Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tarragon

green bean 1
Last weekend we had our first taste of Thanksgiving turkey and gravy. My sister Laurel and brother-in-law Joe hosted an early Thanksgiving dinner at their house because they’ll be out of town on Thanksgiving Day. Fourteen of my Northern California family members assembled for a feast complete with all the works: deep-fried turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, stuffing, green salad, corn, homemade rolls, cranberry sauce and these Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tarragon.

I had been planning to prepare the green beans simply—steamed—in order to balance all the other rich side dishes of our feast. When I saw the recipe for Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tarragon in the Thanksgiving feature in Everyday Food magazine, I changed my mind.

green bean 2

The caramelized onions and fresh tarragon dress up steamed green beans just enough to say “it’s a holiday!” I would have never thought to pair tarragon with green beans, but the licorice flavor of the tarragon complemented the sweetness of the onions and crisp, grassiness of the green beans really well. They were a big hit at our early Thanksgiving dinner, and now unfortunately I face a dilemma—are these green beans really just a special occasion food or can I have these every day? I’m going to take my cue from the magazine’s title and say they’re perfectly acceptable for an everyday dinner.

Recipe adapted from Everyday Food magazine, November 2011.

Serves 8.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sweet onions, such as Vidalia or Walla Walla (1¼ lbs.), thinly sliced
coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Make the Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tarragon

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Add the onions, stir to coat with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir the onions frequently and cook until they soften and caramelize, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, steam the green beans in a large pot: fill the pot with ½ inch of water, place green beans in pot, cover and cook for 7-10 minutes, until green beans are crisp-tender and still bright green. If in doubt, remove the green beans from the stove on the early side; the residual heat will continue cooking the green beans once they are removed from the stove. Drain green beans.

Mix the tarragon into the caramelized onions. Arrange the green beans on a platter and top with the caramelized onions.

4 Thoughts on “Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tarragon

  1. These look delicious!! I’ve been looking for an alternative to the traditional green bean casserole for our Thanksgiving and these fit the bill! Thank-you! I wish you and Sam could be here with us to eat some turkey next week. :)

    • Oh good! I’m so glad this recipe will fill a need on your Thanksgiving menu. :) I wish we could join you too! In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving with you! How is that possible?!

  2. Erica renee on November 20, 2011 at 10:06 AM said:

    I just saw Martha Stewart make these on her show and thought they looked delicious… Glad I got the confirmation! :) I love green beans! Happy thanksgiving!

    • No way! That’s cool she made them on her show. :) They are super delicious! Let me know if you make them and if you like them! Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

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