This quick and easy green beans recipe is packed with flavor. The aroma of fresh basil and garlic make this dish irresistible. Fresh green beans sautéed in a hot pan and finished with cooking sake, mirin, a drizzle of low sodium soy sauce, and fragrant basil. It's amazingly delicious and a bit addicting, yet super easy. Enjoy it while it’s hot or as leftovers!
this quick and easy green beans recipe is packed with flavor
A go-to Asian cuisine inspired green beans recipe that works with all string beans, including the purple waxed beans used in this cooking video.
I first started making this dish 8 years ago when a simple, late-night meal at a Japanese restaurant inspired this recipe. The combination of soy sauce and mirin, which is a rice wine with lower alcohol content than cooking sake and higher sugar content, is what makes it so addicting!
Fresh basil is also a key ingredient here and is often used in Chinese, Taiwanese, and Thai food. Sautéed basil will make your kitchen smell amazing.
click below to watch how to make this addicting sautéed green beans dish
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Sweet and savory sautéed green beans with basil recipe video:
main ingredients at a glance
INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED FOR THIS RECIPE
- 8 ounces thin green beans (haricot verts and/or purple waxed beans work well)
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large bunch of fresh basil
- cooking sake
- low sodium soy sauce
how to pick green beans and different green bean varieties
Thin green beans such as haricot verts work best for sautéed or stir-fried green bean recipes because they're less fibrous and will give you tender cooked green beans with a slight crunch.
Yellow and purple wax beans are also great options. You can mix in yellow wax beans if you're looking to add more color to this dish. I couldn't resist buying purple wax beans from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. It's fun to watch the purple slowly turn green when cooking.
Choose beans with slender pods that are bright in color. The pods should be somewhat flexible but snap easily when bent, with a smooth surface free from wrinkles and soft spots. Avoid green beans or wax beans with mature seeds and swollen (bumpy) pods.
What's the difference between green beans, haricot verts, and wax beans?
green beans vs. haricot verts
Haricot verts, also known as French green beans, are thinner and slightly shorter than green beans. Because of their smaller size, haricot verts are more tender and quicker to cook.
green beans vs. wax beans
Green beans and wax beans taste the same and can be used interchangeably in recipes. The main difference is pigment (color) of the beans, so you can choose a variety based on what you're looking for aesthetically.
how to prepare green beans
- Wash green beans with cold tap water.
- Remove the stems - line up a handful of green beans with the stem sides facing the same direction and cut the stems off with a chef's knife.
how to sauté green beans
- Heat a medium sauté pan (12-inch) on medium-high heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil such as canola oil) followed by the green beans.
- Sauté by tossing green beans in the hot pan with tongs or chopsticks occasionally to allow even cooking.
- When green beans are slightly charred (about 3 minutes), add sliced garlic and stir.
- Wait 30 seconds for garlic to become aromatic and add cooking sake to deglaze the pan. Cook until green beans are slightly tender and become brighter green (about 2 minutes).
- Finish with fresh basil leaves, mirin, low sodium soy sauce, and remove from heat immediately.
pro tips on sautéing and stir fry
- Prevent cooking oil from burning by heating your pan before adding the oil.
- Add garlic later or near the end whenever cooking over medium to high heat. Otherwise, the garlic will burn and make the dish taste bitter. In this recipe, it's best to add the garlic right before deglazing your pan.
COOKING WITH KIDS - what can kid chefs help with?
- trim green bean stems by hand or with clean kid-friendly scissors
- pick fresh basil leaves from the stem
- peel garlic
- measure out seasoning ingredients into individual bowls
Since 2011, I have made this dish many, many times as an easy vegetable side dish at home and for my clients (it's a favorite for families with kids).
Need green beans for a crowd? This is it! You can easily double this recipe to use for a potluck or holiday gathering.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Happy cooking! ~ Cin
more delicious asian recipes that go well with sautéed green beans
- refreshing taiwanese cold noodles
- vegetarian kimchi fried rice
- korean pumpkin porrdige (hobakjuk)
- vegan cauliflower, lentils, and cherry tacos
- browse all main dish recipes
- creamy miso peanut chicken lettuce wraps by pinch of yum
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sweet and savory sautéed green beans with basil
watch it step-by-step: the sound of cooking® video
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil with a high smoke point such as canola oil)
- 8 ounces thin green beans (haricot verts and waxed beans work well), tips trimmed
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons cooking sake
- 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons mirin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
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- Heat a medium sauté pan (12-inch) on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add grapeseed oil followed by green beans. Sauté by tossing green beans in the pan with tongs or chopsticks occasionally to allow even cooking.
- When green beans are slightly charred (about 3 minutes), add sliced garlic and stir. Wait 30 seconds for garlic to become aromatic and add cooking sake to deglaze the pan. Cook until green beans are slightly tender and become brighter green (about 2 minutes).
- Add fresh basil leaves, mirin and stir.
- Mix in low sodium soy sauce, remove from heat immediately and transfer to a serving bowl.
cooking equipment and pantry items used in this green bean recipe
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green beans nutrition
Green beans are a great source of both insoluble and soluble fiber (good for your digestive system and a healthy heart). They're rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate, and essential minerals (we're talking vision, immune system, bone health and much more). Not to mention, they're also a low FODMAP food and contain protein.
Your post is such a great guide for green beans. The recipe is very fresh and lovely. I like everything about it. I am actually serving it tonight as a side to our dinner. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful post.
cindy chou says
Thank you! Glad to hear you got to try it right away and hope you enjoyed it!
I don't think I've ever seen or noticed purple beans before. I love the color combo, and the Asian dressing is such a good idea!
cindy chou says
It's a pretty color combo, but the purple beans actually turn green once cooked so using all green beans work just as well!
Never tried green beans with basil. Sounds so flavorful. I will make this for dinner tonight.
cindy chou says
I hope you enjoyed it!
Amanda Dixon says
This is just the perfect side dish! I love how simple it is, but the fresh basil gives it so much flavor. I'm definitely making this regularly from now on.
cindy chou says
Thanks, Amanda! I'm so happy to hear you liked it. The basil really does amp up the flavors in this dish 😛
Jessica (Swanky Recipes) says
A little garlic and soy sauce pairs perfectly with beans. Loving the vibrant colors as this is perfect for a potluck.
cindy chou says
Thanks! I hope you enjoyed it 🙂
Green beans are one of our favourite vegetables and I'm always looking for new ways to prepare them. In summer, I love yellow beans (can't find them any other time of year) so I definitely want to try this with a combo of green and yellow. Thanks for sharing.
cindy chou says
Glad to hear you'll be giving this recipe a try! It works with just green beans as well in case you don't want to wait until summertime 🙂
Nicole Washington says
I love green beans and basil is one of my favorite herbs. Naturally, I love everything about this recipe. Thank you for sharing.
cindy chou says
Thank you. I hope you enjoy it!