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Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan are Stupid Good

by | Sep 22, 2021 | Recipes

Seemingly overly simplistic, these Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan are deceptively delicious! Using pantry staples like canned green beans and potatoes, garlic powder, and fresh parmesan cheese, this side dish comes together in a very quick 15 minutes.

close up of stupid good parmesan green beans and potatoes

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When I first moved to Northern Virginia, I rented a room in a house with two Honor Guard Coasties. (What’s a Coastie? A Coastie is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard). They were both long-time members and occasionally a senior Coastie named Bob would crash on our couch when he was in town for work. Maybe this recipe has roots in the South since Bob lived in the Carolinas; I’m not sure.

But what I am sure of is that this recipe, based on what Bob shared with me, is ridiculously easy and crazy delicious!



The Origins of Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan

Bob, as I knew him, was a man of simplicity. He was kind, generous, and worked hard. And his idea of a good evening was a simple meal and a tasty adult beverage in his hand. One day, Bob was in the kitchen cooking after work and the deliciousness was wafting through the house all the way to my bedroom upstairs.

I hadn’t been even thinking about food at the time and suddenly I was very hungry! Isn’t that how all good meals seem to start?? The ones where you couldn’t give two shakes about food, and then you get a whiff and out of the blue you’re ravenous!

When I went downstairs, I saw Bob warming through a mixture of green beans and potatoes. We got to talking about the dish–how it was made and how he’d learned of it. He told me that it was one of the most simple meals he’d come across. And that it was deceivingly delicious.

close up of parmesan green beans and potatoes in small serving bowl

Shock & Awe

Despite the wonderful aromas that’d attracted me to the kitchen, I was skeptical. He saw the doubting look on my face and offered to share some with me. Just before he plated the meal, he gave the veggies a very generous mixture of shelf-stable grated parmesan cheese. I’ll admit it, I was still skeptical.

I was shocked at how delicious these simple ingredients were together! The green beans perfectly cut through the salty, starchy goodness of the potatoes and parmesan. Never in a million years would I have thought to mix potatoes and green beans in a dish. Bob was totally right, this combo was deceptively delicious!

I’d never had canned potatoes before. They always seemed odd to me at the grocery store since fresh potatoes are so readily available. Even though it was quite tasty, I never made this concoction while living with the Coasties. But a few years after moving out of the house, it crossed my mind and I gave it a try.

close up of served green beans and potatoes

Gonna try out this recipe?

Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

How to Level Up Canned Green Beans and Potatoes

The dish Bob made was delicious in its simplicity. But I felt there were a few things I could do differently that would make this dish a skosh better.

1. Sauté Using Olive Oil

Over the years, I found that I prefer to start the potatoes off with some olive oil in a skillet. By sautéing the potatoes in the olive oil, you can achieve a bit of a crusty, browned exterior. This exterior helps them hold up better against the green beans–especially when it’s time to stir in the parmesan cheese.

close up of golden brown exterior of potatoes

2. Fresh Ingredients vs Convenience Items

While it’s easy to get fresh green beans and potatoes year-round, I kept the canned versions because of the sodium content they naturally deliver to the dish. When these veggies are canned with salt, the salt permeates throughout the beans and potatoes. Using fresh green beans give this dish a more vegetal flavor that I don’t prefer. The potatoes can go either way for me in regards to taste. I stick with the canned version because it makes this dish super quick to make.

I also prefer to use freshly grated parmesan instead of the shelf stable stuff. The taste is great with both options. However, after finding out the additives in the shelf stable stuff, I try to avoid it. It’s not that it’s bad. It’s that I ask myself, “Why use the stuff with an additive if you can easily (and affordably) obtain a wedge of fresh parmesan cheese?”

overhead shot of potatoes, green beans, olive oil, and fresh grated parmesan cheese

3. Use Garlic as a Flavor Booster

The final change I made to what Bob showed me all those years ago is adding in some garlic powder. The dish was already salty and savory, but the garlic makes it hit a little bit different–in a good way.

Ingredients For Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan

overhead shot of ingredients to make easy parmesan potatoes and green beans
  • Canned Potatoes – Canned potatoes are already cooked, reducing the overall time to make this simple side dish. Fresh potatoes give great flavor to this dish. If you prefer to use them, but they take a lot longer to make. To keep this a simple and super quick dish, I stick with the canned version.
  • Canned “Cut” Green Beans – Canned green beans have a less earthy, vegetal quality than their fresh counterparts. For this reason I stick with canned green beans in this recipe.
  • Olive Oil – I like to use extra virgin olive oil, but whatever kind of olive oil you prefer will do the trick.
  • Parmesan Cheese – This is where I personally think it’s imperative to use a fresh ingredient. Shelf stable parmesan cheese comes with additives that ensure it doesn’t go rancid in your pantry. Pre-shredded parmesan cheese comes with additives that ensure the cheese shreds don’t stick to one another, and these additives impact how the cheese melts. Fresh parmesan cheese that you grate or shred yourself at home will give you the best melt-ability.
  • Garlic Powder – These Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan are super tasty without the garlic powder, so if you don’t want garlic breath you can skip on this. BUT, be warned that these green beans and potatoes are even better with the garlic—so I highly encourage you to use it!

