A match made in heaven, these green beans with bacon are completely irresistible. They very well might be your new favorite green bean recipe!
Why you’ll love it: This recipe takes green beans to new heights.
How long it takes: about 20 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: saucepan, colander, skillet, sharp knife
The other day, I had green beans on my grocery list and my shopper texted and said the store (not naming names, here) was all out! I couldn’t believe it. Summer isn’t really over yet, is it? I’m hoping everyone just snatched up all the beans in a last-ditch effort to squeeze all the fresh beans they could into these last few summer days.
Thankfully, we have a beautiful farm stand up the road from where we live. I headed there to grab some tomatoes (I get a little crazy if I don’t have some of those amazing summer tomatoes waiting for me on my counter). To my surprise, there sat two bags of fresh green beans. They had picked them that morning and they were so amazingly delicious….I found myself feeling really thankful that the store was all out, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought them from the farm stand.
About These Green Beans
Add bacon to anything and I’m on board, seriously. (Although I will say, not everyone agrees with me…just check out the comments on my broccoli salad.)
Should we say more about this recipe or can we just say, “bacon, gooooood.”
I’d be fine with leaving it at bacon, but real quick…I love this recipe and you guys are going to as well. The sweet yellow onions, fragrant garlic, and salty bacon pair perfectly with fresh and flavorful green beans. Finished off with a little heat from red pepper flakes and some bright lemon juice? It’s beany perfection.
The printable recipe card can be found at the end of the post. I’ll run through the recipe here and give you some extra tips.
What You’ll Need
- Green Beans: Fresh are definitely the best for this recipe. Frozen or canned green beans can be substituted. If you prefer, steam the beans instead of blanching them.
- Bacon: Use thick cut bacon for heartier bits of bacon. You’ll need about 1/4 pound.
- Onions: Any type of onion will work. Use your favorite.
- Garlic: Make it as garlicky as you like. I usually use one clove of garlic because my husband isn’t a huge garlic fan.
- Red Pepper Flakes: You’ll love the extra zing that red pepper flakes add. If you’re all out, a few good grinds of black pepper are delicious.
- Fresh Lemon: Garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon. Keep reading for more about why you definitely don’t want to leave this ingredient out.
You’ll notice I recommend serving with lemon wedges. This recipe tastes so great with a little acidity from lemon juice. It can slightly affect the color of the green beans, browning them a little, so I like to squeeze it on immediately before eating, but you could do this before serving if you’d prefer. The beans are also good with a little splash of vinegar to provide acidity (apple cider vinegar is a good choice).
Finely diced fresh tomatoes are also a good choice. They add acidity, color, and flavor.
Why an ice bath?
Because you want green beans, not brown beans! The ice bath stops the cooking and helps the beans retain their bright color and crisp texture. If you’re in a hurry (or if you like softer beans), skip it…it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a quick little extra step to take this recipe to the next level.
Make it happen if you’re serving this up for guests….you’ll be glad you did. Busy Monday night…I’ll be honest, I probably wouldn’t bother.
Make It Your Own
I mentioned a few ideas in the previous paragraph about adding acidity (lemon! vinegar! tomatoes!), but there are more ways you can make these green beans your own:
- Add almonds for crunch. Obviously we can’t do that in our house due to my kids’ nut allergies, but if you can, go for it!
- Sweet tooth? Try adding a teaspoon of brown sugar into the onions and garlic…let it melt a little before stirring in the beans. If it’s a little dry, add back in some of the bacon grease, or add a little butter. The sweetness of the brown sugar would be great with the spice of the red pepper flakes.
- Use bacon bits instead of real bacon, if you have to. But really, don’t. Please.
- Make them Whole30 compliant: I love that some bacon is Whole30 compliant, it’s really the only way I could ever do a Whole30. If you choose a Whole30 compliant bacon, and don’t follow the sugar suggestion I just mentioned, this recipe is naturally compliant to the Whole30 program. (Definitely don’t reach for those bacon bits, though.)
The components of this recipe can be prepared ahead of time. Cook the bacon and blanch the beans (cook as directed, cool in ice bath). Store separately in the refrigerator up to two days.
When you’re ready to serve the green beans, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Sizzle the onions and garlic, as directed, then add the beans and red pepper flakes, stirring and cooking for a few minutes until the beans are heated. Add the bacon and cook for a few more seconds. Serve with lemon.
If you have lots of green beans with bacon left, make a pasta side dish. Cook up a small batch of your favorite pasta, reserving a half cup of the cooking water when you drain it. Stir in the green beans, bacon, and shredded Parmesan cheese. Add water as needed to make a sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or oregano) and additional cheese.
More green bean Love
Try some of these popular recipes:
- Mediterranean Green Bean Salad
- Pickled Green Beans – make them your own!
- Green Beans with Feta
- Green Beans Almondine – a classic way to prepare green beans.
- Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan and Basil
- Green Bean Casserole – no canned soup! (We’re going to blink and Thanksgiving will be here!)
- These cheesy green beans from Peas and Crayons look phenomenal, too!
- 1 pound fresh green beans, stem ends trimmed off
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 pound (4 ounces) sliced bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- ¾ cup yellow onion (about 1 small yellow onion), finely chopped
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon minced garlic)
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
- Lemon wedges, if desired
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for 8 minutes, or until just tender. Drain into a colander, then plunge the colander with the beans into a bowl of ice water. Drain again.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from frying pan.
- Carefully add onions to bacon grease and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add red pepper flakes and green beans, stirring to combine (tongs work great here, too!). Sprinkle with bacon immediately before serving. Serve with lemon wedge, if desired.
- I like to use center cut bacon because it has more meat and less fat.
- If you would like to use frozen green beans instead of fresh, cook beans as directed on bag, cool in ice bath, and proceed with step 2, as directed.
- For canned green beans, begin with step 2, drain beans, and add them to the bacon mixture to heat.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.