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Pesto Green Beans

November 16, 2023

Simple blanched green beans (the hands-down best way to cook fresh green beans, BTW) are a perfect partner for fresh pesto in this easy, breezy summer side dish recipe.


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green beans with pesto and pine nuts

The Very Best Way to Cook Green Beans

Pesto green beans—it’s both a recipe title AND (basically) your shopping list for this ultra-easy fresh green bean recipe. The sweetness and lovely crunch of fresh green beans is highlighted and enhanced (rather than covered up) by the verdant, garlicky pesto, making this easy summer side a truly heavenly dish. When it comes to what to add to green beans, people are of many different minds. Some people love a simple topping of butter and salt, or they rely on a classic Green Bean Casserole. But when basil is fresh and green beans are abundant, this pesto green beans recipe is unbeatable.

fresh green beans, pesto, butter, basil and pine nuts

Pesto Green Beans—Two Wonderful Things in One Dish!

Garlicky fresh pesto—homemade or store-bought—has so much flavor, it’s all you really need to make fresh, blanched green beans absolutely dazzle. Blanching lets the green beans keep their satisfying snap, and turns their already-lovely green color all the way to 11. A bit of butter (because we can) and a few extra pine nuts to finish (again, because we can) add a hint of richness that’ll really keep people coming back for more. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this fresh green bean recipe:

  • Green beans

  • Fresh pesto (here’s our pesto recipe, if you’d like to make it yourself!)

  • Butter

  • Pine nuts

blanched green beans in a colander
pine nuts and butter cooking in a skillet
pine nuts, butter and pesto cooking in a skillet
pine nuts, pesto, butter and green beans cooking in a skillet

What Are the Health Benefits of Green Beans?

Like all green veggies, green beans are incredibly nutritious. Low in calories and high in fiber, they’re great for making you feel full as well as generally supporting digestive health. All that soluble fiber is heart-healthy, too, as it seems that it may help to lower “bad” cholesterol. Green beans are also full of antioxidants like vitamin C and they’re a good source of folate, a B vitamin, which is especially essential for pregnant and nursing women. So basically, the list of reasons to eat green beans—aside from their irresistible sweetness and crunch—is long!

pesto green beans in a skillet

How to Cook Green Beans

Blanching is our favorite way to cook green beans, especially during green bean season (AKA summer) when they’re really peaking in the garden and at the markets. Cooking green beans in this simple way preserves all of their goodness! Blanched green beans get nice and tender, but they retain a good amount of bite and all of their earthy, vegetal sweetness. Here’s how to prep and blanch green beans to make the very best, healthy summer side dish we know of:

  1. Prep your fresh green beans. When we say “washed and trimmed” in the recipe, we mean that you’ve given them a quick rinse (you should always rinse your produce! But you know that, right?) and you’ve snapped (or cut) off the stem-end of the green bean.

  2. Drop the prepped green beans in salted, boiling water and blanch them! Depending on the size and shape of your green beans, blanching cook times can vary a bit. Start tasting the beans at 3.5 minutes, and don’t go past about 5 minutes in the boiling water. You want a bright, brilliant green color and a nice, tender snap. As soon as you get that, kill the heat and drain the beans. You can even run them under cold water to really stop the cooking.

  3. Make the green beans pesto-y! Toast the pine nuts in a bit of butter, add some fresh basil pesto and the green beans and stir it all together until it’s just warmed through (it doesn’t need to be hot and you don’t want to risk overcooking the green beans.

  4. Serve! Top with more pesto and a sprinkle of salt if you’d like!

pesto green beans with pine nuts on a plate

More Fabulous Green Bean Recipes (Aka What to Do if You Have Too Many Green Beans!)

Tools You’ll Need:

pesto green beans with pine nuts on a plate
green beans with pesto and pine nuts

Pesto Green Beans All Summer Long

Healthy, speedy and yummy, pesto green beans are an easy go-to side dish for almost any meal! Grilled steak? Check. Baked salmon? Yup. Burgers? Why not? They’re super versatile, and they’re really popular with almost everyone. If you try this green bean recipe, 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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Pesto Green Beans

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  15 min
  • Calories: 197


  • 1 ½ lbs green beans, washed and trimmed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup pesto (homemade or store bought)
  • Flakey salt for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of water, along with the salt, to a rapid boil. Add in green beans and allow to cook for 5 minutes, until bright green and tender. Transfer to a colander and allow to cool.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in pine nuts and allow to cook, stirring often until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Add in ¼ cup pesto and stir until incorporated. Add green beans to the skillet and toss until coated and warmed through, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a large plate, top with remaining pesto and flakey salt. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories197
  • Protein4 g
  • Carbohydrates10 g
  • Total Fat16 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol15 mg
  • sodium548 mg
  • Total Sugars3 g

Pesto Green Beans

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Kelly

    Pine nuts are so expensive right now would you substitute with hazelnuts or walnuts?

    slivered almonds would be nice or walnuts could do the trick.

  • Jenn

    These were SOOOO delicious. The best green beans I've ever had.

    Thanks Jenn, we are so happy you loved them!