Green Chile Green Beans

by Min Merrell
Green Chile Green Beans

Planning your holiday side dishes yet? How about Green Chile Green Beans, and give that canned mushroom soup green bean casserole a holiday of its own.

My cousin Eric introduced me to Green Chile Green Beans, a cherished family recipe. Eric’s mom (my Aunt Jan) has made it for ages, keeping her West Virginia-raised kids in touch with their New Mexico roots. Eric can’t mention this dish without a longing groan and maybe a mist in his eyes. He loves it.   

Every family has a recipe or two like this that may seem a little quirky to outsiders.  

Green Chile Green Beans is basically chile con queso cheese dip disguised as a vegetable. It’s especially convenient for sneaking more vegetables past nachos fans. Eric’s ratio for his “nacho” beans is roughly three parts cheese sauce to one part beans. I’d throw in a second two-pound bag of green beans in the following recipe and still have plenty of cheese sauce. 

You can use canned green chiles, but if you’ve got access to roasted New Mexico green chiles, the dish will be better. A quick Google search offers plenty of chile sources around Albuquerque and Hatch, NM, that can overnight to you. The chile arrives in frozen zip-locked portions, chopped and ready to use. The mild are plenty spicy and the most versatile.

Sure, you can use real cheese, but Velveeta is a tradition. Make the cheese sauce just before dinner and stir in the cooked green beans to warm. You’ll be spooning these all over the dressing and mashed potatoes, forgetting all about the gravy. We never have any left over. Eric won’t allow it. 


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