Be Prepared – Lemon-Dill Green Beans

Lemon-Dill Green BeansThe other day, I did something a little crazy… I invited people over for lunch AND dinner on the same day.

Aside from the fact that I had a giant pile of dirty dishes stacked in the sink by the end of the day, it actually went off without a hitch. The key is to keep it simple, do as much as possible ahead of time… and to be willing to admit when it makes more sense to serve something store-bought than make it yourself. :)

For lunch, I quickly popped down to my favourite Greek bakery to pick up some flaky spinach and cheese pies, which I served with a chilled asparagus soup and a simple green salad tossed in roasted hazelnut dressing. To finish, a dessert of blackberry-filled aebelskivers I’d made earlier that morning, lightly dusted with icing sugar. With a pitcher of minted lemonade to round out the meal, no one was any wiser that I’d spent less than an hour on preparations.

As soon as we finished saying our goodbyes to the lunch crowd, I threw a leg of lamb into a simple lemon-and-herb marinade and prepared these super-easy Greek-inspired beans. That left me with plenty of time to tidy up the kitchen and set up the backyard before the next round of visitors arrived, at which point I got The Boy to throw the lamb on the grill, cooked up a simple rice pilaf and distracted our guests with pita, olives and an assortment of dips. See? Easy-peasy.

Green BeansNow, about these beans. I can’t say enough good things about them… They’re super-simple to make, with a prep time of under ten minutes. They’re served at room temperature, which means you can also pack them for a picnic or in your lunch bag for work. But best of all, they’re meant to be prepared in advance, and actually benefit from being made at least a full day ahead of time so that all the flavours in the dish have time to mingle and mellow. Oh, and did I mention that they also taste really, really good?

BTW, the recipe is inspired by one of my favourite dishes at a local restaurant called Mezes, which specialises in their namesake – small plates of hot or cold foods to be nibbled on with drinks, much like tapas. If you’re ever looking for a bite to eat in Toronto’s Greektown, I highly recommend checking them out… and make sure to order the fasolakia lemonata if you do!


Lemon-Dill Green Beans

1 lb green beans, trimmed
2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, very finely minced
1 shallot, finely minced
Salt to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup thinly sliced red pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh dill

In a large pot of boiling salted water, blanch the beans for about 5 minutes, or until just barely tender-crisp. Immediately plunge into an ice-water bath to stop the cooking process, and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and shallots in a small bowl until combined. Add salt to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the beans with red onion, red pepper and dill. Pour the prepared dressing in, and toss to coat. Let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving (but preferably overnight) so that the flavours have some time to mellow and combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.


  1. One Pair Two Pear says

    Oooooohh my husband would die for this dish, he specifically asked me to grow green beans this year because he loves them steamed with lemon juice on top.


  2. Chef Dennis says

    fresh green beans are always welcome at my table! I have never tried them with dill, it sounds so good!

  3. Isabelle says

    Brave? Daring? Reckless? Man, you ladies sure have a way with the adjectives. :)

    (For the record, I'm going with crazy with a side of masochistic… I must have had a moment of temporary insanity when I issued the invitations)

  4. denise @ quickies on the dinner table says

    Oh, you two-timing bad girl gourmet you!! ROFL Way to go! That was delightfully reckless – I would have gone in for a long post lunch nap and had sandwiches and lotsa wine for dinner ;)

    Gorgeous menus all around and though I am not crazy for green beans, this I could really go for. All that lemon and garlic – yum yum YUMMMMM!

  5. Lawyer Loves Lunch says

    Lunch and dinner guests? You are a brave woman. Both menus sound delightful. I bet the lunch guests didn't know about dinner or they would've refused to go home :)

  6. Kath says

    I LOVE vegetable side dishes that can be made ahead and served at room temperature. My way of entertaining! Thanks for this one. The beans sound delicious!

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