Coconut-Almond Green Beans

Tomorrow, I’m doing a cooking demo at PaleoFX along with from Michelle and Kim from Caveman Cuisine. I chose Coconut-Almond Green Beans to share because this side dish is not only luscious and velvety, it’s ready in under half an hour, so it works equally well on weeknights and weekends — and if you add cooked chicken, pork, or shrimp to it when the beans are tender, it becomes a one-skillet meal.

Since all of you can’t join us in Austin for PaleoFX, I thought I’d share the Well Fed cookbook version of the recipe with you, too.

This could become the only green recipe you need. During the braising process, the sliced almonds almost melt into a rich coconut milk sauce that renders the elements indistinguishable from each other. And that’s when you know the ingredients have fulfilled their destiny.

Trust me: make a double batch.

Coconut Almond Green Beans from the Well Fed cookbook |

Coconut-Almond Green Beans

Serves 4 | Prep 10 minutes | Cook 15 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

  • 1/2 medium  onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced (2 tablespoons) (optional)


Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them; they brown quickly! Transfer almonds to a plate for later. Resist the temptation to eat them!


In the same pan, sauté the onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, chili pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until the onion is soft and beginning to get brown bits, about 4-5 minutes.


Add the coconut milk to the pan and mix well, then add the green beans. Make sure everything is blended, then bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook covered until the beans are tender. The cooking time is a judgment call. If you like them crisp, it’s about 6 minutes. If you like them softer, let them braise for about 8 minutes.


When the beans have reached the desired tenderness, remove the lid and let the sauce cook down until it thickens a bit. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds, lime juice, and cilantro (if using).

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  • Melissa says:

    Putting this on my “must try list”!

    I wish I could afford the PaleoFX conference! It looked so interesting!

    I will be downtown for SXSW Friday-Saturday, but we mostly do the free stuff.

  • Lauren says:

    My absolute favorite green bean recipe…even my (non-veggie-loving) hubby will dig into these!

  • tinajo says:

    Yum, I love green beans! 🙂

  • THANK YOU MELISSA! You and your book have helped me get my husband to eat more vegetables, and these are his favorite! Really, really delicious. And easy.

  • Leslie says:

    Sounds awesome! I’m buying your book soon! Wish I could make the conference, too. Alas, it’s Spring Break week in the Austin area and my extra funds this month are dedicated to keeping my 3 kids entertained…

  • Tracey says:

    Hey, Melissa, one thing I wanted to share with people re this recipe, the first time I made it, it was melt-in-the-mouth fabulous, creamy, velvety smooth sauce. The second time (of course when I made a double batch)…BLEK! A big watery flop. I finally figured out the difference and wanted to pass it along and that is in the coconut milk!! The first time I bought canned, full fat organic at Whole Foods; the second time I bought full fat in a box from Trader Joes. Even though both were full fat, Trader Joes is watery and not at all like the creamy stuff at WF.

  • Buttoni says:

    This sounds absolutely DELICIOUS! Love green beans just about ANY way. Can’t wait to try these. Thanks for sharing with us.

  • shelley says:

    could you do with with out coconut milk? any substitution suggestions? (not sure the family would eat it with the coconut milk)

    • Mel says:

      The beans won’t have the creamy texture without the coconut milk, but you could try these options if you want to experiment:
      – if you’re “primal” and eat dairy, you could use heavy cream or Greek yogurt instead of coconut milk. This dramatically changes the nutrition profile, but it will taste good.

      – replace the coconut milk with chicken broth. It won’t be creamy, but it will be flavorful.

      • Mark says:

        Hey I just saw your story on fox 11 10 o clock news. My wife and I have been doing paleo for a couple of years, and its cool to see it getting some publicity. Maybe all my friends wont look at me as crazy. This recipe is for green beens which is a legume. So how does it fit into the paleo diet?

        • Mel says:

          I follow the guidelines of Whole9Life and Robb Wolf… they both say that green beans are OK because they are WAY more pod than bean, and they’re green. If in doubt, you can skip them, but plenty of the experts say they’re OK to eat. The same logic applies to snap peas and snow peas.

  • Mel says:

    So glad y’all are enjoying this recipe. And Tracey makes a good point: you must used CANNED coconut milk… none of this stuff in a carton. Full fat canned is the way to go!

  • CK says:

    Is there a brand preference? Is full fat like a solid? similar to the coconut oil?

