Dinner Tonight: String Beans with Arugula

I was pleasantly surprised at the flavor packed into this dish, all dependent on a few strong elements: spicy arugula, tart lemon zest, and caramelized garlic. The three boost an otherwise mild and humble string bean. Though I had a perfectly flaky, delicious salmon steak on my plate, all I wanted to gobble up were these beans.

Texture is an important part, so be sure to cook the beans all the way until they're tender and have lost their backbone. I read somewhere that cooking beans "al dente" does them a disservice. It's far better to cook beans the traditional way until tender; they're rather unpleasant raw, in this dish at least, since it allows the garlic slices to provide texture. Otherwise, the preparation is dead simple, and if you've pre-boiled the beans, it can come together in the time it takes the salmon steak to rest.

About the author: Blake Royer lives in Brooklyn and spends most of his free time cooking and writing about it here at Serious Eats and on The Paupered Chef. From 9 to 5 weekdays, he works as an assistant book editor in Manhattan.

Dinner Tonight: String Beans with Arugula

About This Recipe

Yield:6 as a side


  • 1 1/2 pounds green or yellow beans, trimmed
  • 2 tablespoons extra–virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz baby arugula, or leaves from 1 pound arugula, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. 1

    Bring a large pot of salty water to boil and cook beans, uncovered, until tender. Drain in a colander.


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