Learning how to cook Sesame Green Beans is a perfect way to gear up for busy weeknights. You can prep the beans ahead and cook the healthy side up in less then 15 minutes. It pairs perfectly with chicken or shrimp and rice and is just slightly sweet—which is always helpful with getting the kids to actually eat them!
Sesame Green Beans
I’m always looking for easy ways to keep the kids interested in eating veggies and while they’re fans of cooked green beans with just butter and salt, they also like this Asian version too. These Sesame Green Beans are easy to make and they boast just enough flavor to keep things interesting for the kids and the adults. They’re one of my favorite go-to side dishes to make when I don’t have a ton of time.
How to Pick and Prep Green Beans
When you’re at the store, look for green beans that don’t appear blemished (so avoid too many with brown spots), that are dry (to avoid them getting moldy in the fridge) and look hydrated (so they won’t be too old and tough). You’ll want to wash them in a colander, then snap the ends off.
You can wash and trim them 3 days ahead of then you plan to make this recipe if you dry the beans completely and store them in an airtight container such as a quart size Mason jar. That is a simple way to cut down the amount of prep work you need to do right before cooking dinner on a busy weeknight.
Ingredients in Sesame Green Beans
To make this recipe, you’ll need:
- toasted sesame oil
- green beans
- fresh ginger
- reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- maple syrup
The toasted sesame oil adds a lot of flavor, so it’s worth picking up a bottle at your grocery store if it’s not something you usually keep on hand.
How to Cook Sesame Green Beans Step-by-Step
Here’s how to cook green beans in this super simple recipe. It comes together quickly, so I like to make it just before dinner time—or totally ahead and served after a quick reheat in the microwave.
- Wash and trim the beans. Snap into 1-2 inch pieces. (photo 1)
- Warm the oil in a large skillet. Add the green beans. (photo 2)
- Grate the clove and ginger over the beans. Cover. Let cook. (photo 2 and 3)
- Add the soy sauce or tamari and the maple syrup. Stir again and serve. (photo 4)
What’s the difference between soy sauce and tamari?
They have a very similar flavor, though you’ll want to use tamari if you need to eat or cook gluten-free since traditional soy sauce most often contains wheat. I like to use reduced-sodium in either case to keep the saltiness down.
What kind of pan do you recommend for this recipe?
I like to make this in a stainless steel skillet— a big one so there’s plenty of room for the veggies—though a nonstick pan will work too. You will want to use a pan with a lid to help trap the steam, which will speed up the cooking process and help prevent the beans from sticking to the pan.
Can I cook green beans without garlic and ginger?
Sure thing. They do add a lot of nice flavor, but you can skip them if you prefer.
Can I give these green beans to a baby?
Yes, though leave the maple syrup out. You may also want to dice them into small pea-sized pieces for an older baby who does well with finger foods.
I like to serve these Sesame Green Beans with chicken tenders and rice, over rice noodles, or over a grain bowl with eggs. They’re Asian in flavor, so they’d also go well with fried rice or sweet and sour chicken!
The Best Way to Store Fresh Ginger
Since fresh ginger isn’t something that everyone always has on hand, I recommend storing a piece in a zip top plastic bag in the freezer. It stays fresh for months and you can grate it—skin and all!—while still frozen. It’s super handy.
Tips for Cooking the Best Sesame Green Beans
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and serve with rice, scrambled eggs, or plain noodles.
- Prep the beans earlier in the day or week when you have time and store them in a zip top bag or an airtight container. You can then simply add the beans to the pan when ready to cook.
- Covering the pan in Step 1 traps in steam and helps the green beans soften. It also helps prevent them from sticking to the pan.
- Grating the ginger and garlic ensures ample flavor, but it avoids detectable pieces that might not please the kids.
- Cut the beans into smaller pieces closer to 1/4-1/2 inch, for an older baby feeding himself finger foods.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe so please comment below!Print
You can use green or yellow beans in this recipe. Cut the beans smaller if serving to an older baby who self feeds so they are smaller, pea-sized pieces.
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 inch size piece fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari or a sprinkle of salt
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the green beans.
- Use a fine Microplane to grate the clove and ginger over the beans and stir to combine.
- Cover. Let cook for about 8 minutes. Remove cover and taste one to see if it’s soft enough. Cook for an additional minute or two as needed. (I like them firm, tender, but you can cook them a little longer to make them softer.)
- Add the soy sauce or tamari and the maple syrup. Stir again. Serve warm.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and serve with rice, scrambled eggs, or plain noodles.
Prep the beans earlier in the day or week when you have time and store them in a zip top bag or an airtight container. You can then simply add the beans to the pan when ready to cook.
Covering the pan in Step 1 traps in steam and helps the green beans soften. It also helps prevent them from sticking to the pan.
Grating the ginger and garlic ensures ample flavor, but it avoids detectable pieces that might not please the kids.
If you’d like the beans to be softer, you can add 2-3 tablespoons of water and cook until softer.
Cut the beans into smaller pieces closer to 1/4-1/2 inch, for an older baby feeding himself finger foods.