Simple Lemon Green Beans

Simple Lemon Green Beans on a plate with lemon slices

Every fall when Jack and I talk about Thanksgiving-inspired recipes to make for the blog, “reinvent the green bean casserole” always comes up. And every year it never happens. I guess I just think that some traditions just shouldn’t be messed with… even if one of them involves processed cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans and canned fried onions. It’s an American family favorite so I’m not going to make fun of it this time.

Simple Lemon Green Beans /

However, if the infamous green bean casserole isn’t part of your tradition and you’re looking for an easy last minute veggie side, how about this one? Make a little lemon-garlic oil and toss it with lightly cooked fresh green beans. It’ll take you longer to boil the pot of water than to put this “recipe” together.

Simple Lemon Green Beans /

If this is too simple, jazz it up with some toasted almonds, fresh herbs, or a little shaved parmesan cheese… maybe even a few fried onions, I won’t judge.

Simple Lemon Green Beans /

For a few more vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe ideas click here.

Simple Lemon Green Beans
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 1 lb. green beans, de-stemmed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • about ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • a few good squeezes of lemon
  • salt & pepper
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and de-stem your green beans.
  2. In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, a smashed clove of garlic (you'll remove it later), lemon zest, a big squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Boil green beans until tender but still vibrant green and a little bit crunchy. This will depend on the size of your green beans (about 2-4 minutes).
  4. Drain green beans in a colander, and rinse under cold water. Let them dry for a bit then transfer green beans to a bowl and toss with some of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing to your liking. Serve.


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Theresa from on said:

    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. 😉

  5. Dahn from on said:

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

  6. Heather Mason from on said:

    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 from on said:

      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 🙂

  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. Heather Mason from on said:

    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 on said:

    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. 🙂

  10. Jamey on said:

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

    • jeanine from on said:

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

      • Jamey on said:

        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 on said:

      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

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

  11. Diane on said:

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

  12. melissa on said:

    simple and perfect!

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

  13. Sarah on said:

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

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