Garlic green beans are the perfect, easy side dish to round out any meal. They are also one of the main components in my favorite green bean casserole recipe! For this recipe we start by blanching the green beans, which par cooks them, making it super easy to finish them off right before serving. Blanching is a great cooking method for green beans because it keeps them bright and colorful, plus tender and perfectly crisp.
Garlic green beans are the perfect addition to a home-cooked meal. They are easy to make, healthy, delicious, and add a vibrant pop of color that really completes any dish.
How to Blanch Green Beans:
Blanching is simply a process of quickly boiling vegetables and then shocking them in ice water to stop the cooking.
There are a few reasons why I love blanching green beans:
- Perfect for preparing in advance. When you boil green beans for a few minutes they are cooked to al-dente, which means they are tender with a crisp bite to them. Shocking them in ice water stops the cooking process, so you can let them sit while you get the rest of your meal going. Then, when everything is ready to be served you can quickly sauté them, which cooks them to perfection.
- It keeps them bright and colorful. You’ll notice that when you add green beans to boiling water, their color almost immediately intensifies. This is caused by a sudden expansion and release of gases that are trapped in the plant’s cells. If they continued to boil, they would start to lose that green color, so placing them in a bowl of ice water stops that process. Another reason blanching keeps the color intact is by a chemical known as chlorophyll, which gives green vegetables their color. There is an enzyme that is present in green vegetables called chlorophyllase, which is responsible for destroying the chlorophyll. This enzyme is activated at temperatures between 150°-175°. By adding the green beans to boiling water and then immediately placing them in ice water, we are quickly bringing their temperature above 175° and then rapidly bringing it back down below 150°. Meaning the enzyme never becomes activated. Cool, right??
- It keeps them perfectly crisp. When green beans are overcooked they become mushy. So shocking them in the ice water stops the cooking dead in its tracks, making sure your veggies stay crisp.
Tips for Making Green Beans:
- Boil them in plenty of water. You should have at least 2-3 cups of water for every 1 cup of green beans. There needs to be enough water so that the temperature doesn’t drop below the boiling point when you add in the green beans.
- Boil them in salted water. Boiling in salted water adds flavor to the green beans, and it also helps keep them green. Adding salt makes the water more alkaline, which makes it harder for hydrogen atoms to break through the membrane and lead to discoloration.
- Before sauteing the green beans dry them completely.
- Don’t overcrowd the green beans in your saute pan.
Garlic Green Beans
- Large stock pot
- 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and washed
- 3-4 quarts water
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- juice of 1 lemon
- Bring the water and salt to a rapid boil in a large stockpot.
- Add the trimmed and washed green beans and boil for 2-3 minutes.
- Immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once the green beans are cold, remove them from the ice water and pat dry.
- Melt the butter in a large saute pan. Add the minced garlic and the green beans and saute for a few minutes. Season with salt and drizzle with lemon juice.
- Serve warm.