Braised Green Beans & Caramelized Red Onion

Late in the summer and early fall you can still get green beans but they tend toward toughness. However, you can turn them into a meltingly tasty side dish by braising. Amp up the flavor a notch by adding caramelized onions, a bit of goat cheese and a little sweet red pepper. Onions contain plenty of folic acid, an important B vitamin, fiber, calcium, iron and protein. An additional bonus is quercitin, a flavanoid that supports vision health. Quercitin acts in a synergistic manner with vitamin E and taurine.

Serves 2
Time: about 45 minutes; onions can be made ahead of time.
This is also a great dish to start and let simmer while you do other tasks.

Caramelized Onions - 30-45 minutes

The onions are sliced lengthwise, not crosswise and cooked very slowly.

1 large red onion, sliced very thin
2 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
2 T balsamic vinegar or marsala wine

Green Beans - 30 minutes

Green beans, cooked in an alkaline liquid are bright green, but mushy. Cooked in water that is slightly acidic turns them brownish, but crisp and tasty!

2 cups green beans, sliced into 1/2" to 2" lengths; the tougher they are, the shorter
1/4 c chopped onions
1 garlic clove, minced
1 c vegetable stock
2 T cider vinegar
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper


2 oz goat cheese, crumbled into bits
2-3 T chopped parsley

Cooking the Onions

Start with the onion since they take longer. We usually make a double batch of onions to add them to other meals the next day.

  1. Slice the red onion very thinly, from top to bottom, so that it makes long thin strands
  2. On medium high bring the olive oil to a shimmer, no hotter, and add the onions. Stir them to spread the oil on all strands.
  3. Turn the heat down as low as possible and let the onions stew, gently stirring them from time to time.
  4. If needed add a bit of water so they don't burn.
  5. After about 10 minutes, sprinkle the salt on the onions and stir it in.
  6. Let them brown for about 30-45 minutes. Let them stick a little to the bottom of the pan so they caramelize, but don't let them burn.
  7. Eventually they'll turn a rich brown. Add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan, or you can add white or marsala wine.

Cooking the Green Beans

  1. While the onions are browning, chop the green beans in 1/2" to 2" lengths - shorter if they are tough.
  2. Chop the onion.
  3. Gently heat the oil in your skillet and add the onions, garlic and chili flakes and cook them until soft but not brown, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Add the beans, soup stock and the vinegar.
  6. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat as much as possible.
  7. Let them simmer for 30 minutes and then taste test. They should be crisp and flavorful.
  8. About this time, the onions will have finished browning.

Putting it Together

  1. Add a bit of butter or oil to the beans and turn the heat to medium-high.
  2. Cook them until almost all of the soup stock is gone.
  3. Add the caramelized onions and gently stir them all together
  4. Crumble the goat cheese and chop some parsley
  5. To serve, turn out the beans/onions on a plate or shallow bowl and garnish with the goat cheese and parsley.

More options

We often add potatoes or other cooked vegetables at the last minute, or for a non-vegetarian meal, bits of sauteed chicken.