Sautéed green beans are a healthy, easy-to-make side dish that suits nearly any diet, and tastes delicious for days. Learn how to cook green beans on the stove with this easy recipe!

An overhead photo of sauteed green beans on a serving platter with a spoon. Surrounding this is a lemon half, kitchen towel, parsley, and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
Photo Credits: Katherine Irwin

I often roast green beans or braise them in tomato sauce Greek-style (called Fasolakia). But when I want a simple side that’s especially low-effort, high-reward, and doesn’t require turning on my oven, sautéed green beans come in handy every time!

Green beans are on the heartier side as far as green vegetables go. Unlike sautéing a more delicate vegetable like asparagus, they need a little extra love but are well worth the time. 

They do best with a quick sear to soften their tougher exterior, then a gentle simmer to load them with Mediterranean seasonings. That means a bold amount of garlic, savory spices, buttery toasted pine nuts, and lots of lemon and fresh herbs to finish.

The green beans get perfectly tender–but far from mushy–with a perfect balance of savory, fresh, comforting, and bright flavor. This simple legume will taste delicious for up to 3 days in your fridge. Make a big batch to have a vitamin and fiber-rich vegetable at the ready!

Table of Contents
  1. Sautéed Green Beans Ingredients and Substitutions 
  2. Ingredient Spotlight
  3. How to Sauté Green Beans
  4. What to Serve with Sautéed Green Beans
  5. More Green Bean Recipes
  6. Sauteed Green Beans Recipe
Ingredients for sauteed green beans including green beans, olive oil, onion, salt, garlic, tomatoes, coriander, paprika, black pepper, pine nuts, lemon, and parsley.

Sautéed Green Beans Ingredients and Substitutions 

You could keep things simple by making this recipe with just green beans, olive oil, and salt, but I like to jazz it up a bit with some of my favorite flavor-makers. You’ll need:

  • Oil: You’ll cook the green beans over high heat, so use a high-quality extra virgin olive oil (more on this below). 
  • Onion and garlic add their famous sweet and savory punch. I like the sweetness of yellow onion here, but white onion or shallot would work in its place. 
  • Green beans: I wrote this recipe for standard green beans, but the “fancier” varieties like haricots verts or French green beans are great too. They cook a bit more quickly so just be sure to check on them at the 10-15 minute mark.
  • Tomatoes add a bright, summery freshness. 
  • Seasoning: Coriander lends an aromatic earthy quality. Paprika and ground black pepper add a very mild heat for depth. Salt enhances the flavor.
    • I use the Mediterranean coriander and sweet Spanish paprika from our spice shop. You can use anything labeled “paprika,” or smoked paprika for a smoky element, just keep in mind that smoked paprika will be strong. 
  • Fresh lemon juice lifts the savory flavor, adding a good hit of acidity for balance. 
  • Parsley adds freshness, but any tender green herbs work in its place, like cilantro, mint, or dill. I wouldn’t substitute with dried herbs here as they will be too dominant. 
  • Pine nuts add a buttery, tender crunch, but walnuts or slivered almonds would work well too.
Every day olive oil bundle from the Mediterranean dish shop.
Everyday Olive Oil Bundle from The Mediterranean Dish Shop

Ingredient Spotlight

One of my most frequently asked questions is whether cooking with olive oil over high heat is healthy. My Mediterranean bones have always screamed YES, but now I have studies, like Changes In Chemical Compositions of Olive Oil Under Different Heating Temperatures Similar to Home Cooking published in the Journal of Food Chemistry and Nutrition, to back me up!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil's smoke point is well within the range required for most cooking methods, including sautéing. Its antioxidant properties also act as a stabilizer, making it more resistant to oxidation at higher temperatures compared to seed oils like sunflower. Plus, it’s unmatched in terms of flavor. Just be sure to use a high-quality oil, and extra virgin is a must. 

A close up of sauteed green beans.

