Pesto green beans start with my favorite way to cook beans followed by tossing them in the very best pesto. The recipe is easily adapted to your own favorite pesto (or sauce) or can be completely left out. Hope you enjoy as much as we do!
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It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything new here. If you follow along on the gram (and I hope you do), you may know that we moved! There is so much to share that I will do a little write-up soon, so stay tuned! In the meantime, let’s catch up over pesto green beans.
Pesto Green Beans
The recipe I’m sharing today is for green beans with pesto. However, if you don’t like pesto, it’s added at the very last step, so you can skip it. It does not affect the recipe as far as cooking the beans. In fact, this is how I most often cook beans, because every time I make them this way, Matt tells me they’re “cooked perfectly.” The recipe is adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, and what I like is that there’s no blanching. And if the other half is happy, I’m happy. So, sometimes I add pesto, sometimes I add butter/garlic/lemon, and sometimes I don’t add anything at all. As always, improvise to your heart’s desire.
However, if you do like pesto and are looking for the very best pesto recipe, may I humbly direct you here?
We have a bumper crop of beans this year, mostly because I have no self control when it comes to choosing varieties. Beans come in all kinds of colors from traditional green and yellow to purple, red, and combinations of all of the above. How does one suppress the need to plant all of them? I haven’t mastered that, but I do have a few favorite bush beans to share with those of you who prefer to grow your own.
Easy to grow with excellent flavor, Provider is known as the most dependable early green bean. It’s excellent for canning and freezing. Good disease resistance and germination in cool soil.
Early, reliable variety with long, slender pods that have a deep yellow color. Good disease resistance and germination in cool soil.
Meaty, flavorful, stringless green variety that debuted in 1885. Great yields. I think these are best picked young.
Yellow bean praised by gardeners for superior flavor, impressive yield, and natural disease resistance since the 1800s! Another great choice for canning and freezing.
This bean has a truly unique red color and beautiful pink flowers. The bean pods are thicker than others with great flavor.
Everyone’s favorite! Yellow pods with striking purple stripes. Most people love the flavor, but I prefer a more slender bean, personally. Certainly a novelty in the looks department.
My very favorite bean for flavor. I swear, I can tell the difference even though it turns green when cooked. Deep purple pods, beautiful purple foliage, and bright purple flowers, this bush bean is a true beauty.
Why do purple/red beans turn green when cooked?
The quick answer is anthocyanins. Antho-what? Anthocyanins are water-soluble vacuolar pigments that, depending on pH, may appear red, purple, blue, or black. These pigments and flavonoids not only give certain plants their rich colors, but also provide antioxidant effects. Purple or red beans turn green because heat deteriorates these pigments and bursts apart the cells, diluting acidity. So, they won’t keep their pretty hue when cooked, but try telling that to an overzealous gardener to deter her from planting all the colors.
That’s why I say grab all the rainbow beans you can and throw them into this recipe. Even though they’ll look green, you’ll taste the rainbow. Promise.
Pesto Green Beans
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound green beans
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup favorite pesto store bought or homemade
- Heat olive oil in a large skilled over medium-high heat. Add beans, salt, and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally until spotty brown, about 5–6 minutes. Add water, cover, and cook about 3 minutes, allowing the beans to steam. Remove cover and cook until water evaporates, another 1–2 minutes (turning up heat as necessary). Remove pan from heat and toss beans with pesto. Transfer to serving platter, adjusting seasoning (or add more pestas necessary.