Sautéed Green Beans and Red Onion

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Tender, delicious green beans with onion, herbs, and spices with a bit of a crisp bite and tons of rich, hearty buttery flavor from sautéed red onion!

Sautéed green beans with red onion, served on a white plate.
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Sautéed green beans and red onion served on a white plate.

Pan Fried Red Onion and Green Beans

Sauteed green beans and red onions is a simple yet flavorful side dish that combines the earthiness of green beans with the sweet and slightly pungent flavor of red onions. This dish exemplifies the beauty of uncomplicated cooking, where a few quality ingredients come together to create a harmonious and satisfying accompaniment to any meal.

To prepare sauteed green beans and red onions, fresh green beans are washed and trimmed, ensuring they retain their crispness and vibrant color. The red onions are thinly sliced, adding a burst of color and complexity to the dish. In a hot skillet, a bit of olive oil or butter is heated, and the onions are sauteed until they turn translucent and begin to caramelize, releasing their natural sweetness. Then, the green beans join the pan, sizzling and absorbing the rich flavors of the onions. A dash of salt and pepper enhances the natural taste of the ingredients, and perhaps a sprinkle of fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary adds a fragrant note. The dish is cooked until the green beans reach the perfect balance of tender-crisp, preserving their vibrant green hue.

The result is a side dish that embodies a medley of textures and flavors. The green beans offer a satisfying crunch, while the red onions provide a tender and slightly sweet contrast. Together, they create a dish that complements a wide range of main courses, from roasted meats to grilled poultry and even vegetarian options. Sauteed green beans and red onions are a testament to the notion that simplicity can be the foundation of culinary excellence, elevating the humble green bean into a memorable and delightful side dish.

Sautéed green beans and red onion in a skillet.

How to Make Sautéed Green Beans and Onions

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Green Beans:
    • Green beans are the star of the dish, providing a crisp and slightly crunchy texture. They bring a fresh, earthy flavor and vibrant green color to the plate.
  • Thin Sliced Red Onion:
    • Red onions add a burst of color and a sweet, mildly pungent flavor to the dish when sautéed. They also provide a tender and slightly caramelized texture, enhancing the overall complexity.
  • Olive Oil:
    • Olive oil serves as the cooking fat, coating the green beans and onions and helping them cook evenly. It adds a mild, fruity, and slightly nutty flavor to the dish.
  • Celtic Sea Salt:
    • Celtic sea salt is used to season the green beans and onions, enhancing their natural flavors. It provides a balanced level of saltiness, allowing the other ingredients to shine.
  • Garlic Powder:
    • Garlic powder contributes a savory and aromatic quality to the dish. It infuses the green beans and onions with a gentle garlic flavor without the sharpness of fresh garlic.
  • Minced Garlic:
    • Minced garlic is used for its more pronounced and pungent garlic flavor. It adds depth to the dish and complements the sweetness of the red onions.
  • Italian Herbs:
    • Italian herbs, typically a blend of herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary, provide a fragrant and herbaceous note to the dish. They contribute a Mediterranean flair and round out the flavor profile.

Once you’ve gathered ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • Prep. Wash green beans, trim off strings or dry ends, pat dry. In large pan, add olive oil, sliced onion. Heat on medium-high until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute. Add in green beans, toss.
  • Cook. Season green beans and onion with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs, tossing in olive oil and cooking 5-6 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
  • Enjoy! Remove from heat and serve.
A plate with sautéed green beans and red onion.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Green Beans and Onions

Choose Fresh Green Beans: Opt for fresh, crisp green beans with vibrant green color. Avoid beans that are wilted or have blemishes.

Prep the Green Beans Properly: Wash the green beans and trim the ends. You can leave them whole or cut them into bite-sized pieces for easier handling.

Thinly Slice Red Onions: When slicing the red onions, aim for thin, uniform slices. This ensures even cooking and a pleasing texture in the final dish.

My Pro Tip

Recipe Tip

Don’t over caramelize the onions – you want to sauté them to just lightly brown, so they don’t over caramelize when roasting green beans.

Heat the Pan Adequately: Use a wide skillet or frying pan and preheat it over medium-high heat before adding the olive oil. A hot pan helps to achieve a nice sear and caramelization on the onions.

Use High-Quality Olive Oil: Use extra-virgin olive oil or a good-quality cooking olive oil. The oil should be hot but not smoking before adding the ingredients.

Saute Onions First: Start by sautéing the thinly sliced red onions in the hot olive oil. Cook them until they become translucent and start to caramelize. This brings out their sweetness.

Add Garlic Strategically: If using minced garlic, add it to the pan after the onions have softened a bit. Be cautious not to burn the garlic, as it can become bitter.

Season Carefully: Season the green beans and onions with Celtic sea salt and garlic powder. Start with a small amount and adjust to taste as you go along. You can always add more, but it’s challenging to correct over-salting.

Avoid Overcooking: Cook the green beans until they are tender-crisp and still retain their vibrant green color. Overcooking can lead to a mushy texture and loss of flavor.

Taste and Adjust: Continually taste the dish as you cook and adjust the seasoning, if needed. You may also want to add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper for extra flavor.

