Admittedly, there is a little labor involved when preparing fresh green beans for a recipe, including this one – but it is an easygoing responsibility many of us have known for years!
And, might I be so bold to say, many of us actually look forward to it whenever summertime arrives with a bright new lineup of seasonal produce.
During every summer of my childhood after bringing home a big haul from the farmers market, I would trim fresh green beans with my family outside on our porch before dinner, setting up a circle of chairs with big bowls in the center on the ground, one for the ends and one for the perfectly prepped stems.
I would sneak a few nibbles of some of the tinier ones, before Mom took them away – and while they were irresistible when raw, super crunchy, and slightly astringent, I also couldn’t wait for them to be cooked into a savory and tender dish!
When green beans and juicy tomatoes are growing in the garden or widely available in farmers markets, this particular recipe has always been my personal top choice among the others.
Simple and straightforward, my humble recipe offers a direct approach to enjoying clean summer flavors, uninterrupted by excess ingredients or complicated cooking techniques.
And… you’re done!
Plus, this a side dish that is just as versatile as the vegetable itself.
But you can just as easily roast a chicken in the oven or use your electric pressure cooker to prepare a pork roast when the weather outside is less than ideal.
You’ll bring all the sun and fresh flavors you’ll need with this recipe!Print
For a simple and summery side dish, you will love these green beans, parboiled and tossed with olive oil, juicy, ripe tomatoes, and thyme.
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- 2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
- Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water. Set aside, with a clean kitchen towel.
- Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Carefully place the beans in the boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes.
- Drain the beans in a colander and immediately transfer them to the ice bath to shock them. Allow them to sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.
- Drain and place the beans on the clean kitchen towel. Dry them to remove most of the excess water. Transfer to a large, clean mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and toss gently. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Green Beans
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Vegetable
Keywords: green beans, thyme, tomatoes
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil on the stovetop. You can prep the ingredients as you are waiting for the water to boil.
Wash and trim both the fresh green beans on both ends. You can also use an equal amount of pre-washed and pre-trimmed green beans, if you want to save some prep time.
Use whatever tomatoes look juicy and ripe – any medium-sized variety will work perfectly here. Favorites include Ace 55-VF, Black Krim, Chocolate Stripes, Brandywine, or other heirloom varieties. Read more about top heirloom tomato picks on our sister site Gardener’s Path.
Remove the thyme leaves from the stems, and roughly chop them.
Measure out the olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper – freshly milled is best for both! Be sure to have more on hand. You’ll need a generous handful of salt for parboiling the beans in the water, and extra of both if you need to make any adjustments after you taste test.
Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and water – you will use this as your ice bath for shocking the veggies to stop the cooking process.
Step 2 – Parboil the Green Beans
When the water is at a rolling boil, generously salt it – a heaping tablespoon of salt will be enough for a medium-sized pot.
Carefully drop the beans into the water.
Boil the beans for 3 to 5 minutes, or until crisp tender. Test one at three minutes – if the texture is to your liking, you can drain them. If they are still too crunchy, cook for another minute or two and test again.
Do you thrive on using your pressure cooker for prep work? Instead of parboiling on the stovetop, use your favorite appliance instead! With our help, learn how to cook green beans in your electric pressure cooker.
Step 3 – Drain, Shock, and Dry
Drain the green beans, carefully pouring the contents of the pot into a colander in the sink. You could also opt to transfer them from the water to the ice bath with tongs, if that’s easier.
Immediately transfer the green beans to the ice bath – work quickly here! The ice water will halt the cooking process right away, preserving both the texture and color of the vegetables.
Allow them to sit in the ice bath for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Drain the water and place the green beans on the kitchen towel that you set out. Pat them dry, removing most of the excess water.
Transfer them to a large, clean mixing bowl. For effortless serving, you could even transfer them to a beautiful wooden salad bowl.
Step 4 – Combine Ingredients
Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl: the tomatoes, thyme, oil, salt, and pepper.
With clean hands, a large spoon, or tongs, gently toss everything together until all of the ingredients are evenly mixed and the vegetables are coated in the oil and seasonings.
Taste test, and determine if you should add any additional salt or pepper. You may also want more thyme, if you love a bolder herbaceous flavor.
Step 5 – Serve at Room Temperature
This simple mix is best served at room temperature. After mixing everything together, you can cover the bowl and set it aside while you put the final touches on the rest of your dinner.
Directly before serving, give it one final toss. Divide among plates, and enjoy!
What If I Have Other Herbs I Want to Use?
Whoa. Your dill went from cute little fronds to massive branches, seemingly overnight! And how did your basil and parsley get so… bulky?!
If you have some summer herbs you are frantically desperate to use up, now is your chance. Do some of your harvesting now and toss ‘em in this recipe!
You can substitute an equal amount of your favorite chopped herbs, or create a mix of a few of them for a side dish that you can proudly say is uniquely yours.
And if you have any edible flowers on hand, we think they would make a beautiful final garnish for serving.
What are some easy ways you like to prepare summer vegetables? We have an entire summer’s worth of dinners to make, so we would appreciate any ideas that you want to share with us in the comment section below.
We’re keeping our green-colored glasses on all season long, and so should you! Make more of our green bean recipes featuring fun combinations of ingredients, such as these Foodal favorites:
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 11, 2014. Last updated on July 5, 2023.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.