  • Tianna says:


    I recently went on a spice buying binge, and I need more recipes for sumac and lime leaves! They sounded so awesome on the website, but I’m a lazy cook and I haven’t even touched them yet.
    What can I do with lime leaves without making a thai curry? And what can I combine with sumac for a dip or something? I need your creative genius…haha

  • Linnea says:

    I made these for the first time last week with the country chicken recipe from Wellfed and my husband (the butcher) overwhelming said I can make these both again anytime I want. So, I made the beans last night again to go with our turkey brats.
    I am going to make the sauce alone now so he can use it on protein for dipping or smothering. I find it funny since he doesn’t like coconut at all but loves this sauce and beans equally. Thanks again for another homerun recipe!

  • Walker F says:

    Mel, Jables made a giant batch of this for the CFA Regional team on the night of Day 1. The team (and all guests) were raving! The sauce is soooo good – the barbecue was practically ignored!

    • Mel says:

      I love when vegetables are the most popular dish on the table. YAY! Thanks for letting me know… hugs to EVERYBODY!

  • Beth says:

    I made these tonight and loved them….except I toasted the almonds and forgot to put them back in! So I have some toasted almonds to eat later haha. I also made your Chinese 5 spice ribs with them. YUM! Thanks for great recipes!

  • sarah says:

    Was initially afraid this would be too spicy for my 2yr old & 4 yr old, but they gobbled them right down! (The promise of coconut ice cream may have encouraged them a bit too!!)

  • primaldeft says:

    Is there a trick to transfering almond slices out of a pan? i think they cooked a little too much while I was trying to get them all outta there!

  • Stacy says:

    These are so good! Yum! Thank you!

  • Leslie says:

    What type of green beans do you use? I am assuming fresh but have you tried using other types?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, the recipe works best with fresh green beans. I’m not sure what you mean by “other types”?

      • Leslie says:

        I was thinking canned or frozen lol

        • Mel says:

          Definitely do not used canned — it won’t taste good and the texture will be terrible.

          You can try it with frozen… follow all of the instructions above as written, then put the frozen beans into the sauce to cook. You might need to increase the cooking time by 2-4 minutes.

  • Heather says:

    My friend recommended this recipe when I asked her what I should have with some masala-baked tofu that wasn’t rice. I have been eating these for a week! They’re perfect. Creamy and silky and comforting with just a little spice. These green beans may have replaced my usual Szechuan asparagus as my new favorite veggie dish.

  • Jennifer says:

    I adore your book! My 3 sisters drooled over it during the holidays (I know I should’ve gotten it for them!). Your book and website have been key to my Whole30 – I didn’t cook before my first W30 in the fall so I relied on good instructions and pictures, so thanks! Today is day 2 of my second W30…

    I may have goofed this up :(. The spices seemed overpowering and not sure the sauce reached the heavenly creaminess I’m reading about. I used boxed a coconut milk vs the canned kind and substituted caraway seeds for the coriander. But seeing all these rave reviews makes me think I need to try again with canned milk.. Gotta break out of my normal veggie box!

    • Mel says:

      Glad you like Well Fed… yay! Thank you!

      OK. A few things:
      1. My recipes are ALWAYS canned coconut milk. The stuff in the carton is very different and can include junky ingredients.

      2. Caraway can’t really be substituted for coriander. Caraway has a VERY strong flavor, and it’s a very different flavor profile than the other spices in this dish. If you don’t have coriander, just omit it and don’t substitute with anything.

      Try it again following these tips — and be sure to let the whole thing simmer long enough for the sauce to thicken. That should help make the spices mellow instead of biting.

      • Jennifer says:

        ok – the main culprit was my non-cooking mind thinking I could Google a substitute for coriander and put caraway seeds in! I re-made this last night without coriander or caraway, with canned coconut milk and frozen green beans and voila! very good! even reheated some for lunch. So many thanks!!!

        Very cool to get to get such a quick response from the cookbook author herself! You Rock!

  • Stephanie says:

    What a winning dish! I dont like green beans but I said …why not try it. Seems like a good accompainment to the butternut squash and the pork chops. This is soo good! I will be making this again.

  • Sandie Kneib says:

    The hands doen best gren bean recipe I have ever had. My husband licked the plate! Whole30 is changing my life!

    • Sandie Kneib says:

      I really can spell, I simply can’t type. In a hurry to get back in the kitchen…cooking is relaxing but previous “diets” left me wanting to cook and not being satisfied with steamed food. Thanks for all the great recipes!

      • Mel says:

        I know just what you mean… “dieting” is misery. Steamed food without fat and caramelization is cruel and unusual punishment. Glad you like this recipe… happy eating to you!

