These simple vegan green beans are made using an easy cooking technique that retains their color and texture. They are sautéed with onions, garlic, and a citrus glaze, then topped with toasted pine nuts. These oil free vegan green beans are a healthy whole food plant-based side dish perfect for the holidays.
My best friend and I went away for a whole weekend alone! Just the two of us! Without KIDS! It was glorious and amazing to spend an entire weekend catching up, shopping, and going out to eat of course!
We went to the small town of Saugatuck, Michigan. It’s a quaint town off the shore of Lake Michigan on the west side of the state. In the summer this town is crowded with tourists, but when we went mid September the crowds had begun to thin but the weather was still beautiful. Sunny skies, a soft breeze, and temperatures in the 70s.
We didn’t do a lot of research on restaurants in the area before arriving. While having our nails done (because of course you need to get your nails done on a girls weekend) we asked our technicians which restaurants they recommended. Both women recommended a small restaurant called the Pennyroyal Café. On Sunday morning, our last morning together, we stopped in for brunch.
As we entered the smell of roasted coffee filled the air. We put our name on the list and were told we could wait outside where we found a small white barn that served as an organic farm stand which provided the produce for the restaurant.
We decided to kill some time while we waited and went inside to check it out. We found a rainbow of vegetables and locally made goods. I couldn’t help but be drawn to the green beans.
I had been wanting to experiment with a green bean side dish for the holidays, and since we were heading home that day, I snatched them up.
My two boys love green beans. My husband is not a big fan. My kids often like their veggies plain with a light sprinkle of salt, but that’s not going to do it for my husband. I’ve got to add some flavor on his veggies to get him interested.
It’s funny how sometimes my husband is the pickiest of my crew when it comes to certain vegetables.
He’s never liked green bean casseroles, so that was out. I wanted to make something simple enough for the kids, yet still flavorful for my husband.
What I came up with was this beautiful side dish! Blanched and chilled green beans are sautéd with onions and garlic, with a citrus glaze and topped with toasted pine nuts.
It’s an oil free whole food plant-based side dish that’s got enough flavor to satisfy my husband without being too unusual to turn my kids away.
How do you cook green beans?
Cooking green beans is a skill I learned after numerous batches of soggy, flavorless, dark green beans. After a bit of research I realized I was boiling my green longer than necessary.
Use the Blanch and Chill Technique to Cook Green Beans
When you use the blanch and chill technique you end up with perfectly cooked green beans every time. They soften yet still retain their crunch, and their brilliant green color.
Blanching is when you boil vegetables in water for a short amount of time.
Chilling the green beans by submerging them in an ice bath immediately after boiling them stops the cooking process leaving you with crunchy, bright green, flavorful green beans.
How to Blanch and Chill Green Beans
Step 1-Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans. Cook for 2 minutes.
Step 2-Remove green beans from boiling water and immediately transfer to a bowl of ice water.
Step 3-Reheat green beans just before serving.
Ingredients you’ll need to make Vegan Green Beans with a Citrus Glaze:
- 1 pound of fresh green beans trimmed
- ¼ cup Vegetable Broth
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Lemon
- 2 tbsp Orange Juice (optional)
- 2 tbsp toasted Pine Nuts
These green beans are so far from the flavorless, soft green beans of the past, that if you’ve ever been a green bean doubter, you will come over to the side. At least my husband did!
Tools and equipment you’ll need:
You will need a large skillet to sauté the onions and green beans, a large pot to blanch the green beans, a large bowl to create an ice bath to chill the green beans, and a small skillet to toast the pine nuts.
How to make Vegan Green Beans with a Citrus Glaze – Step by Step
Step 1-Wash and trim green beans. To trim green beans cut the tips off either side.
Step 2-Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add green beans. Cook for 2 minutes.
Step 3-Remove immediately and submerge in a bowl of ice water.
Step 4-Dice onion. Heat a ¼ cup of vegetable broth in a skillet. Add onion cook for 3 minutes on medium heat until they soften. Add garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Step 5-Remove green beans from ice water. Add to skillet with onions and garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Step 6-Add lemon juice, orange juice (optional), salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving dish. You want to remove the green beans from the hot pan to stop the cooking process.
Step 7-Place dry pine nuts in a skillet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Do not add oil. Heat over medium until pine nuts turn golden brown and release their fragrance. Remove from heat immediately and sprinkle over top the green beans.
Step 8-Top with lemon zest and serve.
What to serve with Vegan Green Beans?
These vegan green beans make for a wonderful side at your Thanksgiving or holiday meal in place of the traditional green bean casserole. Serve them along side this Vegan Potato Casserole, or Best Ever Meatless Meatloaf.
I added a few tablespoons of orange juice to give the green beans a sweet citrus flavor. It was a big hit with my kids. You can leave the orange juice out and only use the lemon juice if you choose.
Check out these other vegan side dishes!
If you’ve tried my Vegan Green Beans with a Citrus Glaze recipe, please rate it and let me know how it turned out. You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for more plant-based family recipes your whole family will enjoy!
Vegan Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic
- 1 lb green beans
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- ¼ tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- Wash and trim green beans. To trim green beans cut the tips off either side.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add green beans. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Remove immediately and submerge in ice bath.
- Dice onion. Heat a ¼ cup of vegetable broth in a skillet. Add onion cook for 3 minutes on medium heat until they soften. Add garlic. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Remove green beans from ice water. Add to skillet with onions and garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice, and orange juice (optional), salt, and pepper. Remove from heat. Transfer to a serving dish.
- Place dry pine nuts in a skillet large enough to hold them in a single layer. Do not add oil. Heat over medium until pine nuts turn golden brown and release their fragrance. Remove from heat immediately to stop cooking process and sprinkle over top green beans.
- Top with lemon zest and serve.
- Salt boiling water and add the green beans to the water once it’s reached a boil.
- Keep an eye on the green beans when blanching. They can turn quickly. I recommend blanching for 2 minutes.
- Immediately transfer the green beans from the boiling water after 2 minutes to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- I left the green beans in the ice water until I was ready to transfer them to the skillet with the onions and garlic.
- After reheating the green beans in the skillet remove from pan and transfer to serving dish to stop the cooking process.
- Remove pine nuts from pan immediately to stop cooking and potentially burning the pine nuts.