Green Beans with Balsamic Butter

One of the fundamental differences between Sara and me is that while she’s sadly lamenting her lack of a garden this summer, I’m just so super thankful I don’t have any plants in my garden to kill and then feel guilty about. I have the blackest of black thumbs. In fact, when I was a kid, I was genuinely worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember to feed and care for my future children because I was so very bad at keeping plants alive.

That said, I really do have a whole-hearted appreciation for garden-fresh produce. And probably my favorite thing is fresh green beans. Growing up, one of my best friends had the most amazing garden and we would eat green beans until we could eat no more. 3 meals a day.

One of my favorite ways to eat them is with this compound butter, made with reduced balsamic vinegar, garlic, and green onions. It’s simple and quick enough for a weeknight side dish, but it’s elegant enough to serve for guests.

You’ll need green beans, balsamic vinegar, butter, green onions, and garlic.

Chop the green onions, mince the garlic,

and combine the onions, garlic, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes or until most of the vinegar is reduced into a thick syrup and has been absorbed by the green onions.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, combine the vinegar/oninon mixture and the butter.

Set aside.

When the water begins to boil, add the green beans. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until the beans float to the top and are bright green. Drain. Toss in the balsamic butter and serve immediately.

Serves 8.


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Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. Great way to ruin a beautiful bunch of fresh beans. Blanch, splash w olive or nut oil & sea salt, serve–much better.

  2. I loved this, but my mom who is a traditional beans n’ butter n’ red potatoes gal did not.. So, if you like the traditional way of making green beans, then this is not for you.

  3. I am always looking for simple side dish recipes because that is the area I struggle with the most, and the same ole broccoli and rice gets old!

  4. I bought green beans at the farmers market so I could make these for dinner last night. Oh my, they were so good! My husband and I both loved them; we decided we’ll be planting green beans in our garden next year, just so we can have these all the time!

  5. Sounds yummy! We didn’t get our garden going this year, so sad! If you have a farmer’s market near you, the green beans would be so much yummier than store-bought! They are in season right now, so that’s what we’ve been doing. I love them blanched and then sauteed in butter & lots of garlic, sometimes I throw some bacon pieces in there too. YUM!

  6. DELICIOUS! Made these last night for our anniversary dinner along with the pork with plum sauce, I’m surprised there were any left.

  7. looks sooo yummy!!! maybe i’m just missing it, but do you melt the butter at some point? or does it just melt from the heat of the cooked green beans?


  8. Working with balsamic vinegar for the first time (apparently I’m way sheltered)! This was yummy! I knew OBB wouldn’t disappoint!

  9. This looks delicious but I have a practical question about it. If you are serving something like this (that needs to be made and served immediately) to guests, how do you serve it immediately without leaving a pile of dishes in your sink when you have guests at your house? If I am cooking something last-minute it usually means my guests are in my kitchen with me and it’s usually messy from making the dinner so then they see the mess. I would love to know how you (or other readers) pull off a great last-minute side dish like this without inviting the whole dinner party into a messy kitchen while you make it.

    1. I would make the compound butter well in advance, to save time and mess, even if I were just serving it to my family on a week night. For guests, I would go a step further and place the prepped butter in the bottom of the serving dish during my meal prep before everyone arrives, then toss the hot beans in the dish before stirring and serving.

      And now I’m dreaming of all the different compound butters I could try with my favorite veggies this fall…

  10. I discovered this summer how easy it is to grow beans and how much my kids LOVE them – now I wish I’d planted more than my experimental 5 plants 🙂 I’ll have to buy some and try this recipe, it sounds delicious!

  11. That sounds delicious! I tried to grow veggies once… I’ll try again, but you made me laugh so hard with your black thumb and acceptance of it!

  12. I have a big bowl of these from the garden and I’m tired of a simple sautee…I like this idea for something a little different!

  13. Got home with green beans to be my veggie for dinner tonight, and saw this in my email. Had everything on hand – super easy to make and I LOVED THEM! Thanks!

  14. I’m a fan of compound butters (well, and butter in general) and balsamic vinegar. What a great way to combine the two!

  15. I could totally handle these green beans. And btw, I will challenge you to a black thumb face-off. DO you know how many cactuses..cacti..whatever..I have killed??

  16. Yum. I love green beans too. Maybe not as much as you… This recipe is a definite keeper.

  17. This just looks about 20 times more decadent than it really is…if you are on a diet that permits butter, which I am…yay!

    Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Erin –

  18. Wow, does this look good! And I’m always trying to think up new ways to cook the fresh vegetables available at our farmers’ market on the town square. Thank you so much!

  19. I am always looking for news ways to cook green beans as I get them regularly in a farm delivery basket. This looks amazing!! Thank you for this great idea.
    Have a healthy day.

  20. Sounds yummy! And a great way, this winter, to freshen up the piles upon piles of green beans I’ve put in the freezer.