Friday, 12 August 2016

Runner Beans Bonanza

PERSONALLY, I like my runner beans simply steamed and seasoned but if you have a glut you may be looking for some different ways of cooking them.

Here are a few fancy pants and simple recipes!

Runner Bean Ratatouille

This tasty ratatouille is by Riverford Organics. They have lots of great recipes on their site at


400g runner beans, topped, tailed and stringed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
6 large tomatoes or 1x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme


If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by cutting a cross in the skin at one end and plunging into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, until the cut skin starts to peel back. Remove from the water, peel and roughly chop.

Slice the runner beans diagonally into long strips about 1cm wide.

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onions and sweat until translucent and beginning to soften.
Add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, sugar and herbs.

Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick – if it is still thin, remove the pan lid and bubble until it reaches the right consistency.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Garlicky Runner Beans

This is so simple. Fry some crushed garlic and red onion in olive oil until the onions start to caramelise.  At this stage you can some diced pancetta if you want to. Add prepared beans and fry until they start to turn tender but are still crisp. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. The proportions are up to you. I use two garlic cloves and one onion to two big double handfuls of prepared beans.

Italian Runner Bean Salad

You don’t have to cook runner beans. They are perfect for a salad. Slice up young and tender prepared beans, add  pecorino or parmesan cheese to taste. Then add your favourite Italian dressing. Here’s a basic dressing recipe:


6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Pinch of dried oregano


Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thai Chicken and Runner Bean Salad

For something more exotic and very tasty, this chicken and salad recipe ticks all the boxes. 


200g runner beans
1 red chilli, halved and finely sliced   
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 lemongrass, finely sliced
2cm piece ginger, shredded
2 cooked, skinless chicken breasts
small bunch mint leaves
large bunch Thai basil or coriander
1 lime cut in wedges to serve
 steamed jasmine rice
Coconut dressing
100ml coconut cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
juice 1 lime
1 bird's eye chilli, finely diced


String runner beans. Cut into strips using a bean slicer, or on the diagonal into 2cm pieces. Cook the beans in simmering salted water for 4 mins or until tender but still bright green. Drain and put in a bowl with the chilli, shallots, lemongrass and ginger. Pull the chicken breasts into shreds using your fingers and add to the bowl.

Make the dressing. Mix the coconut with the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, lime and chilli. Tear the mint and Thai basil over the chicken and toss everything together. Pile onto a plate and pour over the dressing. Serve with the lime to squeeze over and jasmine rice.

Take a look at these websites for more kitchen information and pictures:
Country Kitchens
Kitchen Gallery
Kitchen Talk

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