~ Your family will be licking the plate! Yes – it’s that good! This recipe for Roasted Green Beans with Balsamic-Browned Butter maximizes big flavors from roasting the beans, and from just a tiny bit of indulgently delicious browned butter. Perfect when you’ve got a bumper crop of summer beans, and also a healthier alternative to traditional green bean casseroles for the holidays (psssst … it’s a total Thanksgiving game-changer)! ~
This Recipe Is: • Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Vegetarian • Gluten Free •
We’re gonna cause you deep embarrassment with this recipe, so we’re just apologizing right up front. Your family and friends will be unabashedly licking their plates. Oh, Miss Manners would be so appalled! Truly, it’s worth it, though … you’ll see …
Browned butter is magical stuff. It’s like the yumminess of butter to the millionth power. (Ha! A little math fun for you!) And for health-conscious people like our THKers, the beauty is that a little decadent browned butter goes a long, looooong way. And, it makes pretty much anything – like these green beans (or probably even shoe leather or bicycle grease!) taste irresistible.
We’ve witnessed this amazing phenomenon firsthand. If your kids gulp down their green veggies, we know you won’t mind if they lick their plates, too! (Now, when your best friend’s hubby starts licking his plate – ewwwww! – you’re kinda on your own … remember – we already apologized!)
With just a handful of ingredients and almost no prep time for this recipe – we’re done apologizing. From here on out, we’re just sticking with “You’re welcome.”
Years ago, back in 2001, Cooking Light magazine first ran their recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter. It’s since become legendary. As in, probably the single most fantastic recipe Cooking Light has ever published. In fact, six years ago when the magazine celebrated its 20th anniversary by publishing its top recipes of the first 20 years, that recipe was selected as their Best Vegetable Side Dish ever! And just last month, it was once again featured in Cooking Light’s article “Our 25 All-Time Favorite Recipes”! See … totally amazing!
That asparagus recipe has become a mainstay at pretty much any holiday meal Shelley’s family serves (Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving …). It’s the recipe that taught her kiddos to love asparagus. Really. LOVE asparagus … and then it taught them to lick their plates. *SIGH* Oh, well … worth it!
Lately, though, she’s adapted the browned butter sauce for other veggies. Mmmmmmm … broccoli (with pine nuts!) … her family actually liked it even better than the exalted asparagus! With just a tiny bit of this browned butter, the four of them ate nearly 2 pounds of broccoli at dinner! We’re not kidding when we say that this could just be the thing to get your kids eating their veggies!
Bottom line: this browned butter sauce is amazing!
When we were planning our THK Thanksgiving posts, Gretchen suggested we try the sauce with green beans. Ah-MAZING! And, since green beans are such a traditional food on America’s Thanksgiving tables, we’re gonna share this version of Shelley’s browned butter veggies with you first.
It’s SOOOO much better than that traditional green bean casserole that nestles itself (and its extra calories) right around your midsection.
Sure, it’d be fantastic with fresh summer beans (hint … hint … you’ll want to bookmark this recipe for next August!), but this is also just perfect at Thanksgiving with the beans we’ve still been finding in our local markets. In a pinch, you can even use the pre-washed, pre-trimmed, bagged green beans you often find in the produce section. Just don’t use frozen.
Make-Ahead Tip: You can rinse and stem the green beans earlier in the day, or even the day before. You can get even further ahead by spreading all the beans out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and wrapping the whole thing in plastic, refrigerated until go-time. Then simply fire up the oven, hit those beans with a quick spray of olive or canola oil and a little salt and pepper. While they roast, you can get the butter browning.
Making Browned Butter: If you’ve never done this before, don’t be nervous. You can SEE and SMELL when the butter is getting brown and toasty, and although you don’t want it to actually burn, this recipe is very forgiving. Just keep a vague eye on it while you’re prepping the rest of the meal – it’s really not that finicky!
As you can see in the photos above, there is a specific progression that’s easy to watch. First, your butter will melt, and then it will foam. Finally, the milk solids will begin to fall to the bottom of the pan, at about the same time that you begin to smell a lovely, nutty aroma and see a gorgeous browned color. That’s the perfect time to pull the butter off the heat.
Now, for most browned butter recipes (and after tasting this recipe, you’ll be dying to try others!), you would ideally pull your butter off the heat before the milk solids get quite as dark as they are in our fifth photo. If left too long, the butter will actually begin to blacken and lead you past making a browned butter sauce to a different sauce called beurre noir.
What we want you to see here, though, is that this particular browned butter recipe just isn’t that picky. Even if you’re busy basting the Thanksgiving turkey and the butter gets a little too brown – don’t panic! Once the flavors of balsamic and soy sauce have been added, it’ll still be absolutely delicious (although we wouldn’t recommend letting the butter go much past how ours looks in photo 5).
Also, some recipes will suggest that you strain the milk solids out of the browned butter, but for this recipe, that’s not necessary either!
So simple – really!
One tiny word of caution – once you’ve browned your butter and turned off the heat, stand back a bit as you add the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Especially as you pour in the first spoonful, your butter will sizzle and splatter up, so you want to be sure it doesn’t burn your hand or stain your carefully-chosen Thanksgiving ensemble!
And remember: this isn’t just a recipe for Thanksgiving. It’s for every day, especially in the summer when green beans are really at their finest. Make it for your holiday gathering next Thursday, and then tuck it away … this is a recipe you’ll make again and again.
Oh, and the plate-licking? You’re welcome.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
- 1 - 1 1/4 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed, trimmed and dried
- canola or olive oil cooking spray
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- a pinch (about 1/16 teaspoon) black pepper
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 3/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 475°. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper.
- Arrange green beans in a single layer on baking sheet. Don't overcrowd them (use a second baking sheet if needed), or they won't roast properly.
- Spray beans lightly but evenly with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast beans for about 13-15 minutes, until crisp-tender with nicely browned, seared spots, stirring them once about halfway through.
- When you remove the beans from the oven, place almonds, spread on a fresh piece of parchment, onto the baking sheet and roast them for 1 - 1½ minutes. Check them and watch closely – at this high temperature they toast very quickly and can burn easily.
- Meanwhile, as beans are roasting, begin making browned butter sauce. Place butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking, gently swirling the pan or stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted, foamed and turned a rich golden-brown with little specks of milk solids in the bottom of the pan. This will take anywhere from about 5-10 minutes, varying greatly depending on how powerful your burners are.
- Remove butter from heat and add the soy sauce and vinegar. (Lean away from the pan as you add them because they will cause the butter to splatter up.)
- To serve, place beans on a serving plate, drizzle browned butter sauce over top and toss the beans lightly to coat, then sprinkle with almonds.