15 Tips To Add Flavor To Green Beans

Although green beans are considered a staple food in many kitchens and constitute the basis for an essential traditional Thanksgiving side dish, green beans are often dismissed because of their apparent lack of flavor. However, this is simply an impression. In fact, green beans possess a subtle aroma that can easily be enhanced if you combine some tricks with certain ingredients.

Green beans can be prepared in more than one way and be included in several dishes. Green beans will retain most of their nutritional benefits (and they have a few) regardless of whether you roast them, boil them, or blanch them. 

According to Healthline, green beans are a good vitamin and mineral source, contain protein, and are heart-healthy. And, because they don't require much cooking time, they also make for a quick and easy meal. So, all you need are some ideas that can help you spruce up your green beans!

1. Roast green beans

Roasting green beans is the perfect way to bring out their flavorful and nutty taste. The combination of olive oil and sesame seeds and the roasting process will add to their flavor and provide them with texture. For the best roasted green beans, make sure that you pat them dry after rinsing because leftover water will make them soggy. Also, when you place them in the preheated oven, spread them evenly in a single layer onto a baking sheet to ensure that they have enough space to roast.

For the simplest roasted green beans recipe, start by preheating your oven and preparing the green beans by tossing them in olive oil, salt, and pepper until they are evenly coated. Next, place them on a baking sheet in the oven and toast for about 20 minutes, flipping them after ten minutes. Then, sprinkle some sesame seeds to bring out the flavor of green beans and olive oil. You can enjoy your roasted green beans as a side dish or as an addition to salads or stir-fries for an extra crunchy texture.

2. Blanch green beans and add butter

Blanching is another way of cooking that helps bring out the flavor of green beans. You can do this using a steamer basket or simply letting the beans simmer in water for a few minutes. Steaming the green beans will help maintain their crispiness. You will need seven to eight minutes of cooking to steam the beans, while you will only need three to five minutes to simmer them. 

This blanched green bean salad recipe adds butter for a richer flavor. It uses almond butter, which is paired with toasted almonds. This ingredient combination will really add depth to green beans, while the red rice brings a whole new dimension in terms of texture. 

The main ingredients in the salad are fresh green beans, sliced almonds, almond butter, olive oil, and rice. To make this delicious salad, you will need to blanch the green beans, toast the almond seeds and then mix them with almond butter, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. Finally, add the cooked rice and toss in some parsley if desired.

3. Grill green beans and serve with yogurt

Grilling sure doesn't come to mind when you think about ways of cooking green beans. Their shape and texture make suspect to falling off the grill. But what if you use a trick to make them stay on the grill and get that nice charred texture and smoky flavor? Try using a roasting or cooling rack placed perpendicular to the grates.

Grilled green beans with chickpeas and yogurt make a healthy side dish. This grilled green beans with chickpeas and yogurt recipe combines roasted chickpeas, chili flakes, creamy yogurt, and curry to create a unique and flavorful dish. The green beans provide a crunchy texture, as they are grilled and only drizzled with a neutral oil. 

The roasted chickpeas add a subtle sweetness and hint of spiciness from the chili flakes. Moreover, the creaminess of the yogurt and the spicy notes from the chili flakes give this dish complexity that can't be beaten. To top it off, a drizzle of olive oil and some chopped cilantro for extra flavor.

4. Simmer green beans in chicken broth

If you're a fan of the classic green beans flavor, then simmering them in chicken broth is the way to go. The flavor of the chicken broth is absorbed by the beans, giving them a subtle but delicious taste. Plus, you can add cooked onions or bacon for extra flavor.

To begin, rinse the green beans and place them in a large pot with enough chicken broth to cover them. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce it to a low simmer, and cook for ten minutes. After 10 minutes of simmering, the beans should be tender and flavorful, perfect for adding to salads or side dishes.

To finish your dish, add cooked onions if desired and season with salt and pepper as needed. Or you can try this copycat Texas Roadhouse green beans recipe. If you'd like more flavor, try adding garlic or herbs like rosemary or thyme during cooking. You can also use other types of stock, such as vegetables or beef, to make your green beans even tastier.

5. Air fry green beans and add garlic powder

There is more than one way to add a crunch to green beans, but nothing beats the air fryer. This fast cooking method lets you cook all the green beans at once (unlike oven-roasting or grilling them) and avoids turning your kitchen into a furnace. Air frying green beans not only locks in the nutrients but also gives the vegetables a flavorful crunch you can't get with other cooking methods.

To start, coat your fresh, frozen, or canned green beans in oil and whatever seasoning you'd like, whether it be garlic powder, Italian seasoning, or whatever else your heart desires. Once they are coated, place them into the air fryer basket and set your desired temperature. Usually, air frying the beans at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for about eight minutes will give you some crispy yet tender green beans. Try this simple air fryer green beans recipe, or feel free to add other ingredients, such as lemon juice or parmesan cheese, for added flavor.