Pin this recipe to make later!

overhead shot of recipe for pinterest pin

Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Use Fresh Green Beans – If you love the earthy, vegetal taste, then swapping out the canned version for fresh in this dish would make total sense.
  • Sub Fresh Potatoes – If you have the time, subbing fresh potatoes in for the canned kind will help you achieve a nicer, crustier golden brown exterior on the potatoes.
  • Try Fresh Garlic – For all my garlic lovers whose tastes can’t be quelled with just a pinch or two of garlic powder, swap it out for a clove or two of fresh garlic. Sliced or minced is preferred. If you have the time, and patience, fresh roasted garlic would be a flavor bomb in this dish.
  • Sharpen the Cheese Flavor – If you like a cheese with a bit more bite, swap the parmesan for a romano, pecorino romano, or parmigiano-reggiano.
  • Mellow the Cheese Flavor – You can mellow the cheese flavor by using another hard cheese that is nuttier in flavor like an asiago. Or you could totally mellow it by swapping the parm for a part skim, low moisture mozzarella. If you go for the mozzarella option, don’t stir the cheese into the green beans and potatoes mixture; instead sprinkle the mozzarella over the veggies and then cover your skillet with a lid for 2-4 minutes, or until the mozzarella melts.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

What to Remember – Make sure that you flip/stir the potatoes fairly frequently as you’re browning them. Remember, the canned potatoes are already cooked, so you’re just giving them a light golden brown exterior. If you leave them on one side too long, they can easily burn and turn your dish into a bitter tasting one.

What to Avoid – Because there’s so much sodium in the canned veggies and the parmesan cheese, you really want to use a gentle hand when seasoning this dish with salt and pepper. Add less salt than you think you’ll need and then taste the dish to see if you really need additional salt.

Ways to Use Easy Green Beans and Potatoes Leftovers – I know this will sound weird, but you can turn these green beans and potatoes into a hearty hash. Just add your favorite protein; I like ground hamburger, ground turkey, and diced steak or chicken. Sometimes I will turn the leftovers of this dish into a hash and serve with scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Recipes That Go Well with Easy Green Beans and Potatoes – This side dish would make a great accompaniment to my Simple, Comforting Smothered Steak with Onions or my Easy Versatile One Pan Creamy Chicken and Spinach Skillet.

overhead shot of served green beans and potatoes with parmesan cheese

Recipe Notes

Storage – Store leftovers in an airtight glass or plastic container in the refrigerator. Stored properly, leftovers will last up to 7 days.

Reheating – Leftovers can be reheated either in the microwave or on the stove top in a large skillet over medium heat.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of these Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan is 3/4 cup. This recipe makes 4 servings. Each serving has approximately 108 calories, 12 g of carbohydrates, 2 g of protein, 6 g of fat, and 2 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan

Step 1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Let the oil warm through, about 2 minutes. Then, add in the potatoes. Saute the potatoes for 9 minutes, making sure to flip the potatoes every 3 minutes, until they have a golden brown exterior.

overhead shot of potatoes in skillet

Step 2. Add the green beans to the potatoes in the skillet. Stir to combine. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring about every minute. Sprinkle the green beans and potatoes with the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir mixture to evenly distribute the spices. Continue cooking another 2 minutes, stirring every so often.

overhead shot of potatoes and green beans with seasonings

Step 3. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the veggie mixture. Gently stir the green beans and potatoes to distribute the cheese. Cover the skillet and turn off the heat of the burner. Let stand 2-3 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.

overhead shot of potatoes and green beans in skillet sprinkled with parmesan cheese

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of fresh potatoes do you suggest using in this dish?

I would use red potatoes for their color. They are a waxy potato, which means their shape will hold up better in this dish. They also cook more quickly than a starchy potato.

Could I swap out cut canned green beans for the “french style” version?

I would not recommend using french style canned green beans in this dish because they are much more fragile than the “cut” style. I haven’t tried them in this dish, but I think because they aren’t as sturdy as the “cut” style that they would break apart very quickly in all of the stirring when making this dish.

Can I use a salty cheese like feta in place of the parmesan?

Absolutely! Feta is a great salty cheese choice for this dish. There will be a bit of a tang that doesn’t come with parmesan, but I think it would still compliment the green beans and potatoes very well.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

close up of stupid good parmesan green beans and potatoes

Easy Green Beans and Potatoes with Parmesan

Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Simple, deceptively delicious 15-minute side dish that uses canned green beans and potatoes, garlic powder, and fresh parmesan cheese.


  • 1 can sliced potatoes (low sodium or no salt added version is preferred)
  • 1 can green beans (low sodium or no salt added version is preferred)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pepper to taste


1. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat and let warm through for 1-2 minutes.

2. Add the canned potatoes to the skillet. Cook for 3 minutes, then flip potatoes.

3. Cook another 3 minutes, then flip again. Repeat this process once more.

4. Add the canned green beans to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes.

5. Sprinkle seasonings over the green beans and potatoes; stir well to work the seasonings into the veggies. Continue cooking another 2-3 minutes.

6. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the veggie mixture. Gently stir the cheese into the veggies. Then cover with a lid and turn off the heat of the burner. Let stand 2-3 minutes for the cheese to fully melt before serving.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.


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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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