Have you had Chinese spicy green beans, where they cook the beans with marinated ground meat and chili bean sauce? That thing is delicious! Since that’s one of my all-time favorite vegetable dishes, my mom tried to teach me how to cook it a few years ago. By teaching me, I mean she made me watch her in action in the kitchen.

Holy moly! You need a lot of oil for that dish, like A LOT. The oil needs to be extremely hot as well. It’s almost like deep frying beans instead of sautéing. According to mom, whether this dish is successful or not all depends on how you fry the beans. Apparently, it needs to reach to the point where the skin of the beans is wrinkled; the beans are slightly withered; somehow still keep the color of the beans fresh green, and they should taste tender and crisp at the same time…

I’d be honest with you. I had never got that right. I feel like that’s one of the hardcore things that only chefs in restaurants can do. With an electric stove, I’d rather play safe.

Not long before, I was introduced to a different way of cooking green beans that keeps pretty much all the cool features mentioned above except the wrinkles. I was like “Ah Ha! I got you!”

Here’s how. You boil the beans first and then sauté, bake, or add flavor as is. It’s that simple. Until I find a better way, I am going to stick with this method, which brings me to today’s recipe.

This gluten-free green bean recipe is a great option as your everyday vegetable dish. Also, instead of a traditional green bean casserole, why not try this lighter and healthier version for your Thanksgiving dinner?

This dish has got perfectly cooked green beans. Toasted almonds add a little nutty flavor to the freshness. Of course, there’s garlic, the only thing that works well with all green vegetables. Then, we top it with lemon zest to give it an even more refreshing taste and a little bright color. Oh, I almost forget to mention. Try adding a dash of red pepper flakes. It’s not going to be overwhelming. Just a little kick every time you take a bite, but it dies down as you enjoy. 🙂

If you like this recipe, leave a comment, tag @streetsmartkitchen on Instagram with your photo, or share the recipe with anyone who you think might enjoy it. Happy cooking as always!

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Zesty Garlic Almond Green Beans

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  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Gluten Free, Vegan Friendly
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Chinese
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Perfectly cooked green beans with toasted almond in garlic butter and topped with lemon zest.


  • 1 lb. green beans, ends trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons butter (sub with Coconut oil if vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons silvered almonds
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Blanch green beans in a medium saucepan of salted boiling water until bright green in color and tender-crisp, roughly 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Toast almonds in butter, until slightly golden.
  3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the beans and stir until coated in the butter and heated through.
  5. Sprinkle with lemon zest and season with salt and pepper.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 135
  • Sugar: 1.9g
  • Sodium: 48mg
  • Fat: 9.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.9g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.4g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 3.8g
  • Cholesterol: 15mg

About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of the Complete Sous Vide Cookbook. She believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she aims to make meal prep easier than ever and help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.