This Easy 5-Ingredient Green Bean Recipe Is a Lighter Alternative to Casserole

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The traditional Thanksgiving meal isn’t known for being light. After loading your plate with turkey, stuffing, and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, your family’s famous green bean casserole may suddenly look less appetizing. But there’s no rule stating that green beans have to be served in a creamy canned soup bath on Thanksgiving. With the right preparation, the vegetable can add some much-needed freshness to your holiday spread without sacrificing flavor.

This recipe for haricots verts amandine from the Institute of Culinary Education consists of five ingredients (not including water, salt, and pepper) and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. After trimming the stem-ends off your green beans, add them to a pot of boiling salted water and blanch them until they’re bright green. Transfer the beans to an ice bath after a couple of minutes to stop the cooking process, then drain them and set aside.

Next, heat slivered almonds in a pan with butter. Once they’ve started to brown, stir in sliced shallots and sliced garlic. Add the reserved green beans as the alliums start to soften and cook for an additional three minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe makes a tasty side dish any day of the year, but according to ICE’s lead recreational chef-instructor Roger Sitrin, it’s perfectly suited for Thanksgiving menus. “I think with the almonds in there and the shallots and the garlic, it gives you enough flavor that you don’t need to have that mushroomy, creamy kind of addition to it,” he tells Mental Floss.

Because the recipe is so simple, you can adapt it to satisfy your traditional relatives’ tastes without turning it turning it into a gut-bomb. “You could also add sliced mushrooms to it,” Sitrin says. “You can cook them before you put the shallots in the pan, or you can put the shallots in the pan and then cook them and add your garlic and your almonds and then your beans. Then you get that whole experience without that Campbell's creaminess.”

The dish is also meal prep-friendly. You can blanch and shock your green beans up to a day ahead of time, and when you’re ready to cook the rest of the dish, they can go straight from the fridge to the pan with the almonds, shallots, and garlic. You can find the full recipe from ICE below.

With campuses in New York and Los Angeles, the Institute of Culinary Education offers cooking and hospitality management classes at a variety of skill levels. In addition to their 6- to 14-month career training programs, they provide continued education to professionals already working in the culinary world. To learn recipes ranging from basic green beans to emulsified sauces, you can check out the school’s curricula here.

Haricots Verts Amandine

Serves 4

8 cups salted water
1 pound haricot verts, stem-end trimmed
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) butter
½ cup slivered almonds
1 shallot, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Bring salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and cook until bright green, 2-3 minutes until just tender. Move to an ice bath to stop the cooking process. Pour off the ice, then drain the beans and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan and add the butter. Add the almonds and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown and smell nutty. Add the shallot and garlic and continue to cook until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the reserved haricot verts to the pan and cook until heated through, but still crunchy, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.