Roasted green beans may not be French fries, but they’re awfully addictive. If you don’t believe me, just roast up a batch and try to eat just one.
Simple and elegant in their own way, they take just a few minutes to make and require no special ingredients. I prefer them hot out of the oven, but you can also serve the beans at room temperature.
If you’re trying to eat healthier, then roasted vegetables are a natural choice for a main dish or substantial side. They have a concentrated flavor that doesn’t require fancy sauces or spices and they go well with plain fish, chicken or beef. Green beans are particularly easy to roast because they are so easy to clean and prepare for cooking.
As I mentioned in my post about roast potatoes, there are only 3 essentials for roasting vegetables (or anything else):
- High heat
- A pan with sides not higher than 2 inches and that fits the items to be roasted so that they lie flat without much space between them, but with enough room so that they do not overlap. The pan contours are important because if it is too small and the ingredients are piled on top of one another or the sides are too high, the ingredients will steam instead of roast. On the other hand, if the pan is too big, the fat will burn on the empty spaces.
This recipe is for a single portion, done in a 7 inch cast iron pan. You can do larger amounts in a larger pan or on a cookie sheet with sides. Barbara Kafka, my roasting guru, suggests that using pans with sides that are 1 ½ – 2 inches. However, I’ve used my half sheet pans with sides barely over 1 inch for roasting vegetables and they work fine. Note that the roasting temperature is 500 degrees, so you should not use porcelain or other materials that cannot withstand high heat.
How to Roast Green Beans – The Easy Way
- Large handful of fresh green beans (about 3 ounces)
- ¾ – 1 teaspoon of oil (I used olive)
- Kosher or coarse sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Colander or strainer for rinsing the beans
- Paper towel or clean dishtowel
- 7 inch cast iron pan or other small pan able to withstand high heat
- Measuring spoon for oil
- Tongs or a fork for turning the beans
- Oven mitts – but you know that, right?
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
- Rinse the beans and pinch off the ends. You could use a cutting board and small knife, but I find it simpler to do it by hand. This used to be called “topping and tailing” the beans, though these days the expression has other, (non-culinary) meanings relating to how people sleep, wearing formal attire, and cleaning both ends of a baby. Anyway, back to beans.
- Dry the beans (so the oil will stick and not splatter) with a paper towel or clean dish towel.
- Put the beans in the pan, drizzle the oil over them, and roll the beans until they are fully covered. They should be covered in a light slick of oil. Then sprinkle them lightly with the salt and pepper.
- Roast for 10-15 minutes, turning once during cooking.
Serving suggestions – Roasted green beans go well with simple poached or baked fish, baked lemon tarragon chicken (if the beans are ready to go, you can turn the heat up after the chicken is done and the chicken can rest, covered with foil to keep the heat in, while the green beans cook) or with other roasted vegetables such as potatoes and eggplant. If you like these roasted beans, you might also like roasted brussel sprouts too.