Bring a unique Japanese flair to your Thanksgiving spread with this Green Beans with Yuzu Vinaigrette. It’s refreshingly good and complements beautifully with all the classic oven roast dishes.
Green beans are the classic side to grace the holiday table, but if you’re looking for a lighter, fresher version to balance out all the rich food, this Green Beans with Yuzu Vinaigrette (インゲンの柚子和え) is the one you’ll need to try.
I put a simple Japanese spin on the dish to give it a bright contrast to the heavier Thanksgiving stalwarts. Here, the green beans are cooked quickly, so they still taste fresh and perfectly tender with a light crunch. Then I toss them in the yuzu vinaigrette to give everything a lovely citrusy zing.
Not only it’s healthy, but this green bean side dish also lives up to the task of a special holiday meal.
Why You’ll Love Green Beans with Yuzu Vinaigrette
- Super easy and fast to make.
- Refreshing among all the heavy foods.
- Easily make ahead (even a few days before!).
- The quick cooking helps to retain the nutrients and vitamins of the green beans.
- A simple touch of Japanese flavor makes the side dish shines.
5 Simple Ingredients You’ll Need
- Green beans (I use French green beans or Haricot Verts)
- Yuzu juice and zest (or any citrus of your choice)
- Dijon mustard
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
This dish is so simple! Blanch green beans and toss with yuzu vinaigrette. To make the vinaigrette, simply combine yuzu juice and zest with olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. It is so simple and appetizing and goes well with all sorts of blanched vegetables or green salads.
Yuzu is one of the Japanese beloved citrus fruit that looks very similar to lemons. It has a tart but incredibly amazing aroma. Some say it has a hybrid taste of lime, lemon, grapefruit, and sour mandarin. That means if you’re a fan of citrus fruits, you’re going to be blown away by the exceptional flavors of yuzu.
I love using yuzu because of its one-of-a-kind fragrance and it makes a delightful flavoring in all sorts of sweet and savory dishes. Yuzu is in season during the winter, so it is perfect for holiday dishes like these green beans.
If you can also buy a bottle of yuzu extract at a Japanese grocery store or Amazon.
Substitution for Yuzu
If you can’t find yuzu, you can use whatever citrus fruits you may have in the kitchen to create a unique mix of juice base.
- Lemon (I actually make this dish with lemon all year round)
- A mix of lemon and lime
- Meyer lemon (my second favorite citrus after yuzu)
For this recipe, I used a combination of yuzu extract from the bottle and lemon zest.
3 Important Tips to Remember
Keep your stress low this holiday season with this inventive yet simple green bean side! Here are the quick tips:
- Blanch the green beans until tender-crisp. This is how you preserve all its healthy goodness, so don’t overcook it!
- Once they are cooked, quickly shock the green beans in ice water to preserve the bright color.
- Mix the vinaigrette vigorously for 30 seconds in a bowl with a wire whisk or in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
If you’re looking for healthy side dishes this Thanksgiving, give this green bean recipe a try. You’ll love it!
Wish to learn more about Japanese cooking? Sign up for our free newsletter to receive cooking tips & recipe updates! And stay in touch with me on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram.
Green Beans with Yuzu Vinaigrette
- 1 lb French green beans (haricot vert) (trimmed)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt) (for blanching)
- 2 Tbsp yuzu juice (extract) (use any citrus of your choice: lemon, orange, Meyer lemon, grapefruit, or the mix of citrus)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp yuzu zest (use zest from your citrus; here, I use zest from about ½ lemon, for flavor and garnish)
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- freshly ground black pepper
- Gather all the ingredients. If your green beans are not trimmed, snap the tip of one end of the bean with your fingers and draw it down the length of one side of the bean to remove any possible string. Do the same thing with the other end, pulling it down the other side of the bean.
To Prepare Green Beans
- Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Bring a large pot of water (3 QT) to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is at a rolling boil, add 1 tsp salt, then green beans.
- Cook until beans are just tender, 3 minutes for French green beans; 4 to 5 minutes for regular green beans. Taste test for doneness. They are done when they are just cooked through but still have the slightest crunch of texture. Drain the green beans immediately.
- Transfer the green beans to the ice-water bath to make them greener and fresher. Drain again and set aside, or, if making in advance, dry them thoroughly with a clean dry towel and refrigerate in an airtight container for a day or two.
To Make the Yuzu Vinaigrette
- In a large bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp olive oil, zest and 2 Tbsp juice from yuzu (or lemon), 1 tsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Toss the green beans with yuzu vinaigrette.
To Serve and Store
- Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with more zest, and serve immediately. You can keep the leftover in an airtight container for 3 days.