Thanksgiving is hands-down one of our favorite days of the year. Between the turkey, pies, and sides, it’s pretty much the best food we eat all year, but if you’re like us, chances are you’re changing things up in 2020. A lot of us are having smaller gatherings this year, which also means smaller meals. But instead of being sad about the change, we’re looking at it as an opportunity to try new things. We’re already exploring new ways to cook turkey, are swapping mashed potatoes for crispy lemon potatoes, and have a pumpkin pie alternative lined up for dessert. So why not ditch the dreaded industrial-sized pan of green bean casserole this year in favor of something lighter, fresher, and more flavorful?
Ina Garten just shared exactly the type of recipe we’re looking for: haricot verts with hazelnuts and dill. Haricot verts are French green beans, which are slender and more delicate than typical green beans. The regular kind are fine for the rest of the year, but we’re celebrating, so the upgrade to haricot verts is totally worth it.
Instead of drowning the bright green flavor of the beans in a thick (and sometimes chunky, *shudder*) sauce, Garten enhances their flavor with just a few extras.
Butter and olive oil add a rich texture to the dish without overwhelming it. Toasted hazelnuts add crunch and nuttiness to the dish, and using hazelnuts instead of something like almonds also makes the dish feel more elevated and worthy of celebration. (Buy roasted hazelnuts without their skins as an extra shortcut.)
Last but definitely not least, Garten finishes the beans with minced fresh dill, infusing every bite with a bright, fresh, grassy and herbacious flavor. It’s exactly what the otherwise heavy traditional Thanksgiving meal is begging for.
The recipe originally appeared in her book Cook Like a Pro, but Garten helpfully posted a recipe to make a half batch that serves four on her website, anticipating that lots of us will be having smaller “micro Thanksgiving” celebrations this year.
Instead of dwelling on the negatives of this year’s feast, we’re searching for the positives. As Garten says, “It may be a different Thanksgiving this year but it will still be celebratory and delicious!” New recipes like this one definitely give us something to look forward to at the Thanksgiving table this year.
Before you go, check out Garten’s best dinner recipes below: