Walnut and Bacon Studded Green Beans

I thought it might be fun to use this month’s recipe posts to suggest some healthy Thanksgiving side dishes. Many of you will be invited to big events with family or friends in a few weeks and asked to bring a dish to share. Almost always, the famous “Green Bean Casserole” will make an appearance -in fact, for lots of people, it’s the very definition of Thanksgiving! The casserole is traditionally made with canned green beans swimming in cream of mushroom soup, and topped with French’s Fried Onions.

My philosophy around holiday eating is generally this: eat the foods that make the holiday special for you and skip the others. If you dream all year of green bean casserole, then by all means have it. But if you are looking for a lighter and fresher alternative for your Thanksgiving table, I offer you this.

Still flavorful and dressed up for the holidays, this green bean dish is enhanced with chopped walnuts and turkey bacon as well as some slivered red pepper. It feels special and indulgent but it’s lighter than the old standby.

Note: You can certainly steam the beans rather than boiling and blanching if you’d prefer.

Be sure to let me know what you think if this makes its way to your Thanksgiving table!


Walnut Studded Green Beans


Serves: 6 (easily doubled or tripled if needed)



1/2 cup large walnut pieces

1 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and halved

3 cloves garlic, minced



2 teaspoons olive oil

5 slices turkey bacon, cooked crisp and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 thinly sliced red pepper



1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

2. While nuts are toasting, bring 6 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add beans and boil for 3-4 minutes, or until beans are tender crisp.

3. While beans are cooking, prepare an ice bath by filling a medium bowl with ice water.

4. Drain beans quickly and place in prepared ice bath. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.

5. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bacon, red pepper, green beans, and walnuts. Cook stirring for 2-3 minutes, or until beans are heated through and red pepper is slightly wilted.

6. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.


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