Add Herbs and Spices: If desired, add Italian herbs or other dried herbs or spices that complement the dish. Fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary can also be added for a burst of flavor.

Finish with a Splash of Acid: A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of balsamic vinegar just before serving can add a bright and refreshing touch to the dish.

Serve Immediately: Sauteed green beans and onions are best enjoyed hot and fresh. Serve them right away to maintain their ideal texture and flavor.

FAQs

How do I choose best green beans for sautéeing?

Choose fresh green beans that are vibrant green, firm, and free from blemishes. They should snap when bent, indicating their freshness.

Should I cut the ends of the green beans off before sautéeing?

Yes, it’s a good idea to trim the ends of the green beans to remove any tough or woody parts. You can do this with a knife or by snapping them by hand.

How thinly should I cut the onions for sautéeing?

Thinly slice the red onions to ensure even cooking and a pleasant texture. Aim for uniform slices to promote even caramelization.

Can I use other types of onions instead of red onion?

Yes, you can use yellow onions, sweet onions, or shallots as alternatives to red onions. Each will bring its unique flavor profile to the dish.

How do I keep garlic from burning while sautéeing?

Be cautious when adding minced garlic to the pan. It cooks quickly, so add it after the onions have softened a bit, and stir continuously for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, being careful not to overcook or burn it.

Can I make sautéed green beans and onion ahead of time?

While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can prepare the components in advance. Saute the green beans and onions separately, then reheat and combine them just before serving.

What herbs and spices can I add to enhance the flavor?

You can add dried herbs like Italian seasoning, thyme, rosemary, or a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. Experiment with your favorite herbs and spices to suit your taste.

How do I store leftover green beans and red onions?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat gently in a pan or microwave before serving.

What are some serving suggestions for green beans and onions?

Sautéed green beans and onions make a great side dish for a variety of main courses, including grilled chicken, steak, fish, or vegetarian options. They can also be served as part of a holiday meal.

Can I freeze sautéed green beans and onions?

While it’s technically possible, freezing can change the texture of green beans, making them softer when thawed. It’s best to enjoy this dish fresh for the best results.

Sautéed green beans and red onion displayed on a white plate.

What to Serve With Green Beans and Onions

Roast Chicken: Green beans and onions pair beautifully with a classic roast chicken. The simplicity of the dish complements the richness of the chicken – it’s also great with roasted Cornish game hens, or air fried Cornish game hens.

Grilled Steak: The fresh, crispiness of green beans and the savory sweetness of sautéed onions can be an excellent side dish for a juicy grilled steak.

Pan-Seared Fish: Light and flaky fish, such as salmon or tilapia, can be elevated with a side of green beans and onions. The vegetables provide a balanced contrast.

Pork Chops: Sautéed green beans and onions can add color and flavor to a plate of tender baked pork chops.

Meatloaf: The combination of comfort food like meatloaf and the fresh, slightly crunchy green beans and onions can create a well-rounded meal.

Pasta Dishes: Serve green beans and onions alongside pasta dishes, such as fettuccine Alfredo or a creamy carbonara, for added texture and color.

Roasted Turkey: When preparing a Thanksgiving or holiday meal, green beans and onions can be a delicious and nutritious side dish to accompany roasted turkey.

Vegetarian/Vegan Options: For vegetarian or vegan meals, consider serving green beans and onions with dishes like stuffed peppers, vegetable stir-fries, or tofu stir-fry for a balance of flavors and textures.

Rice or Quinoa: Pair green beans and onions with steamed rice or quinoa for a simple and nutritious side dish. Add a protein source for a complete meal.

Soups and Stews: Green beans and onions can be a tasty side dish with hearty soups or stews, providing a contrast in texture and freshness.

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, grilled portobello mushrooms with green beans and onions can create a satisfying and flavorful meal.

BBQ and Grilled Foods: Green beans and onions can complement grilled vegetables, burgers, hot dogs, and other barbecue favorites.

Seafood: Seafood dishes like shrimp scampi or grilled shrimp can pair well with sautéed green beans and onions for a balanced and nutritious meal.

Sautéed green beans and red onion on a table.

Sautéed Green Beans and Onions Recipe

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A plate of sautéed green beans and red onion.

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Sautéed green beans and red onion on a white plate.
Print

Sauteed Green Beans and Onion

Tender, delicious green beans with buttery red onions and lots of garlic flavor!
Course Green Beans
Cuisine American
Keyword green beans, onions, side dish, vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 111kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans washed and trimmed
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Celtic sea salt adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning a blend of oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, and marjoram
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Wash green beans, trim off strings or dry ends, pat dry.
  • In large pan, add olive oil, sliced onion. Heat on medium-high until softened and lightly browned, about 6 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute.
  • Add in green beans, toss.
  • Season green beans and onion with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbs, tossing in olive oil and cooking 5-6 minutes until soft and lightly browned.
  • Remove from heat and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 368mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. Campbell Addison says:

    Wow, this sautéed green beans and red onion recipe is a game-changer! The combination of fresh green beans, caramelized red onions, and flavorful herbs is simply fantastic. It’s a perfect side dish for any meal, from grilled steaks to pasta. Plus, it’s quick and easy to make – a real winner in my book! Thanks for sharing this delightful recipe, Courtney!”