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Natalie is a recipe tester for Food52.
It depends on what kind of flavor you're going for- a lot of Thanksgiving green bean recipe actually say to start with butter to get that extra richness. If you're making an Asian dish you may want to start with a neutral oil like canola or peanut. If you're doing something more Mediterranean or want the fruity flavor of olives, go with olive oil.
I tend to like using olive oil if I'm serving green beans with a meat dish, and when I'm serving them with seafoood, I like using a toasted sesame oil.
Also a few drops of chili oil with either a flavored oil or neutral oil gives a kick.
I'd us a natural flavored oil like safflower oil or the olive oil you usually cook with. If you wanted to use a flavored oil like sesame (which I don't particular think is a thanksgiving flavor) or a nut oil, use it as a flavoring agent after you've cooked the beans in some other oil.
I love green beans sauteed in coconut oil. It's magical. And if you sprinkle a little toasted, unsweetened coconut on top, it's even better. If I sautee them in olive oil, I spritz on some lemon juice after, with plenty of pepper and salt.
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Well played. You deserve a cookie.
A speedy snack (or study break).
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