An easy delicious side dish — simple green beans with browned butter, hazelnuts and fresh thyme.
I know — recipes for fresh green beans are everywhere. Who really needs another one?
Well, let’s assume you do since you’ve landed on this page. Welcome!
To make your trip worthwhile, grab this recipe for brown butter green beans. It’s a surprisingly simple way to elevate an everyday ingredient into something special — you could even say dinner-party worthy.
From start to finish, this easy dish takes about 15 minutes to make.
Green beans were always a lifesaver when my kids were little — they were a green vegetable on the dinner table they would actually eat.
On the other hand, I rarely ate fresh green beans when I was growing up.
For some reason, all we ever had were mushy olive-green string beans out of a can. As you can imagine, my life went on without great passion for those.
I don’t know what changed, but in the 21st century we now have fresh green beans in the market almost year-round.
Friendly and versatile green beans really don’t need much more than brief cooking and a bit of salt, oil or butter. Or brown butter.
Although it may sound fancy-pants, making brown butter isn’t hard to do. All you need is a pan, a stove and a healthy chunk of good butter.
The magic of brown butter
Let’s hear a round of applause for French cooks: They invented one of life’s pleasures, beurre noisette, which I believe translates as “butter heated until it turns nut brown and tastes amazing.”
It definitely makes sense that noisette also happens to be the French word for hazelnut (or filbert, if you prefer).
In addition to its glowy amber color and fantastic nutty aroma, brown butter adds a beautiful finishing touch to just about anything edible.
Seriously, I’m guessing an old catcher’s mitt would taste delicious slathered with it.
Tips for perfect brown butter green beans:
- This probably goes without saying for such a simple recipe, but I’ll say it anyway: Use good, fresh unsalted butter. If you can track down high-butterfat cultured butter (sometimes called European-style butter), even better. Look for lactic acid on the ingredient label.
- Don’t overcook the beans. Taste and test after 2 or 3 minutes. A good sign the beans are almost ready is when you can hear them popping in the boiling water.
- Choose a pan with a lighter surface to make the brown butter so you can better see the color changing as it cooks.
More simple vegetable side dish recipes:
- Creamy Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin
- Harvest Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Chimichurri
- Slow Cooker Root Vegetables with Apple Cider Glaze
brown butter green beans with hazelnuts and thyme
Yield 4 servings
Tender green beans bathed in nutty brown butter and topped with chopped hazelnuts and fresh thyme. Perfect holiday side dish or vegetable side.
This is an incredibly simple recipe that turns everyday green beans into something special. You can use straight-up green beans, or a mixture of yellow and green when they're in season.
If you're feeding a crowd, the recipe doubles easily.
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts
- 1 or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- Flaky sea salt
- Drop the green beans in boiling, generously salted water and cook 3 - 5 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt and bubble, swirling the pan. When the butter begins to foam, turn up the heat to medium-high and cook until the butter turns amber and smells nutty — this should take just a few minutes.
- Take the butter off the heat and stir in the hazelnuts and thyme. Pour the butter over the beans and sprinkle with sea salt.