6. Roast in bacon fat and combine with bacon

Bacon has one of those flavors that will enhance almost any aroma, no matter how bland. And, as green beans possess a specific flavor, roasting them in bacon fat or combining them with bacon are sure methods of enhancing that flavor. Bacon-roasted green beans are an excellent side dish for meat, and they also make for an ideal  Thanksgiving dish.

This spicy roasted green beans with bacon candy recipe goes very well with turkey. Also, the salty-sweet bacon is a wonderful fall flavor. To make the recipe, coat the bacon in brown sugar, cayenne, and cinnamon and cook it until crisp. 

Next, add the bacon fat to the green beans, spread them on a sheet tray, and bake for about 15 minutes until they are tender. When you serve, combine the green beans with the candied bacon. You will get an incredibly unexpected, salty, earthy, spicy, and sweet taste. 

You can make a variation of this dish and wrap the green beans in bacon strips for a more polished look. To make bacon-wrapped green beans, cook the bacon in the oven (don't let it crisp), boil the green beans for two minutes, wrap bunches of green beans in bacon strips, sprinkle them with brown sugar and garlic powder, and bake in the oven until the bacon is crisp. Again, you will be amazed by the flavor combination, which alternates between earthy and fresh and rich and meaty.

7. Jazz them up with cream

The earthy flavor of green beans is perfectly highlighted when combined with cream. This ingredient is the basis for making the green beans casserole, another staple Thanksgiving side dish. If you love the green beans and cream combination, you can use the cream as a dressing leaning on the heavier side for any green bean salad. Or you can try making a healthier version of the green beans casserole.

This healthy green bean casserole recipe combines crunchy green beans, sautéed mushrooms, flavorful onions, and a creamy roux to make a delicious meal you can feel good about eating. First, preheat your oven and begin baking the onions until they are lightly browned and caramelized. Once cooked, set them aside until ready for use. 

Next, take the mushrooms and sauté them in a pan with butter or oil until golden brown. Then, make the roux by melting butter in a pot over low heat and slowly adding flour while constantly stirring until it forms a paste-like consistency. Then, layer the ingredients in a baking dish, add some parmesan cheese and garlic, and bake for half an hour.

8. Mix green beans into mac and cheese

Though it may sound surprising, green beans and mac and cheese is a dish that actually works really well. As green beans add freshness to any food, they are one of the best possible additions to mac and cheese. When you think about it, it's a way of returning to basics from the traditional green beans casserole. The mac and cheese with green beans foregoes the mushroom soup and only uses the beans, black pepper, and fried onions from the casserole recipe.

To prepare the dish, you only need to cook the green beans in butter and season them. For the mac and cheese sauce, Colby Jack cheese will most likely bring out all the flavor in the green beans. Then, mix the mac and cheese with the green beans and place it under the oven grill and top it with fried onions. There is no better way to add a note of freshness to your mac and cheese.

9. Flavor green beans with herbs

Herbs are an excellent way to bring out the flavor of green beans and create an enjoyable savory dish. According to Spiceography, some herbs, such as thyme and basil, will bring out green beans' earthy and sweet flavor as they have the same flavor type. Oregano and parsley also work well with green beans. Chives are another option, as they taste like green onions, and onions and green beans are a very popular flavor combination.

Thyme is one of the most popular herbs for flavoring green beans. It has a mild flavor that pairs well with the natural taste of green beans. Basil is another herb that can be used to flavor green beans. Its flavor is slightly sweet but still savory enough to complement the natural taste of green beans. Basil has a strong aroma, and it's best to add it towards the end of the cooking process. You can also use pesto, the Italian sauce made with basil and parmesan cheese, which will work as a stand-alone seasoning.

Last but not least, you can flavor green beans with savory, a minty herb of German origin. German cuisine often combines the two, counting on the earthiness of green beans and the peppery taste of savory. You can braise the green beans with savory or cook them in butter to create a savory lemon sauce. 

10. Add some crunch with nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are a great way to add a flavor punch to green beans. They are also crunchy, which will add a nice texture variation. There are few cooking methods that will guarantee that you have crunchy green beans. 

According to Soupersage, nuts and seeds make for a great addition to green beans in terms of flavor. They also contain high amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and fats that can help liven up the taste of the green beans and enrich the nutritional profile.

Brazil nuts are great for their nutty aroma, sesame seeds tend to add a  slightly sweet and nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds can be added for their crunchy texture, while peanuts can contribute to the salty taste. 

