I grew runner beans for the first time this year and boy, have they delivered! I bought plants rather than seeds and they have proved to be one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in the garden. Our freezer is packed with frozen beans and the last of them are still growing as I cut back around them in preparation for winter.


Aside from finding the time to pick all the beans, one of the issues was, when to pick the beans?  When they’re small and less stringy, or big and bursting with fully grown beans?  As I’ve only been picking every few days or so, I’ve inevitably ended up with a mix, but it’s definitely true that it’s best to avoid either end of the scale!

But which size is best?

But which size is best?

Looking for a way to use up some of this bounty, rather than another day of boiled runner beans, I came up with this simple recipe, which made a perfect side dish to a nut roast, or a light lunch served with rice.  I made a double batch to freeze some, as here, so halve the quantity if you’re not so flush with beans!

We’ve also done well with tomatoes this year, as the weather was so great, so I was able to make this with our own plum tomatoes.  Tins of tomatoes would work just as well.

Mediterranean Runner Beans

1lb runner beans
1/2lb plum tomatoes, skinned, or 2 tins
2 tsp sundried tomato puree
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 onions, chopped
Large handful of basil, chopped, or 2 tsp dried basil
2 tbslp olive oil

Fry the onions and garlic in the oil over a medium heat for around 5 minutes.  Add the rest of the ingredients and cook gently for around 20 minutes.  (You can speed up cooking time, but the flavour won’t be as dense).  Add small amounts of water if the mixture looks like it might dry out.


Steamy Mediterranean runner beans!