These lemon garlic green beans are topped with crispy pancetta, buttery pine nuts, tangy dried cranberries and nutty parmesan. This easy recipe has a little bit of everything in one tasty side dish.
Recipe Highlights for Lemon Garlic Green Beans
Fancy Green Beans
This isn’t your everyday green bean recipe. All the different textures and flavors of the toppings combined with the green beans tossed in a lemon honey vinaigrette is a tasty new way to serve a classic side dish. The best part? This recipe may look fancy but it is really easy.
Make Ahead Side Dish
This recipe can be prepped a day or two ahead of time!
For the best presentation, I recommend blanching the green beans, making the vinaigrette and prepping/combining the toppings ahead of time. Then right before serving, toss the green beans in the vinaigrette and add the toppings.
If you’re meal prepping this recipe for the week, go ahead and make the entire recipe and store it in the fridge in a sealed container. The presentation might not be as beautiful but the flavor is just as delicious! The leftovers are awesome!
Thanksgiving Green Beans Recipe
If you’re looking for a new green bean recipe to bring to Thanksgiving, this one is a winner! Not only is it a new fancy twist on green beans but it can be prepped the day before, freeing up more time to spend with loved ones.
How to Make Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Pancetta
Recipe Tips & How-to
What does blanching green beans mean?
Blanching is a cooking method in which the green beans are submerged in boiling water for a very short amount of time and then immediately submerged in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Blanching preserves the bright green color, flavor and texture of the green beans. I like to blanch green beans for this recipe because they are cooked but still have that slightly crispy texture, fresh flavor and beautiful bright green color.
How to blanch green beans?
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few tablespoons of salt to the water. This will maximize the flavor and color of the green beans. Don’t worry, most of this salt will go down the drain with the rest of the water after cooking.
- Prepare an ice bath. Fill a large bowl with cold water and a few handfuls of ice.
- Put the green beans into the boiling water in batches for 2-3 minutes or until cooked through but still firm and very slightly crunchy. Usually 2-3 handfuls per batch works well. You’ll want to avoid overcrowding the pot with too many green beans. Overcrowding will drastically drop the temperature of the water and reduce circulation preventing the beans from cooking evenly.
- Using tongs, a slotted spoon or small mesh strainer remove the green beans from the boiling water and immediately plunge them in the ice bath for at least a few minutes or until they’re entirely cooled.
- Repeat this process until all the green beans have been blanched!
How to trim green beans?
There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this. I usually put a handful of green beans on my cutting board and line up them up so the ends on one side are all inline. Then I trim that end of all the green beans at once with one slice of my knife, flip the green beans, align the other ends and trim the other ends.
What is pancetta?
Pancetta is Italian bacon which is very similar to traditional bacon. In short, generally pancetta is cured pork belly while bacon is cured and smoke pork belly.
Additionally, pancetta is commonly sold in a variety of different cuts such as cubed, minced, thinly sliced, etc.
What is a substitute for pancetta?
As noted above, bacon and pancetta are very similar. So, bacon is an easy substitution.
Prosciutto can also be substituted for pancetta but does not need to be cooked. Just tear or slice it into small pieces and add it to your green beans!
Olives are a vegetarian substitution because they are salty and meaty. Crispy roasted chickpeas (homemade or store-bought) are also a good vegetarian substitute!
Where to buy pancetta?
Pancetta is easy to find year round at most grocery stores. Start by looking in the deli section where the fancy cheeses are. This is where I most often find it.
Next, check the refrigerated meat section where the packaged bacon is sold.
Lastly, check the prepackaged deli sandwich meat section.
Also, if there is a meat and seafood counter, the butcher may have some they can portion out and cut up for your right there.
How to cook pancetta?
You cook pancetta the same way you would cook bacon! In this recipe, I cook it on the stove in a medium/large skillet over medium to medium/high heat until crispy. Then put the pancetta on a plate covered in paper towels to soak up excess grease.
Is it necessary to toast pine nuts?
It is your call. Toasting pine nuts brings out the rich nutty flavor. However, toasting is not essential to the success of this recipe. Untoasted pine nuts makes a delicious recipe. Toasted pine nuts brings the flavor to the next level. Personally, whether or not I toast my pine nuts depends on how much time I have. Both are good and both are successes in my book!
How to toast pine nuts?
The instructions of this recipe toast pine nuts on the stove because it is quickest and uses the same skillet the pancetta is cooked it. So, it saves dishes! However, any of the toasting methods below will work just as well!
Toast pine nuts on stove.
Put the pine nuts in a dry skillet (no need for oil, spray, etc.) in a single layer over medium/low heat. Stir frequently until the nuts have spots of slightly golden brown. This usually takes about 2-3 minutes. This is the quickest and easiest method.
Toast pine nuts in microwave.
Spread the pine nuts on a microwave safe plate in a single layer. Microwave for 60 seconds, stir the pine nuts and microwave for 30 second intervals until the pine nuts start to golden.
Toast pine nuts in oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the pine nuts on a sheet pan in a single layer and place in the preheated oven for 6-8 minutes or until lightly golden. Stir every couple minutes so they don’t burn.
Other Holiday Recipes
Here are three easy recipes that can ALL be made ahead of time. If you make a batch of these Lemon Garlic Green Beans along side roasted turkey breast, make ahead gravy and slow cooker mashed potatoes you almost have a total holiday spread!
Lemon Garlic Green Beans with Crispy Pancetta
Lemon Honey Vinaigrette:
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp. pepper, or to taste
- 2 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 4 oz. pancetta, cubed or minced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/2 cup parmesan
- Blanch Green Beans: Fill a large pot with water and a few tablespoons of salt. Bring the pot of water to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with water and a few handfuls of ice. Once the water has come to a rolling boil, put a few handfuls of green beans in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until cooked through but firm. Then remove the green beans with tongs, a small mesh strainer or slotted spoon and immediately put them in the ice bath. Repeat this process until all green beans have been blanched. Strain the green beans and pat down with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
- Make Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all the vinaigrette ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
- Toast Pine Nuts: Put the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium/low heat. While stirring, toast for 2-3 minutes or until light golden spots start to appear.
- Cook Pancetta: In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta on medium/high until crispy. Turn off the heat. Wait 1-2 minutes and add the garlic to the pancetta. Stir for 30-60 seconds. Transfer the pancetta to a plate with paper towels to absorb any excess grease.
- Toss & Top Green Beans: Pour the vinaigrette over the green beans and toss until the green beans are evenly coated. In a medium bowl, combine the pine nuts, pancetta, dried cranberries and parmesan. Pour the toppings over the green beans. Serve immediately!
Checkout my free ultimate guide to a make-ahead Thanksgiving!