This post is sponsored by American Pecans.
It’s not Thanksgiving in our house without green beans, but green bean casserole has been done—dozens and dozens of times. This year I’m freshening up the Thanksgiving menu with the most delicious and EASY green bean recipe: Charred Sesame Pecan Green Beans. They’re rich and savory with a hint of smokiness from the char of pan-frying, the complex flavors of soy, sesame, and maple, and the warmth of toasted pecans. And before you go thinking that the soy-sesame mix gives the beans an Asian flair—it doesn’t! It only adds a deep, complex umami quality.
The charred green beans might seem like the star of this recipe, but the pecans really steal the show. Since they have a naturally sweet taste and a buttery texture, pecans bridge the gap between sweet and savory effortlessly. Here, they add depth to the savory notes of soy and toasted sesame while heightening the warmth of pure maple syrup. This versatility is just one of many reasons why I love pecans in any dish, any time of year. One serving of pecans (1-ounce or about 19 halves) also happen to have 3 grams protein (6% daily value), 3 grams fiber (11% daily value), 10 mg flavonoids, and essential minerals like copper and manganese. (They’re also the only major tree nut native to North America, so hey, they’re American-made, too!)
How to Make Charred Green Beans
Here’s how the recipe works: steam the green beans, cook them in an oiled skillet until they develop a nice char all over, remove the skillet from heat and stir in chopped pecans and a mixture of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and maple syrup. The liquids quickly bubble and thicken to coat the green beans and pecans in a luscious, irresistibly savory-sweet glaze.
The key to ensuring that these charred green beans are not only crispy and well-browned on the outside but tender, too, is steaming them before you pan fry them. You can steam them in the microwave or on the stovetop—whatever’s easiest for you! Or for an even easier shortcut, pick up a package of fresh green beans that can be steamed right in the bag in the produce section of your grocery store. Note: although frozen steam-in-bag green beans are super convenient, they also tend to be a little soggier than fresh green beans, which would prevent you from getting that delicious charring.
Make Ahead Green Beans
You can prep these charred green beans ahead of time to make cooking them a cinch. Steam the green beans, drain and dry them well with paper towel, and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 days. Chop your pecans and store them, covered, in the fridge. Next, whisk together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and maple syrup in a small jar and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook. With these steps done beforehand, all you’ll need to do is pan-fry the green beans on the day of!
Charred Sesame Pecan Green Beans
- 1 ⅓ tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (or any high-heat oil you like)
- 12 oz fresh green beans trimmed
- ½ cup pecan halves, chopped
- In a small bowl, stir the soy sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the fresh green beans and ¼ cup of water. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until the beans are just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until very hot (a drop of water should sizzle when it hits the pan). Add the green beans and cook, without stirring, until charred on one side, about 3 minutes. Stir and continue cooking until beans are charred all over, about 3 more minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and add the sauce mixture and pecans, tossing repeatedly to coat.
You can prep these charred green beans ahead of time to make cooking them a cinch. Steam the green beans, drain and dry them well with paper towel, and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 days. Chop your pecans and store them, covered, in the fridge. Next, whisk together the soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and maple syrup in a small jar and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook. With these steps done beforehand, all you’ll need to do is pan-fry the green beans on the day of. Adapted from Cooking Light