Sunday, December 13, 2015

Garlicky Green Beans with Almonds & Cranberries

I bring to you today the simplest side dish. Crisp steamed whole green beans tossed in garlicky olive oil, toasted almonds, and sweet yet tart cranberries.

Green beans are pretty standard fare, and almost everyone has their own version of a green bean dish for the holidays. Growing up, we always had traditional Green Bean Casserole with any turkey dinner, but in my older years I've really come to shy away from that gloppy dish and the usual canned ingredients that go into it. There are versions of whole food Green Bean Casserole out there, I just haven't had the interest to try them; I like green beans in their more pure form.

For the last few years, I've been in charge of green beans for our family Thanksgiving dinner. I brought them one year a while back, and after Matt's cousin ate two plates full and insisted on bringing home the leftovers, I was charged with forever bringing them again. I take that as a compliment? I've been making different versions of them for a while, but this one seems to be a real favorite. It has just enough color and flavor to feel like the holidays, but can be whipped together quickly and doesn't feel heavy like a Green Bean Casserole. It's festive, but healthy.

And of course, while I usually make them at Thanksgiving and Christmas, they by no means have to be served only at the holidays. I mean, green beans. Why not jazz them up for any time of year?

Garlicky Green Beans with Almonds and Cranberries

Serves 6-10 as a side dish

2 pounds frozen whole green beans (i.e., two 16-oz. bags)
2 tsp. sea salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries*
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large pot, place green beans, sea salt and a few tablespoons of water. Steam over medium heat until beans are tender yet still crisp. Drain and set aside. Do not overcook!

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium low heat. Add oil and garlic, and cook just until fragrant (do not brown garlic). Add the almonds, and continue cooking for 3-4 minutes until the almonds are slightly toasted. Add the cooked green beans and toss to coat.

Finally, take off the heat and stir in the cranberries. Taste for seasoning and add salt & pepper to taste.

*Note: unsweetened cranberries can be tricky to find, but are so much better and healthier than sweetened versions like Craisins. I find mine in the raw nuts section of the grocery store, but you can also buy them online.


  1. This looks great, thanks so much! I'm like you and enjoy unsweetened cranberries but have found that they're just too tart for many people. A healthy alternative to Craisins are cranberries sweetened with apple juice (also a bit hard to find, but almost always available at healthfood stores/co-ops) for those who might shy away from this healthy recipe simply because of the unsweetened cranberries -- which would be a real shame!!

    1. I'm so sorry, Melissa -- I was way too focused on green beans. (Whoops!) I hope you and your beautiful family have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Enjoy!!