Sliced green bean and ground turkey stir fry

When you have older, thicker string beans, this slicing method is the way to go. A little extra prep work, but the sliced beans are quick to cook and have loads of surface area to absorb flavor. My mom makes the green beans as a vegetarian side dish, but if you add a bit of meat it’s also a fantastic one-dish meal.


  • 1/2 pound ground turkey (or pork)
  • 1 pound green beans
  • Cooking oil (avocado is my favorite)
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 scallion, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 teaspoons butter (optional)
  • Dash sesame oil (optional)


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry (or sake, or white wine)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry sherry (or sake, or white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (white or rice vinegar also fine)
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced (optional)
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)


  1. Rinse green beans in a colander and let dry.
  2. Add ground meat to a bowl. Mix in soy sauce, sherry and garlic and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  3. In small bowl, mix sauce ingredients (add optional ginger and/or red pepper if desired). Stir well, pressing out any lumps of cornstarch, and set aside.
  4. Slice string beans on a cutting board, discarding ends and slicing in thin (1/8″) slices at a steep diagonal.
  5. Heat two tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add scallions to oil and stir, then add green beans. Stir and cover skillet. Cook covered for a few minutes, uncovering periodically to stir. Drop the heat a bit if they are browning too quickly. Green beans turn from bright green to darker as they cook. Young beans can be cooked to crisp-tender; mature beans may need more time to lose their toughness.
  6. When green beans are just short of the desired tenderness, add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and stir to distribute. Taste and add more soy sauce to give a lightly salty, savory flavor. Add in a pat of butter to finish (I say optional but my mom says do it). Remove from pan. (Stop and serve here for a great side dish without meat.)
  7. Put empty skillet back on medium heat, add a tablespoon of cooking oil and add marinated ground meat. Use a metal spatula to break up and stir the meat as it cooks.
  8. When the meat is fully cooked (no longer pink), add the string beans to the pan. Before adding the prepared sauce to the skillet, give it a final stir to mix in the cornstarch that settles at the bottom. Stir well to coat the meat and string beans in the sauce. Finish with a dash of sesame oil if desired. Remove to a dish and serve with rice.


  • This stir fry is endlessly versatile. Use the meat with any other sauteed vegetables, or the string beans make a great side dish on their own (no sauce needed).
  • If you have young, tender green beans, you can skip the slicing and cook them whole (see my chicken and green bean stir fry), then add the ground meat as directed.
  • It takes me about 15 minutes to slice a pound of green beans, and I’m slow.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.