Yay, it’s the weekend! I’m going to be cooking up some delicious things this weekend, but in the mean time I wanted to post this “redo” of one of the first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes: Lemon Butter Green Beans. Why? Well, I happened across some incredibly fresh and beautiful green beans yesterday that were also ON SALE, so I just had to have them. The lemon butter treatment is my absolute favorite way to prepare green beans and the original post for this recipe, from waaayyy back in 2009, doesn’t do it justice. I’m doing it again just so that everyone can see how easy, delicious, and inexpensive real food can be. This is truly one of those “goes with anything” side dishes, so learn how to make them and make them often! :)
The combination of fresh lemon and butter gives these green beans a rich yet bright flavor that highlights their natural goodness. The tangy lemon balances the creamy butter quite perfectly, while salt and pepper add just a little punch. And that’s all you need! Really! The trick to making these green beans out-of-this-world good is to not over cook them. The beans should still have quite a bit of “tooth” to the texture, without having that raw flavor. The color should be a bright vibrant green rather than a dull olive color. This is how you do vegetables right.
P.S. The “lemon butter treatment” works well with other vegetables, too. I do the same thing with broccoli fairly often.
Lemon Butter Green Beans
- 1 lb. green beans $0.98
- 1 Tbsp butter $0.09
- 1 lemon $0.59
- Salt and Freshly Cracked Pepper to taste $0.05
- Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside. Remove the stems from the green beans and, if you prefer shorter pieces, snap them in half. Place the green beans in a colander and rinse well with cool water.
- Transfer the rinsed green beans to a deep skillet. Add about one inch of fresh water (the water will not cover the beans). Place a lid on the skillet and turn the flame on to medium-high. Allow the water to come up to a boil. Let the beans simmer and steam for 3-5 minutes, or just until the beans are bright green and just slightly tender. Test the texture with a fork.
- Once the green beans are bright green and slightly tender, turn off the heat and drain them in a colander. Return the drained green beans to the still-warm skillet with the heat turned off.
- Add the butter, about ½ tsp of lemon zest, a quick squeeze of the lemon juice (about 1 tsp), a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked pepper. Toss the green beans to distribute the seasonings and allow the residual heat to melt the butter.
- When the butter has melted fully, taste the green beans and add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or lemon zest to your liking. Serve immediately.
Step by Step Photos
Use a microplane, zester, or small-holed cheese grater to remove the thin layer of yellow zest from the lemon. Set the zest aside.
Snap the stem ends off of one pound of fresh green beans. If you like smaller pieces, you can also snap each bean in half. Place the beans in a colander and rinse with cool water.
Add the washed green beans to a deep skillet and add about one inch of water. The water should not cover the beans. The water is just there to generate steam. You can use a steaming basket, but I find it unnecessary. The cooking time is so brief that the beans at the bottom that are IN the water don’t seem to cook any more than the beans on top that only get steam.
Place a lid on the skillet and then place it over a medium-high flame. Let the water come to a boil, then let the beans continue to simmer/steam in the skillet for 3-5 minutes, or until they are bright green and just barely tender.
Test the texture with a fork. They should be slightly softer than the fresh beans, but still have quite a bit of “tooth” or crunch. You don’t want to over cook them here because they will continue to cook a bit from the residual heat. The color should be bright green. If they’re a dull olive color, they’ve cooked too long.
Drain the cooked beans in a colander and then return them to the skillet with the heat turned off. The beans and skillet should still be quite warm, though. Add 1 Tbsp butter, about 1/2 tsp zest, a squeeze of the lemon juice (about one teaspoon), and some salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Toss the beans to distribute the seasonings and to allow the residual heat to melt the butter.
Taste the Lemon Butter Green Beans and add more lemon juice, zest, salt, or pepper to your liking.
Serve immediately and enjoy their fresh, vibrant, and snappy flavor and texture. ❤️❤️❤️ My fav!
(And I know you’re going to ask about that chicken… It’s part of a rotisserie chicken that I impulse bought, so sorry, don’t have the recipe for that one! BUT I do have a recipe for Oven Roasted Chicken Legs that are quite good. )