Charred Green Beans with Walnuts

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At the height of summer, I grill nearly every night, which means I've charred about every vegetable possible. Some are solid, while others surprise me, like these charred green beans. This recipe embodies those summer nights but is replicated indoors, so no grill is required. Tossed in oil and then cooked over high heat, snappy green beans give way to a tender, delightful summer treat. 

Close-up of charred green beans dotted with walnuts and shallots on a speckled white plate.

Why Charred Green Beans

Grilling green beans works for two reasons. First, the green-like vegetal flavor of the beans takes on a smoky presence, giving the green beans a bit more 'cooked vegetal' flavor instead of the unappealing raw taste. 

Secondly, cooking quickly on the grill avoids overcooking the green beans. Instead, the beans sit, covered, for a few minutes until they soften. By completing this process off the grill, the beans have enough heat to lose their bite but not enough to dissolve any texture. 

Walnuts and Green Beans, a friendly pair

Now that we have a solid flavor profile and texture, it's time to give the green beans a quick dress with the help of a punchy dressing and warm walnuts. The dressing provides the lift the green beans need to shine, while the walnuts add a bit of richness and a satisfying crunch. 

If you want to make this recipe nut-free, I recommend roasted sunflower seeds or crushed crispy chickpeas for a seed-free version. 

Cooking alternatives

Do you have a grill? The premise of these beans is the same. However, I recommend picking up a grill basket (a solid choice if you enjoy grilling vegetables- the options are endless). Using a grill basket gives the beans direct contact with the flames and no worries of falling through. 

Once the beans char, transfer them to a bowl, cover them with a plate or lid, and let them rest for a few minutes until tender. 

Close-up of charred green beans topped with black pepper, minced red onion, and finished with crushed walnuts.

Make it a meal.

Tofu: Sear wedges of tofu along with the charred green beans and toss in a sauce, such as this chipotle-shallot sauce. Serve with bread for mopping up the sauce and dressing. 

Hummus + Grains: Swoosh hummus at the bottom of the bowl, layer with your favorite cooked grains, and pile it with the beans. 

Fried Eggs: Fry a thick piece of bread in olive oil and top with a fried egg, green beans, and a drizzle of chile oil for good measure. 

A Few Bonus Notes

Bean Varieties: While this recipe is great with any fresh bean, I adore using romano beans. These runner beans have long, flat pods that grill beautifully. I like to slice them diagonally to create fun movement in the dish while making them easier to eat. 

Citrus Boost: The rice vinegar can be swapped or added with lemon juice. The brightness lemon provides can be a fun play with the original flavors. 

Nut size: A bit of a silly thing, but I swear it matters. The walnuts should be, at most, pea-sized pieces, with some of the mix being smaller. This also helps with texture and the ability for the walnuts to cling to the beans when traveling to your mouth. 

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Charred Green Beans with Walnuts

2 side-servings
Fresh summer green beans charred over high heat and tossed with a simple shallot vinaigrette and toasted walnuts.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Shallot Vinaigrette
  • 1 small shallot (about 15g)
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Green Beans
  • 2 tablespoons raw walnuts (½ ounce/15g)
  • 1 tablespoon high-heat sunflower oil (or other neutral, high-heat oil)
  • ½ pound green beans, ends trimmed ((225g))
  • Freshly cracked black pepper for topping
  1. Mince the shallot and place in a small bowl along with the rice vinegar and salt. Let the minced shallot rest in the vinegar (this will help mellow the raw shallot taste a bit).
  2. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Roughly chop the walnuts, place on a small sheet tray, and then into the oven. Roast until the nuts are fragrant and slightly browning, 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set sides.
  3. Place a large skillet over high heat with the sunflower oil (and turn on the vent if you have one). Once the skillet is hot, add the green beans. Sear the green beans until blistering, stirring only a couple of times. Searing will go quickly, so keep an eye on the beans to avoid burning them. Remove the skillet from the heat, cover, and let sit for about 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, taste the beans. If still a bit firm, cover again and let rest for another 5 to 10 minutes. Tenderness will depend on the type of bean you’re using, so be sure to taste for texture.
  5. Whisk the olive oil into the shallot mixture. When the beans are just tender, pour the shallot vinaigrette over the beans and toss to coat. Let the beans rest for another 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the beans to a platter or bowl and drizzle on any shallot vinaigrette left in the bowl. Finish with the walnuts and black pepper before serving.
Don’t be afraid to give the green beans a good char. There’s a fairly wide range between browning and burnt which is where charing lives. There should be blistered pockets on all the beans before removing from heat. 
In terms of beans, I recommend biting into one raw before starting to cook. If the beans are fresh and have a lot of texture left, know you might need closer to the 10 minutes of rest time. If the beans are a bit older and already losing some of their bite, they might need closer to 5 minutes of rest time.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time :15 minutes

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Welcome to my little internet nook. On this site you'll find over a thousand vegetarian recipes, pantry knowledge, and more. I'm ever obsessed with food from gardening, cooking, and preserving. I hope you'll find endless inspiration on these pages and visit often. 

Virtual hugs, Erin (aka: e.l.l.a.)

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