Make Ahead

Garlic Green Beans with Soy Sauce

September  1, 2010
8 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 3
Author Notes

These simple green beans get a little kick from ground ginger and pepper flakes. —mtlabor

Test Kitchen Notes

It is a well-documented fact that I do not like to make sides. Actually, no one has documented that at all beyond me, here on this site, once.

But the fact is sides are, for me, the most detestable part of cooking. They generally require too much chopping and simmering for the buck, sucking away time I’d rather spend simply eating my main course, served up with a side of rice or some quickly steamed or sautéed broccoli.

But recently, I began a dinner exchange with my neighbor–they bring us dinner one night a week, and we make their meal on another. I quickly realized that other people expect more than a slab of meat or fish, they expect a little showmanship on the edge of the plate. Still, we’re talking weeknight here.

Enter Garlic Green Beans with Soy Sauce by mtlabor. Motivation for making this in rough order of importance:

1. I had everything on hand save the beans.

2. mtlabor, in this humble weeknight cook’s opinion, is one of the most reliable recipe writers on this site. Her recipes are easy to follow, conform to real kitchens and work. ‘Nuff said.

3. If you make this, your kitchen will smell like Chinese take out, and I mean that in a good way.

I read this recipe over as I trimmed my beans, grumbled at my husband for not picking them over a bit better at Whole Foods, which was charging a king’s ransom for plenty banged up beans you should know, and told anyone within earshot to set the table.

The only thing that gave me pause was the directive for olive oil. I chose to go with peanut oil instead, which I think is a better partner for soy sauce, and because you’re told to get your pan super hot, and peanut oil tends to be more up for the task of that activity than its olive friend.

I love that you make a little well in the beans for the spices. It’s just fun. Plus it works. In about 15 minutes you have a very worthy side. Just watch your hand as you sprinkle red pepper flakes. A little distraction will lead to a rather hot mouth. That’s not neighborly. —Jestei

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Garlic Green Beans with Soy Sauce
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add generous amount of salt and add green beans. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. You want it to get pretty hot by itself. Add oil and coat the pan. Add the green beans and saute for about 2-4 minutes, or until they start to brown.
  3. Make a well in the center of the skillet and add garlic, ginger powder, and red pepper flakes. Slowly start to incorporate the green beans, until everything is well mixed.
  4. Stir in soy sauce and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve fresh and hot as a great side or snack!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Renorda Bridget
    Renorda Bridget
  • Kathy Lee
    Kathy Lee
  • Tina Heaney
    Tina Heaney
  • William Lazarus Wacker
    William Lazarus Wacker
  • WildRiceLLC

37 Reviews

Ddefalco September 29, 2023
Don't like to make sides? What an effing idiot! Many times the "side dishes" make a meal. What's bratwurst without sauerkraut, or even a burger without fries? Go eat your main dish straight up, I'll expend a little more effort and make a complete meal, thanks. Someone with your attitude shouldn't even be running a cooking blog. I'll never visit this site again.
itsurmom420 October 14, 2023
No need for name calling, lol, we're talking about food and food accessories.
Fbaird December 31, 2022
Simple and delicious. I followed the advice of others and used fresh grated ginger versus the powder. Will definitely make this again
Renorda B. July 23, 2020
Heat recipe my family enjoyed it! It’s hard trying to get them to eat green beans but this rocked!!
Sharon September 10, 2018
Amazing green beans 🤪😉😋 Couldn’t be happier
Kathy L. November 3, 2016
These are absolutely delicious. Thank you for the recipe.
Tina H. October 22, 2016
Wish I'd had more beans; these were delicious!
William L. July 18, 2016
Delicious. I sautéed a chicken breast with salt, black pepper and ginger powder and made my lazy man's peanut sauce for the chicken [2Tbs Justin's Classic PB, 2Tbs salted green bean cooking water (taken pre-boil) and a squirt of Sriracha)].
Kaede S. April 18, 2016
This is de-lish! I was looking for a new green bean recipe. This was perfect.
Penny L. January 9, 2016
Delicious recipe and very easy! Added about a teaspoon of minced fresh ginger right at the end, plus about a tablespoon of Mae Pla chili-garlic sauce during the final toss helped to pull everything together and made for a sticky, garlicky, yummy dish. Teenagers and adults both liked it. Will definitely be making this again and I will double the recipe for leftovers next time!
Shazna January 2, 2016
Delicious. Used Bragg's instead of soy sauce. Next time I might use a bit less oil - and then add a bit of sesame oil at the end.
WildRiceLLC August 18, 2015
Wow, these were amazing! Got lots of compliments on them. I used the recipe as a guide and pretty much followed it but ran fresh ginger over a microplane and used it that way instead of ginger powder. Since I accidentally put in too much pepperoncini I had to tone down the hotness. In an effort to do that, I added a squirt of agave nectar and a few squirts of fresh lemon which gave the beans a great flavor. We watch our sodium, so I switched out the soy sauce for Bragg's liquid aminos. These were a huge hit and I will make them over and over again.
Jara July 28, 2014
I made these last night. My only change was to steam the green beans in the microwave rather than boil them. Easy and quick.
Vanina H. January 5, 2014
This was super yummy! I didn't have ginger powder so I used fresh ginger(grated). Will make it again. Thanks!
Adelucchi February 15, 2013
Super delicious. Want to try the same technique with mustard greens! Thanks for the flavorful recipe.
AntoniaJames September 27, 2012
One of our favorites! I've made this many times since it was first mentioned by Jenny in an early column of hers here. I'm not keen on chilies of any kind, but find that the ground ginger (not an ingredient I'd have thought to use in a recipe like this) gives it a nice kick. I'm making these again tonight! ;o)
jls78 April 9, 2012
The simplicity of the recipe is deceptive. The flavor is so much more interesting than I expected. I would eat these every day if I could!
borntobeworn December 30, 2011
I just made these again tonight but with a generous splash of honey ginger vinegar - wow, adds a little sweetness to the ginger bite. Love these and make them about once/week!
dgourmet December 17, 2011
Great recipe! It is delicious, well-written, and straightforward to make. Thanks.

Have you ever tried it with the Chinese long green beans? I will try that version next.
recipegal December 12, 2011
Sounds delicious...I might add a couple of tsp. of sesame oil.
mtlabor December 11, 2011
Definitely some awesome ideas coming through! Glad you guys like this one =)