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Quick Steamed Green Beans with Dijon Vinaigrette


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If you’re rushing to get dinner on the table and need an easy vegetable side dish to pair with it, then these quick steamed green beans with Dijon vinaigrette are for you! Ready in about fifteen minutes, this is one of my favorite low-key side dishes, and it’s packed with good nutrition.

An image of a white ceramic bowl, which has been filled with brightly colored green beans and topped with sliced almonds and a vinaigrette.

I could very easily have called this dish “last minute green beans.”

This is the side dish that I’ll whip up every time somebody is coming over for dinner and I haven’t given much thought to vegetable sides.

It’s also the dish that I make for myself when I’m craving a green side dish, but I’m not totally in the mood for a side salad.

Most of all, this is a green vegetable that I can rely on when I need my meal prep to be quick and easy.

From start to finish, the steamed green beans take about fifteen minutes to make (not including the time it takes for water to heat up for steaming). They’re simple, yes, but they’re tasty, wholesome, and healthful.

What could be better a better low-key addition to your table?

In praise of the humble green bean

If you ask me, green beans are one of those vegetables, like cabbage, that don’t get all of the hype that they deserve.

Perhaps this is a question of association. If you grew up with overcooked or under-seasoned green beans, then you may have come to think of them as being mushy or bland.

It doesn’t have to be like that. When green beans are cooked well, they can be sweet and crisp-tender.

Green bean nutrition

When it comes to green vegetables, the leafy greens—kale, collards, chard, and so on—tend to get the most credit for their nutrient density.

However, as I often say to my nutrition clients, there’s value to be found in nearly all green veggies.

Green beans have plenty of good nutrition to offer. They’re great sources of Vitamin C, which is essential for good immune function.

Like many other green vegetables, green beans are also excellent sources of Vitamin K. Vitamin K, along with calcium, plays an important role in maintaining bone health.

Green beans supply folate, iron, and potassium. And, like most plant-based foods, they provide dietary fiber, which aids in satiety and contributes to digestive health.

In short, these humble vegetables are nutritional heavy hitters.

How to steam green beans

There are many ways to prepare green beans. They can be boiled or microwaved, which is efficient, but I find that both methods create a very fine line between cooked vs. overcooked beans.

Green beans can also be roasted, which is a great way to give them some texture and depth of flavor.

However, my favorite way to cook green beans, by far, is to steam them.

Steaming green beans gives them the same crisp-tender texture as blanching or boiling. Yet I think it preserves their lovely green color and allows the home cook more control over their texture than with those other two methods.

Steaming is easy, too—and ease is what this recipe is all about.

A quick how-to

The cooking process for this recipe is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll fill a pot with a few inches of water and fit it with a steamer insert. Bring the water to a boil.

Next, add your trimmed green beans (this steamed green bean recipe calls for twelve ounces, or 360g) and cover the pot.

Steam the beans for 5-6 minutes, or until they’re entirely tender, but not mushy. To some extent, this is a question of personal taste. I like my green beans a little more crisp, but my mom, for example, likes them more tender.

Once the beans have been cooked to your liking, remove them from the steamer insert and place the beans onto a serving dish (or into a storage container, if you’re meal prepping). 

An overhead image of a whitish gray, rimmed ceramic bowl.
Aim to steam your green beans until they’re tender, yet still a bit crisp, and their bright green color is preserved.

Making green beans with Dijon vinaigrette

To make the quick steamed green beans with Dijon vinaigrette, you need only whisk together a quick dressing and add it to the cooked beans.

An overhead image of steamed green beans in a white bowl, which are topped with a line of sliced almonds. A small bowl of dressing is situated nearby.
Dress the green beans with a small batch of quick, Dijon vinaigrette and top them with sliced almonds for a simple presentation.

The Dijon vinaigrette in this recipe is similar to my favorite Champagne vinaigrette, with different proportions, and minus the shallots.

If you like, you can add finely minced shallots, garlic, or snipped chives to the dressing.

An overhead image of a mason jar, which holds a pale yellow, creamy looking vinaigrette.
A mini whisk is a useful tool for making homemade vinaigrettes and other dressings, but you can use a regular fork, too.

Toss the beans gently with the prepared vinaigrette.

After this, I like to top the steamed and dressed beans with some sliced, toasted almonds. The almonds are optional, but they add a nice crunch component.

Baked vegan candied walnuts or baked vegan candied pecans would also be great.

If you have a nut allergy or don’t care for almonds, you could top the beans with another component for extra texture and/or flavor, such as:

  • Crispy roasted chickpeas
  • 10-minute quick pickled onions
  • Toasted, salted pepitas
  • Snipped chives
  • Chopped parsley leaves
  • Chopped dill
  • Lemon zest or finely chopped, preserved lemon

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Meal prep & storage

Much as I love this side dish as a last-minute option, the green beans can be a very easy dish to make ahead of time, too.

The beans can be steamed and held in the fridge for up to four days before dressing and serving them. The vinaigrette will keep for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

An image of a white ceramic bowl, which has been filled with brightly colored green beans and topped with sliced almonds and a vinaigrette.
Make the vinaigrette and steam the green beans ahead of time if you’d like an easy meal prep vegetable side dish for the week ahead.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces green beans, regular or French style, trimmed (360g)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon champagne, sherry, or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • A few turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered toasted almonds (30g)

Instructions

  • Fill a pot with a few inches of water and fit it with a steamer insert. Bring the water to a boil.
  • Add 12 oz trimmed green beans and steam for 5-6 minutes, or until the beans are entirely tender, but not mushy. Remove the beans from the steamer insert and place them onto a serving dish (or in a storage container, if you’re meal prepping). 
  • Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper. Pour this over the green beans and mix them in order to distribute the dressing. Top the green beans with the sliced almonds. Serve or store for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
An overhead image of a bowl of steamed green beans, which are topped with a small row of sliced almonds.

For years, I always prepared green beans the same way: with vegan butter, salt or onion salt, and pepper.

That way of preparing them is good. It’s cozy. I still use it often.

Yet making steamed green beans with a zippy Dijon vinaigrette is a little fresher and more sophisticated, with barely any added effort.

I hope that this recipe will become one of those low-stress vegetable side dishes that keeps your dinner table covered in color, all while preserving your energy. That’s what it has done for me!

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