Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon and Goat cheese

These green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese are a healthy addition to your Thanksgiving table that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

*This post for Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon and Goat Cheese was originally published on 11/18/2013. The photographs have been updated and the recipe slightly edited (to serve a larger crowd because it’s a great Thanksgiving side dish!)

These green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese are a healthy addition to your Thanksgiving table that doesn’t skimp on flavor.

Eating healthy on Thanksgiving is probably one of the last things I’m concerned with but honestly, the marshmallow studded sweet potatoes and creamy, god-knows-what-kind-of canned-soup casseroles do nothing for me. I’d much rather some veggies dressed up for the occasion but still recognizable as a vegetable.

Looking for healthier Thanksgiving ideas? Check out my post for 100 Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes.

And when it comes to green beans, overcooked, mushy or god forbid, from a can (gasp!) are just not gonna cut it. I like them kind of like I like my pasta, al dente. Cooked yes, but they need to still have a bit of a bite to them.

So let’s talk about what’s going on in this perfect-for-Thanksgiving side dish.

First we’re sautéing the green beans in bacon grease. No blanching necessary. I really hate blanching vegetables it’s just another pot to clean and it annoys me how long it takes to boil water for them only to be in there for like a minute so I avoid this cooking method at all costs. Not to mention, it’s just unnecessary because you can throw a lid on a skillet and steam them – a much quicker approach and dish clean up stays at 1.

If the lovely flavor the bacon grease imparts hasn’t convinced you, we then add fresh cranberries to the mix because 1. they’re festive and 2. their tart punch goes lovely with the salty bacon we crumble on top.

Goat cheese is the last element and I love how it softens and adds just a little bit of creamy texture to the dish. Feta crumbles would be great too if you’re not a fan of goat cheese. 

Slightly crunchy green beans, burst cranberries, salty bacon and goat cheese crumbles make a stunning and delicious side dish for any holiday dinner.

There’s really nothing complicated about these Thanksgiving green beans, in fact, the dish comes together in under 20 minutes, but there’s something about the finished dish that makes it feel fancier than your normal dinner fare. It’s got the elegance for a holiday meal (it’d be great for Christmas dinner too!) with the ease of a weeknight dinner side dish – kinda the best of both worlds.

And one more win for the Thanksgiving crowd – it doesn’t take up precious oven space since it’s made all on the stove-top. You can even make this ahead of time and just warm up right before dinner if you wanted to (see the note in the recipe for that). 

These green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese are an explosion of flavor and a healthier take on traditional green bean side dishes for the holidays.

Here’s a fun sample Thanksgiving menu these green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese would go well with. Enjoy!

Tart Cherry Chestnut Stuffed Turkey Roulade
5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce
Pumpkin Corn Muffins
Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash
Golden Beet Gratin
Paleo Chocolate Pecan Tart

Yield: 8-10 servings

Green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese

These green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese are a healthy addition to your Thanksgiving table that doesn't skimp on flavor.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside but leave the grease in the pan.
  2. Add the green beans to the pan with the bacon grease. (*see note) Sauté for 3-5 minutes, tossing occasionally until the green beans start to "char". At this point, cover the skillet with a lid and let steam for another 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove the lid, add the cranberries and sauté for another 2 minutes until the cranberries are warmed through and starting to burst. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Plate the green beans with the cranberries, crumble the goat cheese and bacon on top and serve warm.

Notes

*You can do this step in two batches if your skillet isn't large enough. Just reserve some bacon grease for the second batch before adding the green beans.

**This dish can be made ahead of time and just warmed up in the oven for a few minutes before serving. If making ahead, leave the goat cheese off until serving.


 

40 Comments

  1. Megan {Country Cleaver}

    Bacon grease makes the world go ’round. And still I love that these are purdy darn healthy. I mean, like you said – at least you can tell that it’s a vegetable, which I an’t say much else for a traditional side dish on Turkey Day hahah GORGEOUS

    Reply
  2. Liz

    Oh, yeah. This is what I want on my Thanksgiving table…no marshmallows, no gloppy soup as an ingredient. And gorgeous as well as delicious!! Brava!

    Reply
  3. Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    Yeah. I don’t get the marshmallow and funky ingredient dishes that are so popular. Just give me a basket of dinner rolls and leave me alone. :)

    And these green beans are so pretty. I just told my husband my Thanksgiving plans and he complained about the lack of veggies. I’m definitely going to make these! I’ll do a trial run this week. :D

    Reply
  4. Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    Lol. My husband just saw this up on the computer and didn’t know I had written you about making these for Thanksgiving (and the test run!) and he was squealing, “I WANT! I WANT!” So um… yeah. Guess we’ll be having these tomorrow! :)

    Reply
  5. Tracey

    I’m always so, so afraid of losing the stones from my rings. You must have been crazy relieved to find yours! Green beans cooked in bacon grease sounds so heavenly, this would be an amazing Thanksgiving side! And it’s gorgeous too :)

    Reply
  6. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen

    Nightmare! My mom lost her diamond TWICE and found it both times. Craziness! I once lost my whole wedding ring and it was gone for weeks. I thought it would turn up but the longer time went by I started getting weepy about it. Then my husband found it ground into our driveway! Oh my word! Our van had been driving over and over it for weeks! I cried like a baby when he found it and told me what happened. We think it fell off of my finger when I was taking my gloves off one day. Ugh.

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      oh my gosh, I’d be so upset if that happened to mine! That happened to an earring I had (a cheap one) that I wore all the time when I was taking a motorcycle helmet off in the garage and when I found it all bent and broken I was so upset! I can’t even imagine if it were my rings!

      Reply
  7. Kim Beaulieu

    We lost hubs wedding ring, still looking for it. Not sure it’s ever going to turn up. Such a bummer.

    I just love this recipe. It’s the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving. Would be fabulous for Christmas too.

    Reply
  8. Erin @ Texanerin Baking

    He made ’em! I don’t like green beans or goat cheese so I just ate the bacon. :) (I actually ate the entire package of bacon before it got added to the beans and had to fry another package). We’re going to serve these at Thanksgiving. I’m going to feel so classy and fancy. :D

    And he doesn’t say much about food but he ate the entire batch by himself in one sitting. I guess he liked them. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply
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  11. Michele

    Made these today for Christmas dinner… so easy and pretty and delicious!! Everyone loved them! And the green, red & white… perfect Christmas colors! :)

    Reply
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  22. Nancy

    These green beans were absolutely delicious — loved all of the extras; especially the cheese and cranberries. Thanks for a great recipe. Nancy : )

    Reply
  23. Catherine

    Dear Gina, I don’t think it gets any better than this. The bacon and goat cheese is a perfect combo to balance out the cranberries. A perfect holiday side dear. xo, Catherine

    Reply
    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I would keep the goat cheese and bacon separate from the cooked beans and cranberries. Reheat the beans right before serving then top with the bacon and goat cheese.

      Reply

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