5 Ingredients or Fewer

Penelope Casa's Garlic Green Beans (Judias Verdes conĀ Ajo)

April 17, 2021
14 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This technique looks embarrassingly simple, and it is. But it shakes up our habits, and with four ingredients, lets green beans become their best selves. Resist the temptation to add liquid. The beans will stew in their own juices, and their flavor will be completely undiluted. You could leave the garlic out, but its pushy sting will soften a little on the warmth of the beans. Adapted from The Foods and Wines of Spain (Knopf, 1982). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Coarse salt
  1. Snap off the tops of the beans. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the beans, and cook them over a medium to medium-high flame, stirring, until they begin to brown.
  2. Lower the flame, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the beans are the desired tenderness, stirring occasionally.
  3. Mix in the crushed garlic, sprinkle with salt, and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
    Rebecca Kurzendoerfer
  • Cecile
  • Austin Burges
    Austin Burges
  • Kelsey
  • Jen Williams
    Jen Williams
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

32 Reviews

Gaye M. May 20, 2023
Very simple and delicious!
Rebecca K. January 10, 2021
Really, really good green beans. Simple and delicious.
Cecile March 25, 2020
The ease and tastiness of this recipe puts it in heavy rotation at my house.
kaui February 21, 2020
Just made this dish and will be adding to this to my lineup. I have three teenaged boys (17 & 15) and they will love this new vegetable option, not to mention my vegetarian husband! The addition of the garlic at the end, and letting it cook with the green beans is how my husband's grandmother would make her signature broccoli and pasta dish. Great way to get garlic in without risking burning it, yet still cooking it enough to take the edge off.
Austin B. July 10, 2019
This has been my green-bean go-to for a few years now. Absolutely adore it.
Bakezoid December 28, 2017
Astonishingly delicious and so simple. Based on the comments I used a bit of olive oil with the butter and almost 2 pounds of beans. Thanks for my new favorite!
cookinalong October 20, 2017
There is no better way to cook green beans! Except to double the garlic!!
Sandra August 18, 2017
Delicious; I'd use a little less butter (and maybe a mix of butter and olive oil, but still less than a full tablespoon), even though I had almost a pound instead of the 3/4 pound called for. Mine were done in 8-10 minutes even on low, but maybe the cast iron pan accounts for that, since it conducts heat so well. Easy to make and very good.
Butter A. March 19, 2016
Really splendid. I added olive oil to the butter in the pan, which gave it great flavor. Excellent springtime lunch with a slice of olive bread. Thank you!
Kelsey December 11, 2015
I would love to make these to share for a holiday party next week! I am wondering if I can make them earlier on in the day to be served for dinner that night. Should I cut the cook time a little since they may possibly steam themselves in a covered dish? I would guess they'd be resting about 2 hours before dinner time.
Kris November 11, 2015
I made these delicious beans last night and to prevent them from burning I added a little water which also made them super tender! Wonderful
Jen W. September 16, 2015
Excellent recipe! I used Romano beans cut into about 2" lengths. They got nice and tender without falling apart. I don't like raw garlic, so I stirred it into the beans, put the cover back on and just let it sit (heat off) for ten minutes or so. Perfect. Looking forward to trying this with regular green beans too.
monkeymom February 7, 2015
Thank you for this great recipe! So easy and delicious. I will be making this again and again!
LeeLeeBee March 27, 2014
I made these green beans for my parents, who are of the "boil it to death" school of cooking vegetables... but they loved this recipe! Beautiful recipe.
Diana August 26, 2013
These were absolutely delicious & easy to make! Thanks for the recipe.
ChiFoodLover August 26, 2013
I think I've found my favorite way to cook green beans. They're absolutely delicious!
riv August 25, 2013
Absolutely brilliant :)
GregoryBPortland August 20, 2013
I have made this recipe about four times since I read it here. Funny, I never noticed it in Ms. Casas' wonderful THE FOOD & WINES OF SPAIN. I've been cooking out of this superb cookbook for more than thirty years. So this recipe is now added to my rotating menu of favored vegetable dishes. Sadly, I just read in today's New York Times, that Ms. Casas has passed away at age 70. Another favorite recipe from this classic is Stuffed Red Cabbage (Lombarda Rellena). This is a very good recipe for company, as it is put together and then baked in the oven.
Rkelly3042 August 18, 2013
I actually did not like the texture of the beans cooked in this way. They were a bit tough. Maybe I just didn't have the best beans. I think I will blanch them and then warm them in butter and add the garlic instead next time.
krisanderic August 14, 2013
Just need to add my two cents - absolutely fantastic! I'd intended to have kale with our grill-roasted chicken, but ended up picking beans too. Definitely a keeper - only now the beans will never make it to the freezer!