Here’s the thing, I love snacking. I love quick easy bites and a glass of wine while connecting with friends.
And now I bet you’re wondering what snacks and quick easy bites have to do with a side dish of spicy green beans, but they have everything to do with it, my friend.
Every once in a while my mom and I have excellent shopping days. You know, the ones where everything seems to fall into place. The jeans fit, the perfect sweater is waiting just for you, and the mega sale you weren’t expecting is going on right now.
Yeah, those days. Well, on these rare occasions (neither of us particularly enjoy shopping, so it doesn’t happen often) we find ourselves for a quick snack at Big Bowl for a glass of wine, potstickers, and their Spicy Sichuan Green Beans. Not to be confused with P.F. Chang’s Chili-Garlic Green Beans, though just as delicious.
I knew I needed a quick homemade version, one that could be equally delicious as a vegetarian side dish recipe, or even a main-dish feature with the right pairings. And this, this is it. This is the recipe you need for it all.
Chili Garlic Green Bean Ingredients
So this is a 15-minute recipe, and it’s made even better by the fact that it requires just a handful of simple ingredients that come together to create this spectacular side dish. Here are the ingredients you’ll need, and some notes and substitutions.
- Soy Sauce: the base of the sauce that the green beans cook in. It’s full of umami flavor.
- Rice Vinegar: brings in some acid and a little sour aspect to the sauce, which balances out the spice and sweetness wonderfully. If you don’t have it, you can use white vinegar and add an additional teaspoon of sugar.
- Sesame Oil: adds a subtle nuttiness to the sauce – you don’t need much for this aromatic oil to do its thing.
- Sugar or Honey: a little sweetness balances out the bold, tangy, and spicy flavors from the other ingredients. This is pretty verstaile here. Use granulated sugar, or substitute honey, or maple syrup. I like to use honey, but the other two are excellent options for vegans, too.
- Corn Starch: I add cornstarch to the sauce to thicken it up – this takes it from a soupier side dish to a thick, sticky sweet and spicy sauce that’s finger-lickin’ good! You can omit it if you’d like, just know that the sauce will be thinner.
- Oil: use an oil of choice to cook the green beans; a neutral one will work best.
- Green Beans: either French green beans for their tenderness or regular fresh green beans will do the trick here. You can also use frozen green beans, just shorten the cook time.
- Garlic: now, yes, there is garlic in the garlic chili paste we’re using, but it wouldn’t be a FITK recipe if we didn’t still add more garlic. Use a garlic press to mince it for fine bits that will mix in throughout.
- Ginger: either grate fresh ginger or use pre-minced ginger. The bright freshness adds so much flavor!
- Chili Garlic Paste (Sauce): a kitchen staple around here when I’m making spicy Asian-inspired recipes. It adds the perfect amount of spice (which of course you can adjust by adding more or less) with a lot of flavor. Use Sriracha if you don’t have it.
- Red Pepper Flakes: we’re keeping it spicy by adding additional red pepper flakes!
- Optional: Fresno Pepper: like the Big Bowl version, throw in some slices of fresh fresno pepper towards the end for additional heat. They make beautiful garnishes too.
How to Make Spicy Chinese-Inspired Green Beans
With a few ingredients and a little bit of time (I really mean a little), you’ll have this delicious side ready in a flash.
First, make the sauce, and set it aside. Whisk it together in a small bowl, adding the corn starch if you’re using it to thicken the sauce. Mixing it ahead of time does two things: it makes the recipe go quickly, because you have the ingredients basically prepped already, and it gives the flavors a few minutes to meld together.
Next, cook the fresh green beans. Add the green beans to a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat with a little oil. We’re not steaming the green beans, but rather using more of a ‘dry frying’ method where we are only using a little oil, then roasting them in the pan. This creates a nice char and wrinkled texture to the beans if your pan is hot enough – if you don’t want any wrinkle effect, simply keep the heat around medium.
Once the beans have had a few minutes to soften in the pan, it’s time to add the aromatics: ginger, garlic, chili garlic paste, and the red pepper flakes. Want even more heat? Add in a few sliced Fresno chilis here, too! Give them a few more minutes to cook, softening up in the process.
Then, it’s time to pour in the sauce. Add the sauce, stirring it with the green beans to coat them completely. Let the sauce simmer, and as it does so, it will thicken. Make sure the green beans are cooked through until tender yet still slightly crisp.
Once the beans are ready and the sauce has thickened, remove and serve with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
What to Serve with Spicy Green Beans
Like I said, I’m no stranger to just sitting down to snack on these green beans…as though they are an appetizer but really the main-star. But you can absolutely serve them as an appetizer or as a side dish to one of the following recipes.
You can even toss in some mushrooms to cook with the green beans, then serve with rice to make it a meal (shrimp would be good, too, for those of you who are pescatarian or meat-eaters). Ok, so here are my favorite items to enjoy with these spicy green beans – as an appetizer spread, side dish, or main event.
- Vegetable Potstickers
- Crispy Sesame Tofu
- Miso Ginger Glazed Salmon or Teriyaki Salmon
- Fresh Spring Rolls
- Vegetable Lo Mein for Two
- Cheesy Pepper Jelly Wonton Cups
Get the Recipe Spicy Asian Green Beans
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar or honey, or maple syrup
- 1 tsp corn starch, optional but recommended
- 1 ½ Tablespoons vegetable oil, or cooking oil of choice
- 16 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated, or use ginger paste
- 2 ½ teaspoons chili garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon dried red pepper chili flakes
- 1 fresno chili pepper, sliced, optional
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sugar/honey, and corn starch until combined. Set aside.
- Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat with the oil. Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, chili paste, and red pepper flakes, stirring to coat (add fresno pepper slices, too, if using). Continue to cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Pour the sauce mixture into the pan with the beans and stir to coat completely. Continue to cook the beans for an additional 3-4 minutes until sauce is thicker and green beans are tender. Serve with sesame seeds and/or rice as desired.