipe with fresh green beans for the best flavor and texture. But frozen green beans will also work. I don’t recommend using canned green beans in this recipe.
- Pine nuts: These are one of my favorite ingredients for salads and sides! They have such a great little crunch and unique flavor! But slivered almonds, chopped pecans, hazelnuts, or walnuts would all work instead.
How to Make It
Start by chopping and cooking the bacon in a large skillet or pan. I find it’s easiest to slice the bacon into pieces when it is partially frozen or at least very cold, then stir it around with a wooden spatula or spoon until crispy rather than frying individual strips and crumbling later. Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper plate to drain once it’s crispy.
Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a large pot of salted, boiling water just until tender but not soggy. We like them to still have some bite to them.
Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon grease until softened, then add the garlic for the last 30 seconds. Add the drained green beans to the pan and toss to evenly coat.
Add the bacon, pine nuts, and lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper, tossing until everything is combined. Adjust the seasoning as needed before serving.
Yes, frozen green beans can be used. Just be sure not to overcook them or they will be limp.
I don’t recommend freezing this dish as the texture isn’t as good when reheated. Leftovers, however, can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days and reheated in a skillet, the oven, or the microwave until hot before serving.
- Feel free to experiment with more seasonings! A sprinkle of Creole or cajun seasoning or perhaps an Italian blend of herbs can be a great way to add even more flavor to an already delicious side dish.
- If you would like to make this slightly healthier, try using turkey bacon in place of regular bacon.
- Don’t overcook the green beans. We like our beans to still have an al dente texture to them rather than being mushy and overdone. Overcooking also tends to discolor the beans which should still be a vibrant green.
More Vegetable Side Dishes You’ll Love
- Oven Roasted Broccoli with Garlic, Parmesan and Lemon
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Apples
- Oven Roasted Asparagus with Garlic, Parmesan, & Lemon
- Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows and Pecans
Green Beans with Bacon & Pine Nuts
- 2 1/2 pounds fresh green beans washed & ends trimmed
- 1/2 pound bacon roughly chopped
- 1 small yellow onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water for an ice bath. Set aside.
- Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the washed and trimmed green beans to the salted water and cook until bright green in color and crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the beans and then shock them by dumping them in the bowl of ice water to stop the beans from cooking any more. Drain the beans again and pat dry.
- Cook the bacon in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat until crisp. I prefer chopping my bacon first and then stirring it around in the pan to cook it for this dish, rather than frying the bacon in strips and chopping it up afterwards. Remove the cooked bacon pieces to a plate lined with paper towels using a slotted spoon, then pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the excess bacon grease
- Add the onion to the pan with the reserved bacon grease and sauté until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
- Add the green beans and the pine nuts to the onion and garlic and toss to combine. Cook until heated through and pine nuts are toasty, about 5 to 6 minutes more, tossing frequently so the pine nuts don’t burn. Return the bacon to the pan, add the lemon juice and toss everything to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Substitutions: If you don’t have pine nuts, or have a pine nut allergy, slivered or chopped almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts would also work. As would pumpkin seeds for something crunchy.
- Regular or thick-cut bacon will work – it’s completely up to personal preference and what you have on hand.
- I have made this with regular green beans and french green beans (also known as haricot verts) and both work well. Frozen green beans can also be used in place of fresh green beans. I don’t recommend using canned green beans, however.