You can also add almonds or hazelnuts if you want to give your green beans an even more unique flavor. You can add any of these nuts and seeds to a simple green beans dish or a salad. For example, try this fresh green bean almondine recipe, which you can modify by replacing the almonds with your favorite nuts or seeds.

11. Give them a tangy twist with lemon

Lemon has a tangy, citrusy aroma, which is the very definition of freshness and summer. It stands at the opposite end from green beans' earthy and sweet taste, so it's perfect when paired with veggies. The two flavors bring out the best in each other and become an ideal combination upon the addition of other ingredients. 

In this lemon garlic green beans recipe, the dominant aroma of green beans is paired with a buttery sauce made with lemon and garlic and further flavored with black pepper. It's simple, but at the same time, it's incredibly effective. It's also light, as opposed to the more traditional green beans casserole, and it truly releases the taste of the vegetables. 

To keep that wonderful aroma fresh, boil the green beans for just two minutes, then dunk them in an ice bath. It will also help with keeping them extra-crisp. Next, drizzle the melted butter with garlic and lemon juice over the beans, sprinkle with pepper, and sauté for five minutes. Enjoy!

12. Make them savory with Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire sauce is another way to enhance the flavor of your green beans. This fermented sauce has a complex taste that combines tangy, sweet, savory, and salty aromas. Worcestershire sauce is traditionally made with anchovies, and it is mainly used for meat dishes, Caesar salad, and devilled eggs, but it can also be added to chili con carne and beef stew.

You can flavor green beans using Worcestershire sauce to add an extra kick of savory, sweet, tangy, and umami aromas. It will nicely oppose green beans' mild earthiness and sweetness and make the natural flavor pop. You can make a simple Worcestershire sauce-flavored salad with green beans or use the sauce as a secret ingredient in a classic green bean casserole recipe. Any of these preparation methods will boost the flavor of your green beans in an unexpected, savory way. Just ensure you don't use too much salt, as Worcestershire sauce already contains this ingredient.

13. Make a classic vinegar dressing for green beans

Another way to flavor green beans is by using a classic vinegar-based dressing called vinaigrette. The dressing is usually made with olive oil and vinegar that have been enhanced with other ingredients, such as mustard or herbs. The vinegar dressing will add a tangy and buttery flavor to your green beans and, depending on the ingredients, a creamy texture with an herbal twist.

The vinaigrette in this classic old-fashioned green beans and potato recipe uses essential ingredients like apple cider vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and oregano. The Dijon mustard and the oregano give this vinaigrette a French Niçoise twist, making it creamier and adding a Mediterranean aroma. 

For the recipe, boil the potatoes and steam the green beans. Then make the vinaigrette dressing, whisking together apple cider vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon zest, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour this over the cooled green beans and mix it well with a spoon or spatula, adding a final touch of oregano when you're done.

14. Flavor green beans with spices

Just as there are several herbs perfect for bringing out the flavor in green beans, some spices will have the same effect. According to the Pinch spice market, black pepper, Za'atar, piri piri, and Chinese five spices are some of the best spice choices for green beans are  

Za'atar is a Middle Eastern blend of oregano, thyme, and sesame seeds that adds an earthy, nutty flavor to green beans. Chili powder is another great option if you want your dish to have a bit of heat. It also comes with the advantage of having no added salt. Piri piri is a Portuguese-style blend of garlic and paprika that gives dishes an extra kick of spice. And last but not least, the Chinese five spices add a warm and aromatic note to any food.

If all this seems a bit much, try using nutmeg to upgrade green beans. This simple spice can singlehandedly boost the flavor of your green bean dish (especially when combined with lemon zest). 

This earthy, slightly peppery seed is best when freshly grated, but you can also buy it in powdered form. First, roast the green beans with olive oil, then sprinkle them with grated nutmeg. If you're feeling particularly whimsical, add some lemon zest, as this will bring out the aroma of nutmeg and its citrusy and slightly bitter flavor.

15. Go umami with hoisin sauce and soy sauce

Umami is a unique flavor that usually characterizes broths, cooked meats, and vegetables like mushrooms. Its rich taste can add depth to any dish and works perfectly with the natural, earthy flavor of green beans.

One way to add umami to green beans is by combining hoisin sauce and soy sauce with garlic to make a dressing for green beans. First, boil the green beans in lightly salted water for about five minutes. Then simmer the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and garlic for another five minutes until the mixture thickens slightly. Then pour in your hoisin-soy-garlic mixture over the boiled green beans and stir until they are evenly coated.

Try this spicy Szechuan green beans recipe if you prefer a deeper umami flavor and a spicier dish. First, stir-fry the green beans in sesame seed oil with chili flakes, sugar, and salt. Then, add the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and chopped garlic cloves to the same pan and keep stirring for three minutes. The green beans should be somewhere between soft and hard: Tender but still retaining a bit of crunch.