Spicy Pickled Green Beans

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Since I’m quite the expert in pickling now, I decided to go for another pickling recipe.  My sister S picked this one out from a magazine.  We thought it might be a good summer-time treat to nibble on, virtually calorie-free.  They’ve gotta be better for you than downing an entire bag of Sea Salt Crinkle Cut Kettle Chips, or eating Red Sox Green Monster Mint Ice Cream by large spoonfuls, or nibbling oodles of tootsie rolls or anything else that I’m currently addicted to (which is not anything all that great for you, unfortunately).  These… these are good for you:  Spicy Pickled Green Beans.

See how pretty they are? How can you resist a treat like that?

I suppose you have to like green beans at least a little bit to enjoy this recipe. Choose the best fresh green beans you can find. You don’t have to do anything very special to them. Just trim the ends and rinse them.

Blanch them in boiling water for just a couple of minutes- seriously! You want them just slightly cooked, but you definitely don’t want them limp. You want them to stay bright green and crisp!

Then drain the green beans and rinse them well with cold water. You don’t want them to keep cooking, so keep rinsing until they are pretty well cooled-off.

There are a few ingredients in the pickling marinade that are key to giving it that spicy flavor:  peppercorns (I used these pretty multi-colored ones, but you can use any…), kelp or seaweed, and dried red chiles.

These ingredients are mixed with rice vinegar, sugar and kosher salt.  Everything is brought just to a boil.

The boiling pickling liquid is poured over your blanched green beans in a bowl.

Lemon slices are added.  And then it sits until it comes to room temperature.  Slit open a couple of the red chiles and let that spicy flavor spill forth into the pickling liquid.  Refrigerate until you’re ready to start munching.

The beans turn out crisp and tangy with hints of spice and lemon.  They are a perfect, low calorie, weight-watching, summertime treat.  In fact, if you’re on Weight Watchers, you can munch on these and count zero points.  How cool is that? 

Enjoy 🙂

Spicy Pickled Green Beans

Delicious, low fat summertime snack...

Yield: 8 cups

Prep Time: 45 min + chill time

Cook Time: 10 min


1 pound very fresh green beans (nice and crisp), ends trimmed
2 cups rice vinegar
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
6 small dried red chiles, such as Thai or arbol
1 teaspoon multi-colored peppercorns
3 inch-long piece of kombu (dried kelp) or seaweed
1 lemon, sliced (seeds removed)


1. Bring a medium pot of water to boil and blanch green beans until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes (don't overcook... you don't want limp green beans). Drain and put in a large heatproof bowl.

2. Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to boil in another medium pot with vinegar, sugar, salt, chiles, peppercorns, and seaweed. As soon as the liquid boils, pour over beans and add the lemon slices. Let cool to room temperature. Slit 3 of the chiles to let seeds spill into liquid. Chill, covered, overnight to let flavors develop. Serve cold.


*I found the red chiles (Arbol) in my market's Latin products aisle, and I found the seaweed in the Asian foods aisle.
*You can use regular, old black peppercorns if you'd like, but the multicolored ones are so pretty in this.
*These green beans will keep - covered in the refrigerator- for about one week.


Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1/4 cup (drained)
Calories per serving: 5.4
Fat per serving: 0g
Fiber per serving: .4g
Protein per serving: .2g
Carbohydrates per serving: 1.3g

WW POINTS per serving:
Points Plus Program: 0 Old Points Program: 0

Source: RecipeGirl.com (Adapted from Sunset)

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  • Linda wrote:

    I did this without the seaweed as I couldn’t find any. Still tastes great! What does the seaweed add?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      maybe a little asian flavor. Someone else suggested adding a tiny bit of fish sauce instead.

  • Bob wrote:

    Wow. I love these beans. Perfect as a summer appetizer for a party and spectacular for a Bloody Mary garnish. The only change I made was to substitute 1/2 teaspoon of fish sauce from my fridge in place of the seaweed. I didn’t want to buy a whole package for seaweed for one recipe.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Thanks for that tip!

  • Floare wrote:

    I was a bit disapointed because it turned out to be too sweet for my taste!
    I love all kind of picked vegetables but not the sweet ones,the pickels must be pungent,tart,salty and spicy in my vision:)
    I will try to make this again using regular vinegar(rice vinegar is sweet)and omit the sugar and using more salt.

    thank you for sharing!

  • The Cilantropist wrote:

    I am definitely going to have to try this recipe – this sounds like the perfect snack, especially since I love the *snap* of pickled green beans – and I love the spicy kick! Looking forward to seeing you tonight!

  • Tracy wrote:

    Sounds delicious! I’ll have to find a good canning recipe for these!

  • JENNA wrote:

    these look amazing! i love crunchy green beans.

    what does the kelp/seaweed do? Does it add a certain flavor to the green beans?

  • Jacqueline wrote:

    Great idea! I really enjoy finding alternatives to snacks and when they are healthy, then it is nothing short of a bonus! Delicious and perfect for summer!

  • Katrina wrote:

    This is a great idea! Yum!

  • Nourhan @ Miss Anthropist’s Kitchen wrote:

    I LOVE this recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Kalyn wrote:

    They sound seriously tasty!

  • Cookin’ Canuck wrote:

    I absolutely adore pickled green beans, but have never made them myself. You have inspired me, Lori!

  • W H Stoneman wrote:

    Nice…thanks for the recipe!

  • maria wrote:

    I love pickled green beans!

  • Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga wrote:

    What a great way to fix green beans. I need to try this!

  • Barbara wrote:

    Now that’s looking great, Lori! I’ve never pickled anything…well, beets, once, but I’ve got to try this!

  • Joanne wrote:

    I really think I need to start pickling more things. That briny flavor never fails to make me smile (and pucker).

  • Kathleen wrote:

    Gotta try these! Great pics!

  • Susie wrote:

    I just made these again and still love them!

  • Tracey @ The Kitchen is My Playground wrote:

    I just did (& posted about) spicy pickled okra that’s done in a similar manner. Another summer goodie to munch on for virtually no calories. I like this green bean idea, and will absolutely be giving it a try! Thanks for sharing, Lori!

  • Jenny Flake wrote:

    These photos are gorgeous!!! I would eat these by the plateful 🙂