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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 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. A healthy and gluten free alternative to the usual heavy casserole, this easy and elegant dish is perfect for a Christmas or Thanksgiving meal.
Looking for more green bean recipes? Try Green Beans with Bacon or Creamy Green Beans and Mushrooms.
Originally published November 21, 2012. Updated with new photos and more helpful information.
A Healthy Green Bean Casserole Alternative
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.
And this commercial reminds me of my grandmother. Honestly, I cannot remember if she thought it was funny or annoying. All I remember is her imitating the commercial the second we walked into whatever house was the location of that year’s Thanksgiving dinner.
My family loves that green bean casserole. My sister could make a meal of the stuff for several days. Over the years, I have begun to like it less and less. Too salty, too gloppy. I suppose my palate has gotten more used to fresher ingredients than the processed stuff that we were all raised on.
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.
Cranberry Balsamic Green Bean Recipe
What is famous about green bean casserole is the creamy sauce and those fried onions. The onion flavor now comes from the balsamic caramelized shallots. The bit of crunch comes from actually using fresh green beans that aren’t overcooked or from a can.
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, gets very creamy without being gloppy like when you use canned soup. Plus, unlike that heavy dish, you now get the sweetness of the balsamic and dried cranberries.
It’s really quite perfect.
So what do you need?
- 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
As for equipment, you’ll need a pot to boil the beans and a skillet. Other than basics like a knife and some measuring spoons, that’s about it!
How to Make 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.
Make it a Meal
More vegetables with balsamic vinegar
- Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms
- Cranberry Balsamic Cauliflower Bites
- Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
- Balsamic Caramelized Onions
More green bean recipes
Balsamic Glazed Green Beans with Goat Cheese
- 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.