Make Ahead

Marinated Green Bean Sandwiches

July 14, 2021
10 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Makes 4 sandwiches
Author Notes

I grew up visiting the beaches of Westerly, Rhode Island—and on so many evenings, salty and sleepy, we'd drive over to Watch Hill for the sunset, the people-watching, and the ice cream cones. But we'd always stop for dinner at Fra's, an unassuming and extremely wonderful Italian deli. My order: the marinated green bean sandwich. When Fra's closed a few years back, I began craving the sandwich. This rendition is pretty close to what I remember (but for the full experience, you have to follow it with an ice cream cone). —Caroline Lange

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (to taste—but be generous)
  • Pinch salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 focaccia rolls, halved (or 8 slices of focaccia; if you've made a pan of focaccia, slice 4 big squares and then cut each in half so you have 8 thin squares of focaccia)
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced very thinly
  1. Trim the green beans. In a large frying pan, sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, then add the green beans, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Sauté the beans until they are bright green and tender-crisp. They shouldn't squeak, but they should still be firm.
  2. Toss the green beans with the red wine vinegar and set aside for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
  3. When you're ready to eat, preheat the oven to about 350° F and arrange the slices of focaccia on baking sheet with the cut sides up. Arrange the slices of mozzarella on top of the bread and slide it all into the oven until the bread is warm and the cheese is beginning to melt.
  4. Remove the warmed bread from the oven and make the sandwiches: Top a slice of the cheesy bread with a heap of green beans (as many as you can pack on) and top with the other slice of bread.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christyvhs
  • maam
  • Laura Albanese
    Laura Albanese
  • Hannah
  • Hannah211
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.

19 Reviews

Christine O. August 26, 2023
Made this exactly and it was delicious. Used all the beans in two sandwiches. Unusual idea and really good.
Christyvhs September 23, 2021
I made this with *Rick’s picks mean beans, Spicy pickled green beans…premade and delicious. They are quite spicy on their own but perfect in this sandwich. I also made fresh focaccia, and had some pecorino fresco on hand which has so much flavor. I love this completely unique sandwich. And so did my husband. Fun easy dinner!
maam August 31, 2021
I just love this recipe to take to work for lunch. I use naan bread with either ricotta or cream cheese. I take the beans in a separate container. Great way to use up harden bounty.
Easy peasy
Laura A. August 12, 2021
I had no idea what to expect, but I’m so glad I tried this! I didn’t have mozzarella, so I used sliced Gouda and mayo. And I also used homemade sourdough burger buns as the bread. Be prepared for a mess, but it’s worth it! The marinated green beans are amazing (I used them again in a Niçoise salad). My boyfriend thought I was crazy for eating this sandwich every day for lunch until the beans ran out but I’m keeping this on repeat!
Jessica July 20, 2021
Made this last night with brioche rolls because that's what I had. I will make this again and again. Very satisfying and simple! I love the suggestion from another reviewer to add anchovy to the mix, I'll try that next.
Hannah July 20, 2021
I loved this with the green beans, and as a avid fan of garlic I added 2.5 extra large cloves. I had a panini press on hand and a great outdoors wood fire, so I toasted that sandwich this evening instead of turning on the oven.I was able to stick in the French beans when the cheese was still warm. Excellent supper.

patricia G. July 18, 2021
Garlic scapes turn "bean-y" with cooking, and might work in this sandwich. A bit late in the season for scapes, but something to try next year.
andrea S. July 18, 2021
I made this for lunch yesterday after seeing it on IG and finding green beans at the Farmer's Market. We were very skeptical, but all 3 of us LOVED it! I piled on the green beans, so there were more than in this picture. Definitely try it before you judge it!!
Linda D. September 17, 2018
I made this for lunch today, Caroline-yum! I used the buns I had on hand, and served them open faced.
Hannah211 May 20, 2018
I grew up summering in Westerly too! I remember Fra's green bean focaccia like it was yesterday, they were my favorite too! I've had such a craving for them too. It's too bad Fra's is gone, it was also a great place to pick up a coffee and these HUGE pastries that a quarter piece would look like a Starbucks scone. Same price. Oh, those days are gone...
[email protected] April 6, 2022
Hi if you ever return to westerly Fras daughter open up a shop in Westerly. It’s in Mills Pond Plaza. I believe Fras helping on the holiday.
The name of the place is Joyce’s food.
Caroline L. April 12, 2022
That is such exciting news! Thanks so much for letting us know.
The P. April 15, 2018
I'd bet asparagus would be just as good as green beans..
The P. April 15, 2018
I'd add a couple of anchovy fillets during the bean-sauteeing step. That's the Italian in me.
JJGood June 15, 2017
I've had this on my radar for a while and finally made it. I cooked the green beans just as instructed (which took longer than I thought it would, about five to seven minutes), but instead of toasting the cheese on the bread, I brushed the bread with some of the marinate, then scooped the last of it with the residual garlic on top of the green beans before I topped it. It was creamy, spicy, sharp, and cool. Totally loved it.
Elizabeth A. October 6, 2015
Oh my gosh this looks so delicious I had to share immediately on my FB page.
Kathryn L. October 6, 2015
Thanks for the memory, Babe!
Girlfromipanema September 29, 2015
This looks great, but you wouldn't boil the green beans first?
Caroline L. September 29, 2015
i've had luck just sautéing them before marinating (borrowing the method from canal house's genius zucchini), but if you boil them first, let me know what you think! the not-too-soft texture is pretty crucial, though, so don't let 'em go too far :)