Green Beans with Leeks & Feta

by Marla on November 20, 2010 · 37 comments

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Healthy string bean recipe for Thanksgiving & family meals.

It has been a whirl wind week with a trip to the Dole Wellness Institute, activities at school & work. Life is picking up speed as Thanksgiving fast approaches. I have a few more recipes to share before the big day hits.

These green beans are simple to prepare & I keep ’em light and healthy. The flavor of the crisp beans shines through & they are made more special with the addition of feta cheese & sautéed leeks. They pair perfectly with my Stuffing with Sweet Potatoes & Cranberries.
String beans for Thanksgiving and family cooking.

These string beans are cooked just enough to show off their beautiful bright color I wanted to give you an option beyond the standard holiday green bean casserole. They make the perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Paired with lemon they would be awesome any time of the year. They would be wonderful served at garden parties, potlucks and beach parties too.

Recipe for healthy string beans for holiday meals.

Simple preparations of fresh veggies brings out their true flavors and textures while maintaining vitamins and minerals. Besides, a heaping serving of these before that pumpkin pie will offset the extra calories, right??!!

Thanksgiving green beans for holiday cooking.

On Monday I will be sharing my Thanksgiving Round-Up post from around the web. If you have any great recipes please leave them in your comments below.

Green Beans with Leeks & Feta

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Green Beans with Leeks & Feta


  • 1 pound Green Beans, washed and trimmed
  • 1 cup - or- 2 Leeks, sliced small use the light green & white parts
  • 4 Garlic cloves, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh Lemon juice - from 1/4 Lemon
  • pinch of Cracked Black Pepper
  • pinch of Smoked Paprika
  • pinch of Sea Salt
  • 1-2 ounces of crumbled Feta Cheese (see note above)
  • Lemon Zest for garnish


  • Prepare a large bowl with ice water and set aside. Have a colander or large strainer ready in the sink. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add green beans to pot and blanch (cook) for 1-2 minutes until bright green. Immediately dump beans into colander and then plunge them into the ice water bath. This will set the beans, keep them bright and stop them from cooking further.
  • In a large sauté pan melt butter over medium high heat on the stove top. Add leeks & garlic with pinches of the black pepper, salt and smoked paprika. Stir and sautée a few minutes until softened and fragrant. Reduce heat to medium. Add beans and lemon juice to pan and toss to coat. Cook for about 2 more minutes until flavors combine and beans cook a little bit more. Top with feta cheese crumbles and some lemon zest.
  • Notes
  • imply adjust ingredients according to how many people you are serving. These beans make for great leftovers too!
  • I love Sheep Milk Feta for its very pronounced taste. A little goes a long way. Use your favorite variety of feta.
  • As always, use your own taste buds to determine how you want to season your Green Beans with Leeks & Parmesan.
  • We like our beans tender with a bit of snap, if you like them softer you can cook them a few minutes longer in the boiling water.


  • Add pieces of cooked diced bacon when you toss the beans with the leeks and garlic.
  • Add some diced toasted walnuts or pecans when you toss the beans with the leeks and garlic.
  • Use your favorite cheese. Shaved Parmesan, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere and Blue Cheese would be great too!

Green Bean Recipe Links

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amanda November 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

DEEEEE lightful! I bet my kids would even eat some prepared this way! Blessings!


2 Nutmeg Nanny November 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

I’m loving these beans! The feta addition is what makes them look super scrumptious to me :)

I made a ginger-laced cranberry orange sauce that was delicious:

I also made a Maple-Gingerbread Layer Cake with Salted Maple Caramel Sauce on a joint blog I run with another blogger, All Through The Year Cheer:


3 Marla November 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

Nutmeg Nanny: OMG those two recipes sound amazing! I will include one in my round-up for sure :)


4 Angie's Recipes November 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

Light and flavourful! The addition of feta for sure makes this recipe a winner!


5 Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef November 20, 2010 at 11:52 am

I’ve been loving reading your recipes on Stumble, they are so pretty. Great side dish! yum yum!


6 Jennifer (Savor) November 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I have just recently started expermenting with leeks – and uh, any recipe with feta is a big winner!


7 Marla November 20, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Jennifer: It took me a while to experiment with leeks. Think I was scared of them for some time, now i can’t live with out them. I love their subtle flavor & they really enhance savory dishes. They are so great roasted too.

Dara: Thanks for the awesome recipe links. Will be hard to choose which one to put on. Would like to fit them all!

