These simple skillet green beans are a perfect healthy side dish. All you need is a pile of fresh string beans, one pot, garlic, olive oil and a little spice! That’s it! So if you’ve never tried making sautéed green beans, you’ll fall in love with just how easy they are to make! 

Simple Skillet Green Beans- 15 minutes, Just garlic, olive oil an red pepper flake! Paleo, vegan and naturally gluten-free. On Healthy Seasonal Recipes. #Vegan #Paleo #Glutenfree #Greenbeans

I originally shared this recipe on July 10th, 2015. I have updated the text today.

Friends, I’ve been on vacation for the last 23 days. And it has been absolute bliss. Before we get to this super-easy green bean recipe, I want to share with you a little auditory peek into the the sounds of summer here on the shore of Lake Champlain.

The sound of the girls calling Judy T. in for the night, while the little yellow dog seems transfixed by a lightning bug that is so deep in the grass that it must be lost and only lights up often enough to keep her mesmerized and unable to listen to the girls willful calls.

The sound of the south wind whipping off the lake and under the door to my daughters room making a faintly spooky whistling sound, as she’s snuggled under her white matelassé coverlet with her latest Geronimo Stilton book.

Simple Skillet Green Beans | #Vegan #Paleo #Glutenfree #Greenbeans

The sound of my husband starting the engine of the motorboat, while my brother in law unties them from the dock for a quick–I promise we’ll be back in like 40 minutes–fishing sesh.

The cheerful “Helooos!” from the walking traffic that steadily graces our front lawn as other people who have cottages on the lakefront make their way on the toe path from one cottage to the next.

The bark of my sister’s terrier as our neighbors drop in unexpectedly, with Ricky Bobbies in hand, to ask if we want to walk over to the tennis courts for a game of bocce.

The whack! of the screen door as my sister Jessie arrives home with a bag of grass fed steaks, sweet corn and fresh tender green beans from the farmers market.

These are the sounds of summer on Thompson’s Point. These are the sounds that lull me into the state of complete relaxation and they are the reason that when asked or told to “go to your happy place” that place is here. More specifically, that happy place is about one foot from the foot of the stairs to our porch on the lawn overlooking the bay. These are the sounds that make me speak of myself in the third person, forget to take my laptop home and back it up for 23 days, and those that make me want to sit on my butt reading Sweet Paul or fishing for perch instead of coming up with chocolate raspberry tarts and multi-stepped recipes.

Simple Skillet Green Beans | Vegan Paleo Glutenfree

I hope you don’t mind the short little summer interlude. Now let’s get to these easy peasy green beans!



What Are Green Beans

Are Green Beans and String Beans the Same Thing?

  • Phaseolus vulgaris: Yes, string beans and green beans are the same thing. Green beans are a type of snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) which can actually be yellow or purple too. You can read more about varieties and buy green bean seeds here
  • Other Names For Green Beans: Haricot Vert, snap beans, wax beans and filet beans, are the same thing as green bean. Haricot Vert are more slender and tender and meant to be picked when they are smaller. In the market, wax beans are usually yellow. 
  • What are Green Beans: Green beans are tender annuals in the Leguminosae family, which also includes garbanzos, peas, lentils, and peanuts. They’re eaten fresh (as opposed to dry beans which are grown for their mature bean seeds.)
  • Pole vs Bush Beans: Green beans can be bush beans or pole beans, they just have different growing habits. You can read more about growing green beans here.

Purchasing Green Beans

  • I’d encourage you to take a moment at the grocery store to pick out the best looking green beans. If the beans aren’t all looking stellar, I’ll literally stand there and pick and choose which beans go into my bag.
  • You’ll want to choose fresh greens beans that are free from wrinkles or any spots that are becoming mushy.

How To Cook Green Beans

If you are one of the unfortunate many who has ever experienced the texture of a canned green beans, *raises hand* then you know just how wrong things can go for a green bean if it isn’t cooked correctly. {Aside: When I was a kid my mom always made Salad Nicoise with canned green beans and I always thought they were so strange!} Anyway, no matter what you do, when cooking green beans, the key is to not overcook them.

How Long To Cook Green Beans: As a general rule, you can cook them from raw to crisp tender in about 4 minutes. This is especially true in steaming and boiling. That said, there are several ways to cook green beans and cooking times will vary depending. 

Sautéed Green Beans

  • Sautéeing Green Beans is so simple because there is only one skillet needed. I’ll walk you through how to do it below. 

Steamed Green Beans

Roasted Green Beans

  • I do love to make roasted green beans, especially once the weather cools off, and I don’t mind having the oven on. You can see complete instructions on how to roast green beans here in my Roasted Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme recipe.

How To Make Simple Skillet Green Beans

  1. Cut the stem ends off. An easy way to do that, is to line a handful up stem sides together and then cutting them off with a knife. I think this method is faster than breaking them off by hand.
  2. Next choose a large skillet. We have a nice big cast-iron skillet that I like to use for this recipe. You’ll need a lid- so make sure the skillet you choose has a lid that’ll work with it. (Note: a sheet of aluminum foil will work too if need be.)
  3. Add your oil to the skillet and let it get hot. After blooming the red pepper flake in the oil, add green beans to let them blister and brown. This step takes a bit of time, simply because the skillet is so full, and it takes a while to turn the mass of green beans to touch the skillet.
  4. After that step, you can add the garlic. Doing so earlier will allow it to burn. Cook it until it becomes fragrant, but doesn’t burn.
  5. Then add the water. Adding water will stop the browning, but it creates steam, so you can trap that in with the lid to cook the beans through.
  6. How to Know They’re Done: They’ll be become bright green and cooked to crisp tender perfection in a minute or two. And that’s it!

More Simple Veggie Side Dishes To Try

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Happy Cooking!


Simple Vegan Skillet Green Beans- Naturally paleo, gluten-free and low carb. On Healthy Seasonal Recipes by Katie Webster

simple skillet green beans

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: American


These simple skillet green beans are a perfect healthy side dish. They are made in one pot with garlic, olive oil and a little spice. They are vegan, paleo and naturally gluten-free.



  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flake, or to taste
  • 1.5 pounds green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper flake and stir to coat the pepper in the oil. Add green beans and cook, stirring often until the beans are blistering and browning in areas, 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and salt and cook, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and browning, about 30 seconds. Add water and immediately cover. Cook covered until the beans are bright green and crisp tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


To Trim The Beans: The stem end of the bean is tough and fibrous. This must be removed. To do so easily, line up a handful of the beans with the stems facing the same direction. Cut them off all at once. No need to cut off the pointy tip.

Skillet: We have a nice big cast-iron skillet that I like to use for this recipe. You’ll need a lid- so make sure the skillet you choose has a lid that’ll work with it. (Note: a sheet of aluminum foil will work too if need be.)


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 70
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 230 mg
  • Fat: 5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 1 g


These simple skillet green beans are a perfect healthy side dish. They are made in one pot with garlic, olive oil and a little spice. They are vegan, paleo and naturally gluten-free. #greenbeans #healthy #vegan #stringbeans