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Green Beans Gremolata, a recipe developed by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, has become my go-to green bean dish for the holidays. Easter, Thanksgiving, or Christmas, this recipe is a family favorite, and a standout dish beside any protein: whether poultry, beef, or pork.
Why Is Green Beans Gremolata A Go-To Holiday Side Dish?
When company’s coming over, and I’m already making several other dishes, this is one super simple side dish that is EXTRAORDINARILY delicious, without being fussy, at all. The reason I decided to try it was that I read that it was what Ina Garten herself was serving at her own Thanksgiving dinner. She mentioned how easy it was, yet how delicious. She did not steer me wrong! It really is a standout dish in an already standout meal.
What Is A “Gremolata”?
The magic is in the gremolata itself. It is hard to overstate the deliciousness of the gremolata. A gremolata is a topping that you sprinkle on a dish to bring freshness, acidity, and flavor to that dish. This gremolata contains fresh lemon zest, minced garlic, grated Parmagiano Reggiano, chopped parsley, and pine nuts. And it really makes all the difference in the flavor of the dish.
These pictures were taken last Christmas dinner, but my mouth still waters looking at them. It’s a dish that my guests remember, and ask for, year to year. “Oh, I hope you’re making those delicious green beans again this year – the kind you made last year.” Those kinds of compliments are music to a cook’s ears, and confirmation that yes, this dish really *is* as tasty as you *think* it is, and well worth holding on to in your own personal Holiday Recipe Hall of Fame.
The Recipe for Green Beans Gremolata
- 2 lbs. green beans
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- the grated zest of one lemon
- 1/4 c. minced fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1/4. c. toasted pine nuts
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Green Beans:
Blanch green beans in a large pot of boiling water, for 2-3 minutes. They should be bright green, and crisp-tender. Drain the beans and quickly submerge them in a bowl of ice water, to stop the cooking process. This will preserve that bright green color.
For the Gremolata:
Combine the garlic, lemon zest, parsley, cheese, and pine nuts in a bowl. Set aside.
To finish the dish:
Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Drain the beans and pat them dry (or else the water will cause the oil to splatter). Sauté beans for 2-3 minutes, until coated in olive oil and heated through. Remove from heat. Add the gremolata and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.
To Make Ahead: You can blanch and chill the beans early in the day, and then make the gremolata and warm the beans up at the last minute, when you're ready to serve the rest of the meal.
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I'm also recommending a highly rated/reasonably priced olive oil, as well as giving you a link so that you can buy a larger bag of pine nuts than you can find in most grocery stores. I use toasted pine nuts in a variety of dishes. Their flavor and crunch is unparalleled.
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