Simple Lemon Green Beans

These green beans, simply prepared with olive oil, garlic, and lemon, are delicious & bright! An easy, 4-ingredient side dish.

Simple Lemon Green Beans on a plate with lemon slices

This is my favorite way to cook green beans! I lightly blanch them so that their color stays vibrant, yielding perfectly cooked beans that still have a crisp, al dente bite. Finally, I toss them with a light dressing made of olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. They’re a perfect side dish that comes together in less than 15 minutes!

Simple Lemon Green Beans Recipe

How to cook green beans:

  1. Lightly blanch them in boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, until they’re al dente, but still vibrant.
  2. Rinse them briefly in cold water to stop the cooking process. This will keep them bright green.
  3. Toss with the lemon-garlic dressing below and serve!

Simple Lemon Green Beans Recipe

Optional topping ideas:

  • Toasted almonds or pine nuts
  • Fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, or basil
  • Grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • A few fried shallots (from this recipe)

Simple Lemon Green Beans

More Green Bean Recipes

5.0 from 12 reviews

Simple Lemon Green Beans

Prep time
Cook time
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These green beans, simply prepared with olive oil, garlic, and lemon, are an easy, 4-ingredient, delicious side dish!
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound green beans, de-stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or finely minced
  • juice of ½ lemon plus ½ teaspoon zest
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper.
  3. Boil the beans until tender but still vibrant green and a little bit crunchy, about 2 to 4 minutes. The timing will depend on their size..
  4. Drain the green beans in a colander, and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a kitchen towel and pat dry. Transfer to a serving dish and toss with the dressing. Season to taste and serve.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Theresa from

    I love having lighter dishes to balance out the potatoes, rolls and stuffing. As a non-turkey eater, having an assortment of sides is so essential! This recipe looks perfect and so easy!


  2. This is almost my everyday take on green beans. It goes with anything but isn’t bland!

  3. Looks so beautiful even though it’s so simple – such a perfect side to balance out the heavy meal!

  4. Green beans are not the first vegetable I usually grab in the produce department, and I tend to forget how delicious they can be, especially when dressed simply like this. I think this recipe would be a much more welcome and tastier side than its casserole counterpart. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Dahn from

    beautiful, I could fill up on these alone. There are never enough fresh green beans for me.

  6. The last time I made green beans they were kind of tough and I didn’t like them that much. But these look super easy and wonderful!

    • jeanine

      Hi Heather – look for ones that are as small and thin as you can find – they’re usually more tender and less chewy. Also, if you can find them at your local farmers market, they always taste better ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I have not had green bean casserole in years. I love your fresh and light way to dress these up as an alternative to casserole. There are typically so many heavy foods already on the table this is good to have as an alternative!

  8. Thanks Jeanine! I think maybe the problem was that they were too long and fat, because I even got them fresh from the farmers market! Going to look for thin ones next time.

  9. Eileen from

    Simple, delicious green beans are WAY better than a reconstructed casserole, any day! And you have to love that they’re easy and fast too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jamey

    Three of your recipes graced our Thanksgiving table — all new and all wonderful! Thank you from our whole family!

    • jeanine

      I’m so glad! Which ones were your favorites?

      • Jamey

        I made the green beans here in this post, the farro/kale/pom salad, and curried sweet potato soup. Beans my favorite, but at least one person raved about all three dishes. I made the soup using turkey stock and subbed Tuscan kale for spinach. So happy to have “discovered” your blog.

    • Teena

      Is this meant to be a cold dish? The reason I ask is because the beans are rinsed in cold water and not reheated. Thanks

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Teena, it’s a room-temp dish but you can easily just reheat them!

  11. Diane

    Do you have weight watcher’s points for your recipes?

  12. melissa

    simple and perfect!

    i did this with broccoli ( the only thing at home) but tomorrow i will try with what chinese called longxudou ้พ™้กป่ฑ† something like….asparagus beans. they look like green beans just longer, way longer.

  13. Sarah

    I made this for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and my family LOVED it both times! Super easy and delisiois, my favorite combo. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Jill

    This is simple, fresh, pretty and delish.

  15. Teresa

    These green beans are so delicious! Thank you!!!

  16. Ginny

    This has become my go-to “need a vegetable to balance out a heavy meal” recipe. Quick and easy, but way more exciting than the standard side salad.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Ginny, haha, I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the green beans!

  17. Kit

    I made these today and they are wonderful!! We don’t care for garlic, so I left that out and they were just perfect for our taste.

    Would I be able to make these green beans ahead of time (for example make them in the morning, and then serve them in the evening)? If I did this, when would I toss the green beans with the dressing….just before serving or right after boiling them?

    Thanks for the lovely recipe!

    • I have the same question. I need a green veggie to take for Thanksgiving and want something I can cook the day before.

      I’ll probably use less garlic but will add some for flavor. Can this be reheated in the microwave at the last minute?

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Ruth, yep, you can make this the day before and reheat it in the microwave as you’re ready to serve it.

  18. Emily

    Such an easy and fresh way to enjoy green beans. As equally delicious as it is fresh.

    • Emily

      Meant to say as equally delicious as it is quick. Fresh works too though.

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.