Caramelized Green Beans

CATEGORIES: Kate, Vegetables

Can you believe it’s Friday again? Can you believe it’s Easter? Yeah, me neither.

So when your mother-in-law invited you to Easter dinner, did she ask you to bring a vegetable side dish and you’re stumped? Want to expand your horizons past the good ol’ green bean/cream of mushroom/crispy onion casserole? Love fresh green beans and don’t know what to do with them? Look no further, friends. Your beans have arrived.

Let me warn you about something in advance–this recipe is very easy, but it has the capability of trashing your kitchen. Knowing that in advance will help things a lot. Start with an empty dishwasher and have all your ingredients ready to go, because once the beans go into the boiling water, things get a little wild. After you complete each step, pop the dirty dish in the dishwasher and then you won’t feel like slitting your wrists in the bean-making aftermath.

Oh, and as far as credits go, this recipe comes from Ohana at the Polynesian Resort in Disneyworld. I have a ton of yummy Polynesian-inspired recipes from Ohana for you guys to try, including the most evilly delicious shrimp I’ve ever had. Too bad Sara doesn’t like shrimp. Should we kick her off the island? Yeah, I thought so.

Caramelized Green Beans

1 lb. (actually, just a little bit more…maybe 1 1/8 lb.) fresh green beans
1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 red onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
olive oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Lots of freshly-ground pepper

Begin frying the bacon in a large skillet. Start boiling a large pot of water. Place beans in a colander and rinse them well. Then snap the ends off and snap them in half.

Prepare the sauce by mixing sugar, soy sauce, and salt in a small bowl.

Make sure your onions are sliced, garlic is pressed (or minced…but I think if you don’t have a garlic press, the Easter Bunny needs to bring you one this year), and everything is ready to go. Hold on tight…it’s a crazy, crazy ride.

Remove bacon from pan and drain on a paper towel. If you feel like it, you can crumble it now or wait until it’s cooled off a little. Pour bacon drippings out of pan (I keep an empty tin can around for this very purpose).

Now…if you want to be naughty (and who doesnt??), return a couple tablespoons of bacon drippings to the pan. Otherwise, just use some olive oil and heat pan to medium-high heat. When the pan is hot…

–Add onions and garlic. Give them a quick stir and then…

–Add beans to boiling water. Place colander in a clean sink. Boil for one minute; you’re not cooking them until they’re done, just blanching them to take the edge off. Meanwhile, stir the onions and garlic so they don’t scorch. After one minute, drain beans in the colander in the sink.

–Once beans have been drained, add them to the onions and garlic. Stir fry 2-3 more minutes.

–Give your sauce a quick stir and then pour on top of the beans. Keep stir-frying until the beans get kind of glazy. Yeah, I make up words. Do this (stir fry, not make up words…you don’t have time to make up words right now!) for another 2 minutes.

–Add crumbled bacon and lots of freshly-ground pepper to the beans. Keep stir frying until the sauce sticks to the beans and the bacon. Transfer to a serving dish and allow to stand a few minutes so the beans cool down a bit and the glaze thickens up a little.

Now eat them. And eat and eat them. My 9-month old seriously ate these like they were candy tonight. The three-year-old and the Man, on the other hand…hey, I do what I can, right?




  1. Hey, Katie! 🙂

    I probably wouldn’t use canned green beans because the flavor is so different, but you could totally use frozen–it’s a way cheaper, easier option. Just be sure and boil them a bit longer than you would fresh beans and you’re good to go!

  2. Okay, I totally messed these up on Thanksgiving. I didn’t boil them long enough, so when I was sautéeing them, they were still super crunchy. So I sautéed them and sautéed them until they the sauce was beyond carmelized (we’re talking, the onions were looking black), and the whole thing just looked really unappetizing. BUT, they still tasted delicious. Soooo, next time I’ll boil a little longer, so they look pretty like in your pictures!

  3. I made them last night, and they were amazing. My toddler cried when they were gone, and I ate way too many! Thank you!

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