Green beans are the unfailing friend of any Southern occasion, from weeknight suppers to holiday feasts. We like to cook them country-style, low and slow, with just a few simple ingredients; and we like to throw them in a creamy casserole, covered and smothered, with a crunchy topping. We aren’t even opposed to a fresh, balsamic-glazed sauté every once in a while when we’re feeling sophisticated. Green beans are the blank canvas any Southern cook worth her salt can turn into a masterpiece with some butter or a few slices of extra crispy bacon.
A bold version of this steadfast side dish has been flying under the radar for years now, and we’re finally ready to give credit where due. Just like chocolate-covered pretzels hit a sweet-and-salty spot we didn’t know we crave, these delicious sweet and savory green beans have taken over our taste buds with their bursting pods of tangy flavor. We’re talking about our Sweet-and-Sour Green Beans.
Here’s the gist: Green beans, crispy bits of pan-fried bacon, and tender onions come together with sugar and apple cider vinegar for a sweet-and-sour side dish that takes the traditional green bean recipe our grandmother used to make and turns it on its head in the most delicious way.
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Grab your Dutch oven, and get ready to whip up this simple and easy recipe in a less than half an hour and with fewer ingredients than your cornbread or collard greens. Speaking of cornbread, these versatile green beans go perfectly with any Southern family dinner or celebration. Even the kids will want to have something green on their plate!
WATCH: Sautéed Green Beans with Bacon
When Sweet-and-Sour Green Beans was featured in our October 2010 issue, recipe developer Christy Jordan said: "I make a triple batch of these and freeze leftovers in quart-size freezer bags to use at another meal on a busy day."
You’re going to want to follow that suggestion because this side dish not only surpasses most in flavor and flair, but it works on any day and any table. The pleasant tanginess of the sugar and apple cider vinegar combination, paired with the saltiness of the bacon, gives a mouthwatering finish to the naturally mild, subtle vegetable we’ve always known and loved.
Want a more love-em-and-leave-em type of green bean recipe? Try our fan-favorite Slow-Cooker Green Beans next!