HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 9, 2009 12:07 AM

Difference between Green Beans and Haricot Verts?

I can't for the life of me figure out the difference between a green bean and a French green bean or "haricot vert". I'd like to buy some at the farmer's market, but they all look the same to me. They do have these really long ones too, but I think those are used in Asian cooking. Any tips?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Well, haricots verts ARE green beans. The French variety is generally slimmer and longer than the 'generic' green bean. Wegmans had them for a while and I love them blanched and then stir-fried with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

    5 Replies
    1. re: linguafood

      Well lingua I love your choice and serving suggestion, but are you not intending to say vert and not verts. But let's hear it for Wegman's, the only thing I miss about Rochester winters.

      1. re: Tommylee

        Since I tend to have more than one green bean as a side, I did indeed intend to say verts, not vert.

        Also, Wegmans has no apostrophe '-)

        1. re: linguafood

          Well, Wikipedia says "haricots verts", so it must be right.

          Instinctively, I'd have said "haricots vert" (plural of bean, but still green)

          1. re: Harters

            Those silly, silly Frenchies '-D

            Then again, German, Italian and Spanish do the same, so.... guess that whole damn 'old' Europe is being silly.

            1. re: linguafood

              As you know, lingua, the French are the ones who describe as "grey", those little shrimps which are obviously "brown". Colour blind or just plain silly.

    2. You know frozen green beans that are called "French" but they're really just cut in half, well this is what they're simulating. It's a variety of string bean that is skinny. I like them sauteed with butter and shallots.

      1. Haricort Vert>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Double the Price <VBG>

        Americans are gullible

        8 Replies
        1. re: bagelman01

          But sometimes I don't want a big fat string bean.

          1. re: coll

            Then don't buy 'Italian ' green beans

            Just look for skinny green beans when sifting through the bin in the market, and voila-Haricort Vert

            1. re: bagelman01

              Hmm ... usually the green beans in the green bean bins that I see are fat, where as the haricots verts are at least half the diameter of regular green beans.

              In terms of "Frenched" green beans, I believe that "Frenching" just refers to the cut of the beans. This may also apply to french fries - "Frenched" potatoes.

              1. re: bagelman01

                I mostly buy my green beans in season at the local farm, and they are all very fat. Then at Thanksgiving, I pay whatever they want for hericot vert at the grocery store. Because the dish wouldn't be the same, they are much more tender then underripe regular green beans. But if you like the fat ones, I don't blame you for being price conscious. I'm the only one in my house that eats the fat ones.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  "Skinny green beans" are definitely NOT the same as "Haricot Verts" (aka "filet beans"). The latter are specially bred to have a full bean flavor when extremely small, tender, thin, & young. "Skinny green beans" will be strongly lacking in flavor by comparison.

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Aren't the Italian beans wide and flat?

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      Yes, they are. And "Haricot Vert" are not Italian beans. They're French. Nor are "Italian" beans in any way like regular green/string beans.

                      Italian (aka "Romano") beans are wide & flat, & can be eaten young as fresh pod beans, or shelled & eaten as fresh shell beans, or allowed to mature & dry, & then shelled & used as dried shell beans.

                      "Haricot Vert" are only eaten fresh at a very young stage, but they can also be allowed to mature & dry, & can then be shelled & used as dry beans also. The only edible stage that is skipped is allowing the beans to get as large as regular snap beans, as true Haricot Vert become rather tough at the stage that we normally eat regular green beans at.

                2. I grow about 3 different varieties of "French Filet" green beans.... they are all for the most part very thin....about 4 inches in length, extremely tender. Some varieties are a bit longer...equally delicious. "haricots Vert" is the French translation of Green Beans
                  There is also the term "frenched" when referring to a green bean which means cut into thin strips lengthwise.

                  1. In the UK, we tend not to use foreign terms, like "haricots vert" for things when there's an English expression, like "green beans". And "green beans" used to be generally known as "French beans". No doubt due to "country of origin" labelling, they're not any longer called that in supermarkets (although they are if you're buying seeds or plants to grow your own).

                    Now they're generally called "green beans". Or "fine beans" or "dwarf beans" if the supermarket wants to screw more money out of you. Current prices in my usual supermarket:

                    green beans - £3.72 per kg
                    dwarf beans - £4.30 per kg
                    fine beans - £5.70 per kg
                    organic dwarf beans - £5.96 per kg

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Harters

                      I think you're on to something. Today at the farmer's market there was only one place that sold "haricot verts", or French green beans, and lo and behold they looked almost exactly like the other green bean sellers, at a higher price. So I selected the thinner green beans from the cheaper green bean sellers, and am happy. But I also wonder whether a thin green bean and a regular haricot vert are the same thing. They looks the same, but do they taste the same? Are they the same? That is the question.