Green Beans Gremolata

Green Beans Gremolata is an easy vegetable side dish that’s simple to make and packed with flavour. Made on the stovetop with a handful of ingredients you’ve probably already got on hand, this vegetarian recipe comes together quickly and can be made at the last minute or served at room temperature.

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overhead photo of green beans gremolata on a white and blue platter with a small dish of beans to the side

I don’t know how things go in your home, but when it comes to putting on big family dinners at my house there is always a bit of a game of Jenga with getting everything into the oven.

The best strategy for dealing with this, I think, is to have a variety of side dishes that can be made in advance and either re-heated at the last minute or simply served at room temperature. Better yet is to have a couple of dishes in your arsenal that don’t require the oven at all, which is exactly what we’re doing here today.

Green Beans Gremolata is the easy vegetable side dish of your dreams. The ingredients list is short, the flavours are big, and the recipe is incredibly easy to pull together. 

If you’ve been looking for a delicious, bright, green recipe to add to your holiday table, this is the one. It’s the yin to your Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole‘s yang. It’s the Vegan Gravy to your Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes

It goes well with all of those things, ok? Let’s just make some!

What is gremolata?

Excellent question. Gremolata is a chopped herb condiment that’s classically made with lemon zest, parsley, and finely chopped garlic.

Traditional Italian Gremolata is made with just those three ingredients, but today we’re fancying it up with a few other ingredients to add in layers of flavour and texture to our green beans. 

green beans, parsley, parmesan, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper on a white background

What’s in green beans gremolata?

The ingredients list is short and sweet. Here’s what you’ll need for this simple vegetarian side dish:

  • Green beans –> Betcha saw that one coming.
  • Parsley –> Pow! So much bright flavour.
  • Parmesan –> Or another hard cheese of your choice.
  • Sunflower seeds –> We’ll discuss substitutions below.
  • Lemon zest –> To brighten things up.
  • Olive oil –> Don’t mind if I do.
  • Garlic –> I forgot to include the garlic clove in the photo. My bad.
  • Salt and pepper –> The usual support crew. 

Do I need any special equipment for this recipe?

You’ll need a microplane or similar to zest the lemon. You can also use it to finely grate the garlic clove if you don’t have a garlic crusher. 

You’ll need a colander for draining the green beans, and a big, wide skillet (I use this 12-inch All Clad frying pan) for pan-frying them in. 

blanched green beans in a white colander

How do you make Green Beans Gremolata?

Easy peasy, my friends. It all starts with blanching the green beans. 

Step 1: Fill a large bowl with ice water and set to the side.

Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, and then add your trimmed green beans. Set a timer for 3 minutes. 

Step 3: When the timer goes off, immediately drain the beans and then plunge into the waiting ice water to stop the cooking. Once they are cooled, drain well.

Step 4: Use a clean dish towel to pat the beans dry. 

**This blanching step can be done up to one day in advance. Store the cool and dried blanched beans in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. 

blanched green beans drying on a white tea towel

Step 5: Make the gremolata. 

I recommend you start by toasting the sunflower seeds until nutty and fragrant. It’s an optional, but delicious step.

In a small bowl mix the parmesan, minced garlic, lemon zest, chopped parsley, sunflower seeds, salt, and pepper together. 

parmesan, parsley, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, garlic, and salt mixed together in a small bowl

Step 6: Heat the oil in a large, wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans, and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until heated through.

Step 7: Remove the pan from the heat, and add the gremolata. Toss with the beans to ensure they’re well coated.

Step 8: Transfer to a platter and serve!

sautéed green beans in a large skillet topped with gremolata

Can I use a different kind of nut or seed?

For sure. You can replace the toasted sunflower seeds with pine nuts, slivered almonds, chopped, toasted hazelnuts, or toasted pumpkin seeds. All delicious options!

I chose sunflower seeds because they’re generally allergy-friendly, and they’re waaaaaay cheaper than pine nuts. 

Can I use a different kind of cheese?

For sure. Since Parmesan isn’t technically vegetarian, you can choose another vegetarian-friendly hard cheese. 

You can also leave the cheese out altogether if you’d prefer to make a vegan green bean dish. 

Can I make this dish in advance?

You sure can! You have two options for making this in advance:

Option 1: Blanch the beans, make the gremolata, and then sauté the beans and bring everything together at the last minute.

Option 2: Make everything in advance and serve at room temperature or cold. 

I’ve done both and they both work out great. 

overhead photo of green beans gremolata on a white and blue platter

Are green beans healthy?

You bet they are! Green beans are lighter and less carbohydrate dense than their legume cousins, while still providing some of the key nutrients benefits of legumes, like protein and dietary fiber. 

Green beans are also a rich source of chlorophyll, the compound responsible for their green colour, as well as carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene. In terms of vitamins and minerals, green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, folate, and vitamin B2. 

Green beans have also been shown to be a valuable source of the mineral silicon, which provides support for our bones and connective tissue.  

a small white plate with green beans gremolata with a platter of green beans and lemons in the background

Other tasty recipes you might enjoy:

Miso Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Hasselback Butternut Squash
Roasted Romanesco
Stuffed Acorn Squash

green beans gremolata on a white and blue platter topped with lemon halves
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5 from 1 vote

Green Beans Gremolata

Green Beans Gremolata is an easy vegetable side dish that's simple to make and packed with flavour. Made on the stovetop with a handful of ingredients you've probably already got on hand, this vegetarian recipe comes together quickly and can be made at the last minute or served at room temperature.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Green beans, Gremolata
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 86kcal
Author Katie Trant


  • 20 oz green beans trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds toasted
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 clove garlic minced or grated
  • 1 large lemon zested
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Trim the green beans. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set to the side.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt generously, then add the green beans and set a timer for 3 minutes.
  • When the timer goes, immediately drain the beans and plunge into the ice water to stop the cooking.
  • Once the beans are cool, drain in a colander and then pat dry with a clean dish towel.
  • Make the gremolata. In a small bowl combine lemon zest, parsley, garlic, parmesan, and toasted sunflower seeds. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large, wide frying pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the blanched green beans, and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the beans are warmed through.
  • Remove from the heat, add the gremolata, and toss to coat the beans well.
  • Transfer to a serving dish, and serve immediately, at room temperature, or cold.


  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.


Calories: 86kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 54mg | Potassium: 193mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 642IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 1mg


  1. Patti says

    Looking for good green bean recipes for the summer harvest and this recipe is definitely a winner! Thanks!

  2. Elizabeth Hughes says

    A must try. made “Hey Nutrition lady” Christmas morning breakfast strata with kale etc. It was ( note past tense…none left) gorgeous!!! I used baby spinach instead of kale as you suggested would work, and WOW!!!

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