11 Healthy Green Bean Recipes for Thanksgiving

When the holiday season rolls around, you might have two thoughts—the food is going to be incredible, but it may also conflict with your dietary restrictions or preferences related to allergies, lifestyle choices, or even weight loss. Thus it may seem you only have the choices of indulging in everything your stomach desires or missing out on a once-a-year opportunity to enjoy a special holiday dinner. 

To settle your worries and make sure you enjoy your Thanksgiving, we recommend practicing moderation during the holidays or incorporating recipes that are filled with the flavors you love with healthier ingredients.

These 11 healthy green bean recipes for Thanksgiving will satisfy your taste buds and dietary requirements during the holiday season.

Green Beans With Shallots and Pancetta

If you’re looking for a nutritious green bean recipe for Thanksgiving that comes together in just a few minutes, try these green beans with shallots and pancetta from Simply Recipes. You’ll only need six simple ingredients: green beans, shallots, pancetta, butter, salt, and pepper. Substitute the shallots and pancetta for onions and bacon, respectively, if that’s all you have on hand.

Adding shallots and pancetta makes the dish feel extra festive for the holidays compared to green beans you prepare throughout the week.

French Green Beans With Butter and Herbs

Nothing screams Thanksgiving side dish like green beans cooked in butter and seasoned with herbs. This recipe for French green beans with butter and herbs from Simply Recipes calls for 3 tablespoons of butter for 1 pound of green beans, so it’s lower in fat than other green bean recipes. 

Fresh herbs like thyme, parsley, and basil elevate this classic Thanksgiving side dish. Since green beans can be mild in flavor, these seasonings make this nutritious Thanksgiving recipe earn its spot on the holiday dinner menu.

If you’ve never blanched green beans before, this recipe is a great way to learn a new cooking skill. To blanch the veggies, simply boil them for 2 minutes before plunging them into cold water. Then, sauté the onions, add the green beans, and season to taste.

Gluten-Free Green Bean Casserole

A green bean casserole is a must for Thanksgiving dinner. This gluten-free green bean casserole from Serious Eats is perfect for people with allergies or who follow a gluten-free diet by choice. The casserole consists of a base of creamy green beans flavored with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and Parmesan cheese and topped with crispy fried onions.

Even friends and family who do not have gluten restrictions will enjoy this casserole. Plus, it freezes well, so you can prepare ahead of time to make Thanksgiving dinner come together quicker.

Heart Healthy Three Bean Salad

Freshen up a steamy, aromatic Thanksgiving plate with this heart healthy three bean salad from Verywell Fit. If you serve your holiday dinners in courses, this chilled bean salad makes for a perfect appetizer or starter before the main course.

Legumes like green beans, northern white beans, and navy beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Your Thanksgiving dinner is likely to be high in protein, but the additional fiber in this three bean salad will help bulk up the meal. If you’re vegan or expecting vegan guests this holiday season, they will appreciate this vegan-friendly Thanksgiving side dish.

Haricots Verts With Sauce Ravigote

Many Thanksgiving side dishes have a vegetable base. This green bean recipe for Thanksgiving stands apart from the rest of the side dishes due to its special sauce. It’s also vegan-friendly.

To make these Haricots Verts with sauce ravigote from Serious Eats, you’ll need to steam the green beans then cook them in a ravigote sauce. To make the sauce, whisk together dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, shallots, olive oil, capers, and parsley. This dish only takes 15 minutes to prepare, but your guests will assume more effort went into making this impressive green bean recipe.

Green Bean Salad With Basil, Balsamic, and Parmesan

Veggies flavored with balsamic vinegar are an easy, delicious, lightened-up option for Thanksgiving side dishes. This green bean salad with basil, balsamic, and Parmesan from Simply Recipes is a good option to bring to family dinners that are potluck style. 

Many healthy green bean recipes for Thanksgiving follow a similar method to prepare the green beans. First, blanch the green beans to prevent them from overcooking. Then, prepare the dressing. Finally, toss everything in a large mixing bowl. This one is perfect for beginners. Plus, balsamic vinegar and Parmesan cheese are a flavor combination that everyone will love.

Garlicky Oven-Roasted Green Bean Salad With Hazelnuts and Blue Cheese

This garlicky oven-roasted green bean salad with hazelnuts and blue cheess from Serious Eats is a unique green bean recipe for Thanksgiving due to its special ingredient—wax beans. Wax beans are pale yellow in color with a similar mild flavor to green beans.

Since this is a roasted green bean recipe, it comes together quickly. It’s also a recipe you can set and forget. Once your green beans and wax beans are rinsed with the ends chopped off, place them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, vinegar, and garlic, and roast until they are tender. When they’re done roasting, toss them with hazelnuts and blue cheese.

Roasted Green Beans With Onions and Walnuts

This roasted green beans with onions and walnuts recipe from Simply Recipes contains several ingredients that are sure to evoke that holiday feeling: green beans, walnuts, thyme, balsamic vinegar, honey, and cloves.

It’s a very flavorful dish with its impressive ingredients list, but it only takes 25 minutes to cook. This dish tastes the best when it’s fresh out of the oven, but you can prepare the green beans and dressing ahead of time to make assembly even quicker on Thanksgiving Day.

Sautéed Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Cipollini Onions

Sautéed green beans with mushrooms and caramelized cipollini onions from Serious Eats is a mouthful, literally. Caramelized onions can take any dish to the next level, and it’s fairly simple to do. The button mushrooms also add an extra special element.

Since this nutritious green bean recipe for Thanksgiving is plant-based when you substitute olive oil instead of butter, vegans and vegetarians can enjoy it, too. Though this recipe takes about an hour to prepare, the final result is worth the extra effort.

Haricots Verts Amandine (French-Style Green Beans With Almonds)

If you’ve never thought of adding sliced almonds to your green bean recipes, now is your chance. These Haricots Verts amandine (French-style green beans with almonds) from Serious Eats look and taste like they belong in a French restaurant. The best part is this is a quick and easy recipe that only requires 20 minutes of precious stovetop time on Thanksgiving Day.

To make this recipe, heat some butter, almonds, garlic, shallots, lemon juice, and water in a skillet. This will create a creamy sauce for the green beans. When the sauce is ready, add blanched green beans and stir to combine.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Though green beans are naturally vegan, the butter they are usually cooked in is not. Like traditional green bean casseroles, this vegan green bean casserole from Serious Eats, consists of a creamy green bean base with a crispy fried onion topping.

This recipe is packed with veggies, including green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, onion, and vegetable broth. If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving side dish on the lighter side, this one is nutritious and delicious. It takes about an hour and a half to prepare, but since it’s a casserole, it can be made ahead of time and frozen for later.

A Word From Verywell

Healthy green bean recipes for Thanksgiving don’t have to be drowned in butter, fried in oil, or covered in meat and cheese. If they are, you can certainly enjoy them on special occasions. 

But if you’d like to celebrate the holidays in a healthier way, opt for these healthy green bean recipes instead. They offer all the fall flavors your family is used to with some lighter ingredients. Plus, many of these green beans recipes are allergy-friendly, lower in fat, and higher in fiber than other Thanksgiving side dishes.

Was this page helpful?