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