Green Beans with Balsamic Pepper Relish – This bright, beautiful side dish will steal the spotlight at dinner, thanks to the sweet, tangy balsamic bell pepper relish. It’s incredible! (Vegan, Paleo & Whole30 approved!)
Confession: I usually don’t think that much about side dishes on weeknights. We tend to stick with a simple salad, some fresh or roasted veggies, or fresh fruit. Maybe some rice or a cornbread muffin tossed in here or there.
But around the holidays? I’m ALL IN. At Thanksgiving, I’d completely skip the turkey in favor of the sides–sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, rolls, salads, veggies, fruit, you name it. The same thing goes when we’re having a simple main dish. If our main dish is something simple (cod or salmon, chicken & apple sausage, rotisserie chicken, etc.) I try to step up my side dish game.
These green beans with balsamic pepper relish are one of my favorites. They look *gorgeous* on the table, and taste even better. Plus, you can easily serve them for holidays or weeknights. They really deliver without much added fuss!
WHY THESE GREEN BEANS WITH BALSAMIC PEPPER RELISH ARE AMAZING:
GORGEOUS COLORS (Thank You, Relish!) I stewed over what to call this balsamic bell pepper topping, since the word “relish” usually brings to mind that green stuff you put on hot dogs, and this is so very much better (and SO very different) than the green stuff. But it wasn’t really a sauce, so…relish. It delivers BIG time flavor without requiring a bunch of fancy ingredients. And the blend of colors from the relish + balsamic vinegar + the vibrant green from the green beans? Amazing.
SWEET & TANGY BALANCE OF FLAVORS. The balsamic bell pepper relish is the star of the show in this green beans recipe, bringing to the table the sweet and tangy flavors of caramelized peppers and onions, and just the right touch of acidity in the splash of balsamic vinegar. It’s a perfect pairing with green beans!
YOU CAN DRESS IT UP OR DRESS IT DOWN. This green bean side dish recipe is just as at home at a holiday table as it is on a weeknight. It can hold its own on Thanksgiving and Christmas, or you can whip it up while you’re cooking chicken sausages, slicing up rotisserie chicken, or broiling some fish on a Tuesday.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THIS GREEN BEANS RECIPE:
DON’T RUSH! (COOK IT LOW & SLOW) – It’s tempting to try to speed the caramelization process up by cranking up the heat on the pepper relish, but DON’T DO IT. True caramelization comes when the natural sugars have time to break down and the veggies have time to soften, which happens best at lower heat. If you use higher heat, you won’t get the same sweet, tender result. I promise It’s worth the wait.
THINK SWEET. I really prefer sweet bell peppers for this recipe–red, orange, and yellow. They tend to caramelize better and cook up sweeter than green bell peppers do (I don’t recommend green peppers for this recipe). If you can find it, I also prefer using aged balsamic. It’s got a deeper, richer, sweet flavor that’s amazing. (Use code “onelovelylife” for 10% off your first order!)
FLAVOR BOOSTERS – This green beans recipe is amazing on its own, but you can kick up the flavor in a few ways. First, you can add a clove of garlic to the relish during the last minute of cooking. Or, you can add a bit of kick with a pinch of red chili flakes at the end. If you need another idea, I always love to play with flavored olive oils. (Rosemary is pretty lovely here for a different flavor.)
OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY THIS BALSAMIC PEPPER RELISH – The balsamic pepper relish is amazing here on green beans, but I’m all about versatility, and this relish is good in all sorts of ways. It’s great on a panini with a thin slice of ham or peppered turkey, spooned over grilled chicken, or mixed into quinoa for a quick salad.
LOVE THESE GREEN BEANS? HERE ARE MORE SIDES THAT STEAL THE SHOW:
- Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes (Whole30 + Vegan Options!)
- Orange Cranberry Sauce
- Maple Dijon Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Paleo or Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
- Simply Roasted Zucchini & Tomatoes
- Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash
This recipe was originally posted February 2010. It has been re-tested and revamped with new photos, updated recipe instructions, and a how-to video in November 2018.