These Balsamic Green Beans with Walnuts are one of my favorite vegetable side dishes of all times! Simple, quick, elegant and delicious.  {Naturally gluten-free and vegan!}

balsamic green beans in serving dish

I originally shared this recipe on August 2 2012. I have updated the images and some of the text today.

A lot of people ask me about tips for picky eaters and how to get kids to eat more healthy foods and particularly their vegetables. These balsamic green beans are the perfect opportunity to talk about that. I call them a gateway vegetable. Read on to find out why!

Let’s start with my mom and how she got my sister and me to eat spicy chili, steamed artichokes with hollandaise and chopped salad with olives and tomatoes like it was no big deal.

She told me that what she served was the only option. She fed us dinner and we ate it. That was the menu. Sure there were moments when we genuinely didn’t like something. She didn’t make us another meal. That was it. That’s the model I’ve adapted too, and it actually has worked for the most part.

Another pivotal discussion that has influenced my attitudes about picky eating was when I had the wonderful fortune to interview Craig Johnston, Assistant Professor Department of pediatrics in Children’s Nutrition research center Baylor College of Medicine. Got all that? He’s a kids’ nutrition guy. I wrote about him here too.

Basically, he said that if parents are trying to get kids to eat more vegetables they can start with a vegetable kids don’t mind so much. Like for my kids that would be green beans. For others it may be peas or carrots. He says those easy veggies are like a “gateway vegetable.” When the kids eat them, make sure to praise the heck out of them. So with little ones, make it fun and rewarding to make healthy choices. Say things like “Oh my goodness you’re the green bean monster!” Or “Look at you, eating your vegetables!”

balsamic green beans with walnuts on towel

Johnston said parents can say something like “your taste-buds are growing up” when their kids eat even a little bite. And then you can move on to the next level of vegetable, like zucchini. Start off adding a little zucchini, maybe it’s nine parts green beans and one part zucchini to begin with, Johnston says. And if you see them eat even a tiny bite, praise them.

Johnston says instead of the “stealth health” you ultimately want to get the kids eating the vegetables and tasting the vegetables. I couldn’t agree more. And with green beans tasting this good who wouldn’t want to call themselves a green bean monster?!

balsamic green beans with walnuts next to garlic clove

This balsamic green beans with walnuts recipe is so simple, but the flavors are complex in the best way. The nutty sweetness of the garlic paired with the meatiness of the walnuts and the bright tanginess of the aged balsamic take green beans to a whole new level. 

With just 6 ingredients and 15 minutes you can make these Green Beans with Walnuts and Balsamic your gateway vegetable and everyone will be thrilled!

More fresh green bean recipes:

This make ahead recipe for Orange Ginger Green Beans is a great one for the holidays.

This recipe for roasted green beans with almonds and thyme is like a cross between Green Bean Almondine and roasted green beans. 

One of my most popular recipes ever are these simple skillet green beans. Have you tried them yet? 

For amazing Asian flavor try these Green beans with fermented black beans.

Serve this one chilled in the summer. So fresh! Green beans and corn

Another cold option for summertime: green beans with basil vinaigrette

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe for Balsamic Green Beans with Walnuts, let me know by leaving a star rating and review. 

Happy Cooking!


These Green Beans with Walnuts and Balsamic are one of my favorite vegetable side dishes of all times! Simple, quick, elegant and delicious. | Healthy Seasonal Recipes #glutenfree #vegan #dairyfree #vegetarian

balsamic green beans with walnuts

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Steamed
  • Cuisine: American


These Balsamic Green Beans with Walnuts are one of my favorite vegetable side dishes of all times! Simple, quick, elegant and delicious.



  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed (about 8 cups)


  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring until the garlic is just barely showing signs of turning brown, 30 to 90 seconds. Immediately pour into a large mixing bowl to stop cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, add 1 to 2 inches of water to a large pot fitted with a steamer attachment, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans to steamer, and cook, covered until the beans are crisp tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the green beans to the bowl. Add walnuts, balsamic and salt and toss to coat.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 125
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 94 mg
  • Fat: 10 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 3 g

overhead green beans with walnuts and balsamic

balsamic green beans with walnuts