  • Rebecca says:

    I made these last night, omg so so yummy. Made Grilled salmon and mashed cauliflower with them however could have just eaten the beans!! This is my second paleo week so working through your book! Are they really good for you, it felt bad to be eating something so rich and creamy?!!

    • Mel says:

      YAY! So glad you like them — and yes! they’re totally healthy. It’s a good trick, right?!

      Congratulations on making the switch to paleo!

  • Marie says:

    How come every one of your recipes is lick the plate good??? Somehow you got way more than your fair share of awesomeness 🙂 I’m not sure how I’m going to teach my kids table manners when they keep seeing their mother licking her plate… I made these green beans along with your Moroccan Salmon recipe, my husband requested that we have this meal every night, all the kids even ate it up. I make your “Best Chicken Ever” constantly, it’s my only chicken recipe as why it any other way when it’s the best ever?!?! Thanks for the wonderful recipes, it’s so nice knowing I can try out a brand new recipe and never have to worry it’s not going to be awesome.

    • Mel says:

      Why are YOU so awesome?! Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know you like the recipes! This is my niece’s favorite recipe from Well Fed, too. Maybe I’ll make some for dinner tonight 😉

  • Tammy Lober says:

    These were the best tasting green beans ever!

  • Deb says:

    Need help, Melissa! I searched the world over and tried to find coconut milk sans Carrageenan. (Carrageen is off limits for the Whole 30 program — and especially for me with Crohn’s disease, since it has been shown to cause Ulcerative Colitis in lab animals). Any idea what brand to use that doesn’t contain Carrageenan?


  • Aventurine says:

    These were great…and my little ones loved them, too!

  • Tara says:

    For those that have made double batches…do they warm up good the next day? I’m wanting to find some good veggie recipes that I can make the night before and warm up for lunch the next day!

    • Mel says:

      These re-heat really well! They’re not *quite* as crisp the second day, but the flavors meld beautifully. I like to eat leftovers for breakfast, too!

  • Cheri says:

    Is this picture for this recipe? Just curious, I do plan to try making these.
    I don’t see any coconut milk in the picture – they don’t look creamy like everyone describes.

  • Cheri says:

    Is this picture for this recipe? Just curious, I do plan to try making these.
    I don’t see any coconut milk in the picture – they don’t look creamy like everyone describes.

  • Drew says:

    This looks great! I’ve included a link to this recipe over on my gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes post on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kayla says:

    My sister is allergic to almonds. Is there a good substitute? These sound amazing.

  • Owen says:

    First off. These are absolutely amazing. I’ve never tasted a vegetable so good. So both in your book and in this article you say “during the braising process the sliced almonds….” but in your directions you don’t add the sliced almonds until AFTER the braising process. What’s up with that? Am I misunderstanding something or is there an error?

    We ended up using pecans because we didn’t actually have almonds at home. still. 10/10 amazing!

  • Patty says:

    Made this last night. One of the very best green bean recipes yet. Thank you. You were right about nibbling on the coconut roasted almonds; delicious.

  • KariVery says:

    Have had your book for a while now, but for some reason never tried this recipe until this week. I made a double batch because I needed things easy this week. AMAZING! Not only do I love it, but I’ve been taking them to work for lunch and every time a co-worker has tried them they rave – even one guy who swore he hated coconut (it was kind of fun telling him AFTER he ate some ha ha!)

    I am totally making these instead of the traditional green bean bake at Thanksgiving 🙂

    • I’m really happy you gave this recipe a try! I think it’s my mom’s favorite recipe of any I’ve published — and the leftovers taste just as good (if not better) than the first go-round. Love that you tricked your co-worker! 😉

  • kim a hazel says:

    My highest compliment: I could eat these beans every day of my life!

  • Sonya says:

    I love these and can’t believe I haven’t commented yet as many times as I’ve made them. This weekend I made this dish for dinner with my boyfriend’s parents. My first time to cook for them and they absolutely loved them. His mother even asked for the recipe! Yay! Win!

  • Seraphina says:

    Hi Mel! Just a quick one: how long would these keep for? I’m thinking of cooking them for my weekly cookup, just as a side dish. Otherwise, would it freeze okay? I’m guessing not cos of the coconut milk… Thanks!

    • You can keep them in the fridge for 3-4 days, but they won’t freeze well. Generally speaking, veggies get mushy when they defrost and the texture of coconut milk gets weird.

      • Seraphina says:

        Great, thank you so much for the quick reply! I am attending a wedding tomorrow, which is usually meal prep day.. But these look like they cook up really quickly so I’ll just do them on Sunday. 🙂