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November 16, 2023

Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter

Bursting with the flavors of the season, this brown butter-drizzled fresh green bean recipe is just the textural, verdant, visual lift that your Thanksgiving menu needs.


Homemade Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter on a serving plate with a serving fork

A Unique Green Bean Recipe To Jazz Up Your Holidays

While we adore good old fashioned green bean casserole, we also appreciate the chance to mix things up a bit. If there can be a dish on the table on Thanksgiving that celebrates the flavors of autumn in a fresh, exciting way, well, that makes our food-loving hearts sing! This lovely, seasonal green bean recipe gives fresh green beans the sage butter treatment—one of our favorite, easy tricks for making things taste like fall is the simple, classic combination of brown butter and sage. Add a crisp, sweet apple to the mix, along with toasted pecans and you’ve basically got all of the nutty, warm, cozy flavors of autumn right there in one beautiful, fresh, veggie side dish. The bright green beans—crisp and tender from a quick sauté—are as pleasing to look at as they are good to eat! A visual lift amidst a sea of browns and beiges on Thanksgiving, and a welcome side dish for almost any cold-weather meal. While this sautéed green bean recipes isn’t something you can make ahead, it is super ultra quick to make and requires no oven time at all, so if you’re making it on Thanksgiving, you can easily whip it up while the turkey rests—it’ll be a welcome burst of freshness and color on the biggest feasting day of the year.

fresh green beans, sliced apples, butter, pecans, salt, pepper and sage leaves in bowls on the counter

Simple, Seasonal Ingredients Make These Green Beans Shine

You’ll notice that we call for two kinds of salt in this green bean recipe—kosher salt for sautéing and then flaky salt to finish. When we say flaky salt, we mean finishing salt. Also sometimes called “flake salt”. There are many kinds out there and it can be fun to find one or two that you really love (they also make nice little holiday gifts for the food lovers in your life). We love this brand and this brand.

  • Green beans. Fresh! This recipe is all about the crisp texture, snap and sweet verdant flavor of fresh green beans.

  • Pecans

  • Apple. You’ll just need one, and it can be most any kind of apple that you love to eat. Think crisp, sweet, a bit tart. A honeycrisp is always a good bet.

  • Salted butter.

  • Sage. Fresh sage! You can find it at the farmers market this time of year, or in the produce section at the grocery store.

  • Salt—kosher and flaky salt.

a bowl of fresh green beans

How To Prep Green Beans

Prepping the green beans ahead of time is a great way to save a little time—essential on turkey day, and useful just about anytime.

  • Trim! Trim the tips off the green beans with a knife, or you can snap them off with your hands, if you have a little more time and want to do a little meditative kitchen task (we can’t be the only ones who enjoy those, right?)

  • Wash. Rinse the green beans!

  • Blanch. We blanch the green beans before sautéing so that they’re perfectly crisp-tender and ready to absorb the lovely brown butter, sage and toasty pecan flavors that we’re going to throw at them. Blanching brightens them up and softens the green beans, too, but it is not boiling them to death. You’ll drop them in boiling water and pull them out after no more than five minutes (and they’ll likely be ready after 3-4 minutes!). Once you’ve trimmed, washed and blanched the green beans, you could store them in the fridge for up to a day if you’d like to do that part ahead of time. Then simply bring them back to room temperature when you’re ready to make the dish. Make the sage brown butter and finish the dish!

melted butter and sage leaves in a skillet
browned butter and sage leaves in a skillet

How to Cook Green Beans with Sage Butter

Yes, you can make a last-minute sautéed veggie dish on the busiest cooking day of the year. And yes, you want to do it! These green beans deliver the freshness you crave amidst all that beige, baked richness, but are still right on trend for the holidays thanks to a rather generous amount of brown butter drizzled on top. Here’s how to make this fast green bean recipe:

  1. Prep the green beans. You can do this a day ahead of time, if you’re in a pinch.

  2. Toast the pecans.

  3. Make brown butter infused with sage. Brown butter is simply butter that you almost burn. Keyword here is almost! It is easy to overcook it, so just keep a close eye on that pan. Move the pan around as you brown the butter to keep the butter moving and prevent scorching. When it looks light brown and starts to smell amazingly nutty, pull it from the heat.

  4. Toss it all together! Green beans, apples and pecans all get a nice coating of sage-brown butter before a little dusting of flake salt and black pepper (to taste) finishes the job and....

  5. The best green beans you’ve ever had are done!

Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter in a skillet

Tools You’ll Need

The 5 Best Green Bean Recipes Ever

Turns out, we love green bean recipes! Who knew?? Here are five of our favorites:

Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter on a serving plate

Apples and Sage Butter Make for the Best, Simple Green Bean Recipe Ever

We’re really into this speedy holiday side dish recipe. What can we say? We love a little freshness. We hope you love it, too! If you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 229


  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 lb green beans trimmed
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1 large firm sweet apple, like Honeycrisp or Fuji, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 4 Oz (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 8 tbsp
  • 1 bunch sage leaves, about 20
  • Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water (3 quarts) seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and blanch until bright green and nearly softened, about 3-5 minutes total.

  2. Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a dry medium-large skillet over medium heat until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a small bowl.

  3. Add the butter to the skillet, once the butter is melted (this will happen quickly in an already hot skillet) add the sage leaves, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sage leaves are beginning to crisp and the butter begins to brown. Remove from heat.

  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sage leaves to a plate and use for garnish if desired. Place the skillet back over low heat, add the green beans, apples and pecans to the brown butter in the pan and toss to coat, until the green beans are tender and the apples are warmed through, about 4 minutes.

  5. Season with flaky salt and black pepper. Serve warm.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories229
  • Protein3 g
  • Carbohydrates8 g
  • Total Fat22 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol30 mg
  • sodium1014 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Green Beans with Apples and Sage Butter

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Ana

    I know you emphasis fresh sage, but is it possible to make with crushed sage? And will it be okay if we have to omit it all together?

    We haven't tested this but you could use 1/2 teaspoon crushed or ground sage instead. Hope you enjoy Ana!

  • Ka

    Can I use Olive Oil instead of Butter?

    In the recipe, we brown the butter, which you can't do with olive oil (it'll just scorch). However! You could try the recipe with olive oil and skip the browning step! It'd be different, but perhaps delicious!

  • Jan

    Served at a dinner party and guests couldn’t stop talking about these green beans. They’ll be on the thanksgiving menu!

    Thanks Jan, so happy they were a hit and that they'll be part of your holiday!

  • keekrock

    This recipe had such a delicious flavor and really did come together in the last few minutes of getting dinner on the table. I wish we had blanched the green beans for fewer than 5 minutes, as they were not tender-crisp by the time they finished sautéing in the sage butter. But the recipe was a hit--no leftovers!

    Love this Christa!! So happy it was a hit! Thanks for trying it out!