These bacon-wrapped green bean bundles are the perfect holiday side dish and are baked in a zesty homemade Catalina dressing. It's a wonderful gluten-free and dairy-free side dish that is always a crowd-pleaser!
About the recipe
Bacon-wrapped green bean bundles have been my favorite holiday side dish since I was a little kid. In fact, it was the first Christmas dinner dish that my mom taught me how to make! I have many memories of sitting at the kitchen counter for an hour or so, wrapping enough green beans in bacon to feed at least 10 people!
This side dish is classic Southern holiday fare and has been for decades. The version I learned how to make as a child was just three ingredients: canned French-style green beans, bacon, and a bottle of Catalina dressing. Do you remember Catalina? I was surprised to learn it's not made anymore!
The recipe I'm sharing with you today is my take on the traditional version and includes fresh green beans, bacon, and a homemade Catalina dressing that, dare I say, is tastier than the original store-bought version. I'm so happy to be passing down this family-favorite holiday recipe and hope to be making it for years to come!
- Red wine vinegar
- Brown sugar (or sub with honey)
- Worcestershire sauce
- Smoked paprika
- Onion and garlic powder
- Avocado or grapeseed oil
- Salt and pepper
- Bacon (not thick-cut)
- Fresh green beans
Step 1: Whirl the ingredients for the Catalina dressing together in a blender, except for the oil. Once it's all blended up, slowly drizzle in the oil with the blender on low to create a stable emulsion. This step can be done up to 1 week ahead of time!
Step 2: Blanch the green beans by placing them in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, then plunge them into an ice bath for a minute. Drain, then pat dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Cut the bacon strips into thirds. Use one piece to wrap 5-6 green beans in, then place the bundle seam side-down into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
Step 4: Pour the entire amount of the Catalina dressing evenly over the top of the green bean bundles.
Step 5: Cover the green beans with foil until ready to bake. The dish can be assembled up to 1 day ahead of time. Bake at 400°F for 25-30 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the edges of the bacon and beans are crisp.
Below are some of my best tips for making these green bean bundles, as well as some answers to commonly asked questions!
Can you use canned or frozen green beans for green bean bundles?
As I mentioned earlier in the post, we used to use canned French-style green beans for green bean bundles. While you can use canned or frozen and thawed green beans, I think the texture of fresh blanched green beans is best in this recipe. You can also use fresh French green beans, or haricot verts, for a fancy version!
What kind of bacon is best for bacon-wrapped green beans?
I like to buy uncured bacon and recommend to just use regular-cut, as thick-cut bacon is harder to wrap around the beans and won't cook through as quickly. I'm sure you could also use turkey bacon, but I'd recommend cutting those slices in half instead of thirds since they are shorter in length.
Can you make green bean bundles ahead of time?
This is a WONDERFUL make-ahead side dish and can be done up to a day in advance. Just cover the unbaked green bean bundles, then bake the next day when ready to serve!
What dishes go best with green bean bundles?
The delicious sauce the green beans are baked in tastes amazing with baked or mashed potatoes. It would also pair very nicely with risotto or a wild rice dish!
To complete your holiday dinner, I would suggest pairing this green bean side dish with Parmesan Herb Duchess Potatoes, Balsamic-Glazed Roasted Mushrooms, Reverse-Sear Beef Tenderloin, and my Very Best Bread Pudding for dessert!
Are you ready to make these Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles? I’m so excited for you to try this recipe. Once you get the chance to make it, please let me know how it turns out for you!
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Bacon-Wrapped Green Bean Bundles
For the sauce:
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup brown sugar (can also substitute with honey)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup grapeseed or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for topping
For the green bean bundles:
- 24 ounces (1 ½ pounds) fresh green beans, trimmed
- ¼ cup Kosher salt
- 8 ounces bacon, each piece cut into thirds (this is ⅔ of a 12-ounce package; do not use thick-cut bacon)
For the sauce:
- In a blender or small food processor, combine the red wine vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire, smoked paprika, onion, and garlic powder. Cover and blend until smooth. With the blender or processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil through the top vent until the dressing is thoroughly emulsified. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 week ahead of time.
- Alternatively, you can make the dressing with a whisk in a large bowl, just be sure to slowly drizzle in the oil after the other ingredients are combined.
For the green bean bundles:
- When ready to bake the green beans, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the ¼ cup of salt, followed by the green beans. Boil the green beans for one minute, then transfer with a fine mesh sieve to a large bowl of ice water. Let the beans sit in the ice water for a minute or so, then transfer to a paper towel and pat them dry.
- Grease a large 9x13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Wrap 5-6 beans in one of the bacon pieces. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining amount of beans and bacon pieces. You should have about 24 bundles total.This step can be done up to 1 day ahead, if desired.
- Pour the entire amount of the sauce over the green beans bundles, coating the top of each one evenly. Bake the green beans for 20-30 minutes until the bacon is cooked and the tops and edges are crisp. Serve while hot!