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Balsamic Green Beans get an added festive touch when glazed with shallots and dried cranberries. Serve them simply out of the skillet for a quick and easy weeknight side dish. Or top them with creamy goat cheese for a deliciously tangy touch that makes them worthy of a place on your holiday menu. This healthy and gluten free recipe perfect for a Christmas or Thanksgiving meal.
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Originally published November 21, 2012. Updated with new photos and more helpful information.
Cranberry Balsamic Green Bean Recipe
Do you remember the commercial where everybody shows up at the door, ceramic baking dish in have, and says, “I brought the green bean casserole!”? The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season always reminds me of this commercial, whether I actually see it on TV or not.
My family loves that green bean casserole. My sister could make a meal of the stuff for several days. However, I’m not a big fan. And, since I am gluten free, that canned cream of mushroom soup can’t be on my menu. So as the holiday season approaches, I’m often tinkering around with string beans to create a fresher, healthier, and maybe even a bit more elegant way to enjoy this delicious veggie.
A Healthy Green Bean Casserole Alternative
These balsamic green beans are now my holiday side dish of choice. Instead of a heavy, creamy casserole and greasy fried onions, you have a bit of crunch from fresh beans and onion flavor from balsamic caramelized shallots. And dried cranberries add that perfect touch of festive flavor.
And while you can serve these simply glazed green beans with cranberries and straight out of the skillet, a sprinkling of goat cheese on top, once it’s mixed in, gives it that creamy element with the rich, tangy flavor that balances out the bite of balsamic vinegar.
- Fresh green beans: These should be washed and the ends snipped off. You can also use one of those bags of green beans that you cook in the microwave
- Olive oil
- Shallot: If you don’t have a shallot, you can substitute finely minced red onion
- Salt and pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dijon mustard
- Dried cranberries
- Crumbled goat cheese: This is optional, but it adds a nice tangy flavor and a bit of creaminess
How to Make Sauteed Balsamic Green Beans with Shallots
Check out the recipe card below for all the details!
First, parboil your green beans by adding them to a pot of boiling water and boiling for about 10 minutes or until they are tender but still have a bit of crunch. You want them slightly less done than you prefer eating them. Then remove them from the pot and run them under cold water to stop the cooking process.
If you are working quickly, cooling them under running water is fine. But if the beans will sit for a while or you want to parboil them and store them in the fridge until you make the glaze, I recommend a dunk in an ice bath.
Saute the shallot in olive oil with a bit of salt and pepper until it starts to caramelize.
Then make the balsamic glaze by adding the vinegar, mustard, and cranberries to the pan and allowing it to reduce slightly. This will also soften and plump up the cranberries.
Add the green beans to the glaze and toss to coat and heat through. Serve as-is or top with goat cheese, if desired.
Transfer your leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 or 4 days. It is best to refrigerate portions that do not have the goat cheese added, but you can do that. When you reheat it, the goat cheese will melt and turn into more of a creamy sauce.
I do not recommend freezing this recipe.
Reheating Balsamic Green Beans
It can be reheated in the microwave, or in a skillet on the stove. It is best to reheat portions without the goat cheese already added.
Make it Ahead
You have a few options to make this dish in advance. You can parboil the beans, dunk them in ice water, and refrigerate, then make the balsamic glaze right before serving. Or you can saute the green beans with the balsamic shallots and cranberries and refrigerate. Then reheat in a skillet and add the goat cheese right before serving, if desired.
Cook for a Crowd
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you are adding it to a holiday menu for a large group. You may just need to use a larger skillet.
Make it a Meal
Shop the Recipe
- Because the balsamic glaze cna get a bit sticky, I like to use my All-Clad 10-inch nonstick skillet.
- I like to use my wooden tongs for serving, but when tossing the beans in a nonstick skillet, be sure to use tongs with rubber ends so you don’t scratch the surface.
- White rectangular serving platters look so elegant for serving green beans.
Sauteed Balsamic Green Beans with Cranberries
- Fill a large pot of water and ad a good pinch of salt. Place it over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- While it comes to a boil, wash and trim the ends off of the green beans.
- Add the beans to the pot, and boil for 10-12 minutes, or until just slightly firmer than you like to eat them.
- Remove the beans from the pot and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, shallot, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until shallots are tender and starting to caramelize.
- Add balsamic vinegar, mustard, and dried cranberries. Bring to a simmer, and reduce and caramelize for another 3-5 minutes.
- Add the beans to the pan and stir to coat and heat the beans through.
- Remove the beans from the heat, and top with or toss with the goat cheese. if desired.