Anna: I too have a permanent crush on feta.

Barbara: Yes, it is nice to have one or two non-creamy dishes on the Thanksgiving table. Gives the palate a break!


8 Cookin' Canuck November 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Marla, this is such a fresh green bean recipe. To me, a green bean recipe like this is far preferable to anything with cream or heavy cheese, particularly when served as part of a Thanksgiving feast.

Here are a few of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes for this year:

How to Make Turkey Gravy: Recipe & Troubleshooting

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Chipotle Pecan Streusel

Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Cranberries & Pecans


9 Kristen November 20, 2010 at 2:00 pm

What a delicious looking side dish, Marla!


10 Anna Johnston November 20, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Nice one, I have a crush on Feta at the moment, and it’d dress up beans beautifully. Lovely :)


11 Rosa November 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

That looks delicious! Love this combo.




12 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food November 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I’m with you, Marla. With all the (over)indulgences that go with Thanksgiving dinner, it so nice to have a simple and light green vegetable to go along with all the “fancy” and rich stuff we cooks dream up. I love the way you have combined crunchy green beans, lemony tartness, and a bit of salty feta depth here. Just right!


13 FoodFitnessFreshair November 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Sounds delicious! I love garlicky green beans, and the feta would add an extra rich touch.


14 Kitchen Runway November 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Marla – this dish looks so fresh and vivid. I love it! I think it will be great in the spring time too. YUM!


15 tia November 20, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I like green beans with spices and use some of the recipes at this site for variety:
IF you like Indian food, you might like some of the recipes here. The green beans fry is my favorite as it’s easy to make.


16 the urban baker November 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

couldn’t we have just eaten this for lunch today. next time we do pot luck and all make something yummy….like this salad!!!


17 Betty @ scrambled hen fruit November 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Those beans are gorgeous! The look so fresh and delicious. :)


18 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. November 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

This looks and sounds fantastic. Right up my alley! Love your posts so much! xoxoxoxo


19 Lentil Breakdown November 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Love the leeks and feta. I’ll take this over Durkee green bean casserole any day!


20 Heavenly Housewife November 21, 2010 at 2:11 am

A truly sensational side daaaaaahling!
Hope you are having a great weekend.
*kisses* HH


21 Courtney November 21, 2010 at 5:15 am

Lots of things for dinner on Thanksgiving are so heavy, this seems light and refreshing! Yum!


22 Cherine November 21, 2010 at 7:12 am

This looks excellent!


23 Megan November 21, 2010 at 7:36 am

You make me want to eat my veggies. Your beans are drool worthy!
I have a great holiday appetizer. it takes cheese and crackers to the next level! :)
Have a great Thanksgiving Marla. I’m looking forward to your round up!


24 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather November 21, 2010 at 9:44 am

Those bowls you’re using are so cute Marla. Fresh green beans go so well with citrus. I’ve never tried lemon with them, just orange. I’ll have to give this a whirl, thanks!

Here’s the link to my orange green beans for another fun variation:


25 Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie November 21, 2010 at 10:19 am

These beans actually have a summery look to them. And with the feta cheese they remind me of a vacation I took in Greece years ago. This one really looks like a keeper. Thank you.


26 Dimah November 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

This looks so fresh and lovely! the photos are gorgeous!


27 sophia November 21, 2010 at 9:40 pm

YES!! I just bought more than a lb of green beans, and had no idea what to do with them besides a boring green bean casserole. I’m getting flashes of inspirations now. Thanks, Marla! You rock! 😀


28 My Carolina Kitchen November 22, 2010 at 3:37 am

What a lovely recipe for green beans. Your photography is fabulous. You are very talented.


29 Faith November 22, 2010 at 6:56 am

These green beans are just bursting with flavor, Marla! I love the use of leeks here, and feta really puts it over the top. Thanks so much for the sweet comment you left on my blog recently…it made my day! XOXO


30 Kelly L. November 24, 2010 at 10:23 pm

This looks great. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am going to make this. I am sure it will go great with everything else I am serving. Thank you for the idea. Cheers!


31 Lindsay November 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I just wanted to comment on how wonderful this dish was. So easy to make and just absolutely delicious. The feta really ties it together beautifully.

Thank you very much for sharing :)


32 Ingrid December 15, 2010 at 3:41 pm

This looks great. Love green beans!!


33 Kelsey June 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Awesome recipe! I used cayenne pepper instead of paprika for a little kick.


34 Marla June 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Nice! I always love me some hot pepper!


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