How to Sauté Green Beans

The benefit to sautéeing green beans is you get the best of both worlds: the tender-meets-snappy texture of blanching them but the developed flavor of roasting them. And there’s no need to turn on your oven! Here are the steps:

  • Get your ingredients prepped. Wash and dry 2 pounds of green beans, then trim and halve them on the diagonal. Chop 1 yellow onion. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Dice 2 large tomatoes.
  • Sauté the onions. Coat a large pan with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and set over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook, tossing regularly, until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes. Chopped onions being sauteed in a skillet with a wooden spoon. Next to this is a kitchen towel, a lemon half and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
  • Saute the green beans. Add the green beans and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, tossing regularly until they just begin to soften.Green beans and chopped onions being sauteed in a skillet with a wooden spoon. Next to this is a kitchen towel, a lemon half and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
  • Add the flavor-makers. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and ¼ cup of water. Season with 1 teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon paprika, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Green beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes and spices being sauteed in a skillet with a wooden spoon. Next to this is a kitchen towel, two lemon halves and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
  • Simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for about 25 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally, until the green beans and tomatoes have both softened, released their liquid, and created a delicious pan sauce. Green beans, onions, garlic, and tomatoes being sauteed in a skillet with a wooden spoon. Next to this is two lemon halves and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts (if using). In a small skillet set over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon). Once the oil begins to shimmer, add 3 tablespoons pine nuts and toss with a wooden spoon until they’ve turned a faint golden brown (watch carefully and do not leave the pine nuts unattended as they will burn). Transfer to a plate and set aside. Pine nuts being toasted in a skillet with a wooden spoon. Next to this is a kitchen towel, two lemon halves and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
  • Ready your herbs. Finely chop enough parsley leaves and tender stems to yield ¼ cup. Juice 1 lemon.
  • Finish and serve. Remove the green beans from the heat and transfer to a serving platter, drizzling any pan juices over top. Finish with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley, and pine nuts (if using). 
An overhead close up photo of a serving of sauteed green beans on a plate with a fork. Next to this is a serving platter with the rest of the green beans and a bowl of black pepper.

What to Serve with Sautéed Green Beans

Sauteed green beans can wear a lot of hats. To me they can pull double-duty as a salad, so feel free to serve them with your protein of choice and call it a day.

A grain of some kind, like Farro or Basmati Rice, will further round out the meal. They also keep well for days, so repurpose leftovers for breakfast with a Fried Egg, gently reheating the beans until just warm.

More Green Bean Recipes

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5 from 1 vote

Sauteed Green Beans

Suzy Karadsheh of The Mediterranean Dish. In the kitchenSuzy Karadsheh
An overhead photo of sauteed green beans on a serving platter with a spoon. Surrounding this is a lemon half, kitchen towel, parsley, and bowls of salt, black pepper and pine nuts.
For this easy vegan side, green beans get the star treatment. They're first sautéed to soften their tough exterior and enhance their natural sweetness, then simmered with Mediterranean spices until perfectly tender yet snappy. Serve with just about anything, from roast meats, to fish, to cauliflower–you really can't go wrong.
Prep – 15 minutes
Cook – 25 minutes
Total – 40 minutes
Cuisine:
American/Mediterranean
Serves – 6 people, as a side
Course:
Side

Ingredients
  

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved on the diagonal
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large tomatoes on the vine, diced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • Saute the onions. Coat a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and set over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook, tossing regularly, until fragrant and golden, about 5 minutes.
  • Saute the green beans. Add the green beans and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, tossing regularly until they just begin to soften.
  • Add the flavor-makers. Add the garlic, tomatoes, and water. Season with the coriander, paprika, and a big pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Simmer. Turn the heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Simmer for about 25 minutes, checking and stirring occasionally, until the green beans and tomatoes have both softened, released their liquid, and created a delicious pan sauce.
  • Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts (if using). In a small skillet set over medium heat, add a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon). Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the pine nuts and toss with a wooden spoon until they’ve turned a faint golden brown (watch carefully and do not leave the pine nuts unattended as they will burn). Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Finish and serve. Remove the green beans from the heat and transfer to a serving platter, drizzling any pan juices over top. Finish with lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley, and pine nuts (if using).

Notes

  • Shop this recipe: Visit our shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including the olive oil, paprika, and coriander used in this recipe.
  • Store green beans, covered in your refrigerator, for up to 5 days. Reheat gently until just warmed through. 

Nutrition

Calories: 105.1kcalCarbohydrates: 17.1gProtein: 4.4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 0.4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 14.7mgPotassium: 525.5mgFiber: 5.9gSugar: 7.5gVitamin A: 1683.4IUVitamin C: 38.9mgCalcium: 78.9mgIron: 2.4mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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5 from 1 vote

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Comments

  1. Jocelyn Twomey says:

    5 stars
    Had fresh green beans from our local farm, and I couldn't decide how I wanted to prepare them. Once again, Suzy to the rescue. Such a simple and flavorful recipe.

    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks, Jocelyn! So glad you enjoyed it!