Bebe’s Green Beans

Southern Kitchen
Southern Kitchen
Green Beans.

About the recipe

Anne Byrn’s method for cooking green beans comes from her mother, who developed the technique out of creativity and the need to put something healthier on the dinner table. The uncanny mix of olive oil, onion, brown sugar, salt and pepper gets magically smoky, and seasons the beans in a most satisfying way. You can take a similar approach to cooking fresh carrots. Peel and slice them into matchsticks, and place them in a saucepan with only enough water to cover, then season with single pinches of salt, sugar and butter. Cover and steam until just tender.

This recipe was originally published as part of the Anne Bryn story Taste of a Place: Modern ways to cook Southern veggies.

Serves: 6

Hands On Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Snap the trimmed green beans in half and place in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover the beans only halfway. Add the onion, olive oil, brown sugar, and about 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the beans are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste one of the beans to test for doneness. If you like beans cooked a little longer, continue to simmer until they are your desired doneness.

Drain most, but not all, of the water from the pan. Season again with salt and pepper. Serve, or let cool and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Photo Credit: Danielle Atkins