Sautéed Green Beans with Toasted Benne Seeds

Cookbook author and chef Alexander Smalls toasts benne seeds, or white sesame seeds, before stirring them into the beans to add layers of toasty, nutty flavor that permeate the whole dish. Covering the pan for part of the cook time delivers tender green beans and perfectly cooked garlic.

Sauteed Green Beans with Toasted Benne Seeds
Photo: Kelly Marshall
Total Time:
15 mins
6 to 8


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons benne seeds or white sesame seeds

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed

  • 1/4 cup unsalted vegetable stock or chicken stock

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste


  1. Cook benne seeds in a small skillet over medium-low, stirring often, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add oil, garlic, thyme, and rosemary; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 45 seconds. Add green beans; cook, tossing often, until heated through, about 1 minute. Add stock. Cover and reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender and bright green, 6 to 8 minutes. Uncover; stir in salt and pepper. Cook, uncovered, until liquid completely evaporates, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in benne seeds; add salt and pepper to taste.

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