I love green beans. I do not love green beans with bacon. I do appreciate the pairing, though – smoky crunchy deliciousness with tender-crisp sauteed green beans. I definitely get it. I just don’t eat bacon, being a vegetarian and all that.
So I thought that this year, I’d see about creating a baconless sauteed green bean recipe that mimics that classic pairing: Sautéed Green Beans with Smoky Shallots.
Shallots, my friends. They look like little red onions with pointy hats. And they’re the key to smoky goodness in this classic holiday side.
So what do you do with said shallots? Slice them up and fry them and season them, that’s what! I use coconut oil because it has a high smoke point and somewhat neutral taste – the bit of coconut that comes through only enhances the flavor of this dish, I think. Vegetable oil or canola oil would work, too.
And then I season them with smoked paprika. Smoked paprika is quite possibly the best thing in the spice cupboard – it lends a smoky, bacon-y taste without the meat (or fat). Smoked paprika is my homeboy, is basically what I’m trying to say.
Some of the shallots get nice and crisp if you cook them long enough (just don’t burn them!). So – shallots cooked crisp + smoked paprika = almost bacony goodness without the bacon. I’m down.
Give those green beans a super-quick saute and top them with the smoky shallot crisps and most everyone will forget about bacon. Oh, who am I kidding? No one will forget bacon. But, for this one meal, I uphold that the carnivores – along with vegetarians and vegans – won’t care about it at all.
I like to trim and blanch the beans a day ahead of time. I just store the blanched beans in an airtight container or bag in the fridge, then bring them back out when it’s time to saute them shortly before serving.
Sautéed Green Beans with Smoky Shallots
- 2 pounds fresh green beans (ends trimmed)
- 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons coconut oil* (divided (can also use vegetable oil or canola oil))
- 2 pounds shallots (peeled and sliced thin)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for one minute. Lift the beans out of the water and plunge them into a bowl of ice water to cool and stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
- Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil. When melted and shimmering-hot, add shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir and cook until the shallots are well-browned, 2-4 additional minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain the excess oil. Set aside.
- Allow the saute pan to cool enough so you can wipe out the excess oil. Return to the stove over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons coconut oil. When hot, add the blanched green beans, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1-2 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired. Transfer to a platter and top with smoky shallots. Serve.