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Pesto and Parmesan add great flavor to these Pesto Green Beans. A stand out vegetable side dish that’s easy enough for a weeknight but special enough for a holiday meal.
Green beans are the vegetable I turn to most often for a simple weekday menu. They are available most of the year, they cook quickly, and there are loads of different ways to prepare them. These Pesto Green Beans have taken the top spot in my list of favorites.
The idea is just so gosh darned simple and the result is flavorful and downright delicious. It’s not often that one looks forward to the veggie side just as much as the main course, but this green bean recipe does that for me. I just love ’em and I think you will to.
- Green beans – You’ll need 1 pound of fresh string beans with the stem ends trimmed. See my notes below on the different varieties of green beans.
- Pesto – This recipe is an excellent way to use up leftover pesto you might have on hand. Store bought pesto can be very pricey but check your local warehouse store for a better value. Costco carries a 22-ounce jar of high quality pesto for a great price which means you can make lots and lots of delicious pesto recipes (see my favorites below). Of course, if you are growing basil this year, use that homemade pesto!
- Nuts – I use sliced almonds most often but pine nuts are an excellent choice. Pine nuts are far more expensive though so I will only use them if I happen to have them on hand. Store nuts in the refrigerator and use them within 6 months. They can be frozen for longer storage.
- Parmesan – The real stuff, finely shredded.
Varieties of Green Beans
- String Beans or Snap Beans – These are the beans pictured in this post and my preference for Pesto Green Beans. They were named “string beans” because back in the day, this variety had a tough, fibrous string that ran the length of the bean. Newer varieties typically have had this bred out of them so the only prep required before cooking is to snap or cut off any tough stem ends.
- Haricots Verts (French Green Beans) – This variety is thinner and more delicate than string beans and require less cooking time. They are a little pricier but very tasty.
How to Make Pesto Green Beans
- Toast the sliced almonds (or pine nuts) by placing them on a baking sheet and baking at 375 degrees F for 4 to 5 minutes, or just until lightly browned. While the nuts are in the oven, bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt and the green beans. Cook the beans until they are crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch closely to avoid overcooking (there’s nothing worse than mushy beans).
- Drain the beans well and return them to the warm, empty pot. Add a little salt, the pesto and about half of the Parmesan and toss the green beans until well coated.
Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and remaining Parmesan. You’re ready to serve this fresh and gorgeous vegetable side dish!
Favorite Pesto Recipes
It is never a problem for me to use up the great big Costco-sized jar of pesto. Having that jar in my fridge provides great menu inspiration and gives me an excuse to whip up Chicken Pesto Salad Sandwiches, the ridiculously delicious Chicken Pesto Pasta, and my lightened up Baked Chicken Pesto Parmesan.
If you are a pesto fan, I hope you’ll try these delicious Pesto Green Beans. And, if you do, be sure to leave me a comment and let me know how they worked out for you!
Pesto Green Beans
- 1 pound green beans stem ends trimmed (see Notes section below)
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt or to taste, divided
- 2 tablespoons pesto
- 3 tablespoons sliced almonds or pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons finely shredded Parmesan divided
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the almonds or pine nuts out on a small baking sheet or oven-proof dish and bake for 4 to 5 minutes until lightly toasted and slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over HIGH heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and the green beans. Cook the beans until they are crisp tender, about 3 to 4 minutes. Watch closely to avoid overcooking. Drain the beans well and return them to the warm, empty pot. Season with the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste. Add the pesto and about half of the Parmesan and toss with tongs until well coated.
- Transfer the beans to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the toasted almonds and remaining Parmesan and serve.
Adapted from Garlic and Zest