green beans feta balsamic vinegar

Green beans with feta and balsamic vinegar

26 August 2010

This is my favorite way to cook green beans and a good illustration of my cooking philosophy – fresh ingredients, simple preparations, clean flavors. I also have a feta fetish. I just love this combination of crisp green beans with soft salty feta and sweet drops of balsamic vinegar.

Start with fresh snappy green beans.

Add to hot pan with a slick of olive oil (get ready for water popping firecracker sounds).

Give beans a few quick turns to distribute oil (or shake pan; cast iron too heavy for that method).

Cover – this will allow the water to cook off without splattering your whole stovetop and also trap vapor in the pan to add steam to the cooking. Turn down heat.

When popping sounds subside, uncover and turn beans again. They should have a nice coat of olive oil and be turning bright green.

Add a bit of water to pan and cover again. In a minute, take cover off, turn and taste. Repeat you have particularly thick beans or if you prefer a more tender bite. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove to platter. Resist the temptation to eat them all as is (though they are delicious).

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – though I’m using my balsamic vinaigrette in the picture. I make a jar at a time and keep in the fridge, and you can see it’s still a bit chunky from the cold hardened olive oil. I wrote the recipe for oilve oil and balsamic vinegar, which is how I always made it until I started to make vinaigrette in batches (I’m also a salad fanatic). This recipe uses so little vinaigrette it isn’t worth the time to mix it just for the green beans, but I’ll post the recipe soon because it is so easy to make and useful to have on hand.

Top with crumbled feta. Halved grape tomatoes are also delicious and pretty on top with the feta. This dish is great hot or room temperature if you want to make it ahead.

Green beans with feta and balsamic vinegar
I never get tired of this combination of fresh snappy green beans with soft salty feta and sweet tangy balsamic vinegar.


  • Green beans
  • Olive oil
  • Water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Feta cheese


  1. Snap ends off green beans. Wash and let dry in colander.
  2. Heat a skillet large enough to hold the beans comfortably (or cook in batches). Add olive oil to glaze the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add green beans to skillet. Be prepared for a lot of noise, as water from the green beans will pop in the oil.
  4. Use long tongs to give the green beans a quick turn in the skillet before covering the pan (this will allow the water to cook off without splattering your whole stovetop and also trap vapor in the pan to add steam to the cooking). You can also turn the beans by shaking the skillet, but I use cast iron, which is too heavy for this method.
  5. Turn the temperature down to medium low.
  6. When the popping has subsided, take the cover off and turn the beans again. They should have a nice coat of olive oil and be turning bright green.
  7. Add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover, leaving the lid very slightly ajar for steam release. If the water doesn’t sizzle as soon as you pour it in, raise the heat a bit. This will give an additional steam cook for the beans. The amount of water and time of cooking now depends on the thickness of the beans and how well you like them cooked (though cooking much longer than crisp-tender will result in a duller color).
  8. In a minute, take the cover off, turn the beans and taste one. If it is done to your liking but there is still water in the pan, raise the heat to cook the water out quickly, turning the beans to release the steam. Otherwise, cover and cook another minute. Add a bit more water and repeat if required.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste. Turn beans over with tongs to distribute evenly.
  10. Remove beans to platter.
  11. Drizzle with olive oil and a spoonful or two of balsamic vinegar, to taste.
  12. Sprinkle with crumbled feta.
  13. Serve hot or make ahead and serve at room temperature.
  14. Here’s a link to print the recipe:

    Green beans with feta and balsamic vinegar recipe for printing

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Fiona R 12 July 2012 at 8:45 am

This looks awesome. Know what else looks awesome? That picture of lasagna in the background….YUM. Recipe, please??? (how greedy, I know) 😉


cg 31 August 2012 at 12:59 am

hi fiona r – lasagna! i actually started a post for that ages ago but never finished (story of my life!). i think i kind of figured it wasn’t that different from anyone else’s lasagna recipe out there. but i’ll post it if you want it! thanks so much for commenting. =)


Desiree 30 October 2012 at 1:04 pm

Grateful I stumbled on your site. It is awesome! I never had the privlege of meeting my Filipino ancestors, so hearing about Chinese grandma warmed my heart. Thanks for sharing. Do you know what is yummy with those green beans w feta and balsamic vinegarette? Cranberries and walnuts!


cg 1 November 2012 at 5:46 pm

hi desiree – i am grateful you came by! i love the idea of cranberries and walnuts with green beans and feta. thanks for sharing. =)


mary 23 November 2016 at 8:38 am

this is an amazing recipe, thank you for sharing!


Leave a Comment

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: