Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

green beans with caramelized onions

Here’s an in-season, super simple side dish recipe that is loaded with flavor. Loaded. Really, I’m going to use that word here…you’ll just have to trust me.

Simple ingredients, all conveniently ready at the same time in the garden (or from the farmers market). And butter, because so many things are better with butter.

Start by steaming prepared beans in a little water until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes, depending on how thick the beans are). While the beans are steaming, melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat and add one chopped onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until onions start to caramelize (about 5 to 8 minutes).

Add a tablespoon (or so…) of balsamic vinegar (remember this 18-year old vinegar? Sublime in this!) and cook for about a minute.

Add 3 or 4 (depending on size) chopped Roma tomatoes, stir to combine and then remove from heat. I don’t like to cook the tomatoes, just warm them and incorporate into the onions. Also, sprinkle some dried hot peppers to taste. Yes, go ahead…you’ll be glad you did.

Oh my. I can smell that caramelized goodness just looking at the picture. At this point salt and pepper to taste. Oh, yes…taste away.

At this point you can plate them like I did here or just toss it all together- whatever suits your mood for that day. You can also add a feta cheese garnish (really good), or mix it up by adding a bit of garlic and some herbs (thyme is especially good) at the end of cooking the onions. It’s easy to play around with this dish.

But when it comes to eating them, you are not going to want to play around with these beans, again…trust me. Unless, apparently, you’re my son who informed me he doesn’t even like “the smell of caramelized onion.” How could I have birthed someone who doesn’t like caramelized onions?

Green Beans with Caramelized Onions and Tomatoes

  • About 1lb. of green beans, trimmed and cut
  • 1-2 Tb. butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tb. balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 Roma (paste-type) tomatoes, cored & chopped
  • 1/4 tsp (or more…) dried red chili peppers
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cook green beans in a pot filled 1/4 with water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes, depending on size.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 1 Tb butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and cook a minute before adding the tomatoes and dried chili peppers. Stir just to warm and combine, then remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Drain the beans when they are done, and toss with remaining butter and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Place the beans on a serving plate and top with the tomatoes & onions, or toss it all together and serve in a bowl. Your call.

Optional: add fresh herbs (thyme, basil, or rosemary) and garlic at the end of caramelizing the onions; top finished dish with cheese (feta, goat, or parmesan)

Makes 6-8 servings


This is linked to Family Food Fridays.


  1. says

    I really like the recipe, especially, on how to caramelize the onions 😉 ): Oh, this is totally random…but in the photo with the butter on that plate…Is that a Depression glass plate? It reminds me of some Depression glass that I own…That plate is really cute!! Have a great weekend. Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

  2. says

    This looks so yummy. Thank you for the great button for printing! This helps a lot. I copy and paste into a word document so I can save the recipes in An Oregon Cottage file folder because I print them and misplace the printed copy sometimes. 😀

  3. Lexa says

    Lovely recipe Jami. It looks like Summer on a plate! I got caught up on blogging this morning and have tried to answer your onion questions.

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