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.
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).
Looking for a good summer time green bean recipe? You must try these simple grilled green beans.
If I could just eat those in the summer and these all the cold weather months, I’d be a happy gal!
Below is a fun sample Thanksgiving menu these green beans with cranberries, bacon and goat cheese would go well with. Enjoy!
Green Beans with Cranberries, Bacon and Goat Cheese
- 2 pounds green beans washed and trimmed
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 4 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- salt & pepper to taste
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plate the green beans with the cranberries, crumble the goat cheese and bacon on top and serve warm.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.