Runner bean glut in my allotment! They are delicious in a simple fresh tomato sauce.

London, 13th September 2012 – For a few years I enjoyed sharing a community vegetable patch, but since the beginning of June I have, for the first time, obtained my own allotment. It was too late for sowing and anyway the ground needed to be prepared.

My husband and I have spent the summer digging the soil to remove weeds and roots. This has been a hard and tiring job. After three months, the garden looks very different, and the few plants we put in have begun to grow.

Suddenly, we are experiencing a glut of runner beans. We had been so busy digging that we did not notice that the plants were full of beans to pick!

The runner beans are also popular in Italy during the summer. The easiest way to eat these vegetables is to boil them and season with salt and olive oil or in a quick sauce made with fresh and ripe tomatoes. In the traditional recipe a lot of basil is added to the sauce. In this recipe I have used a mix of basil and chives.

I’m entering this recipe made from scratch using fresh herbs into Karen’s Herbs on a Saturday challenge over at Lavender and lovage and Javelin Warrior’s Made with Love Mondays over at Cookin w/ Luv

19th September update – I’m entering this recipe into No Croutons Required. This is a monthly blogging event that is hosted by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa’s Kitchen. The theme for this month is vegan soup or salad and is hosted by Lisa over at Lisa’s Kitchen.


Recipe with step by step pictures

FAGIOLINI CON SUGO DI POMODORO FRESCO (runner beans in fresh tomato sauce)



  • 200 g runner beans (young, small beans taste better and have not become chewy)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 100 g ripe fresh tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes), cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp water
  • sea salt
  • a pinch of sugar (if the tomatoes are too acid)
  • basil leaves, roughly torn
  • chives, roughly chopped


Bring a saucepan of slightly salted water to the boil.

Wash the runner beans and remove the tips (top and tail). Slice long beans in half and then diagonally if wide.

Add the runner beans to the boiling salted water. Cook the vegetables for 5 – 6 minutes or until al dente (firm to the bite).

Drain the water out of the saucepan and set the vegetables aside.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the garlic. Fry for 3 minutes over a low-medium heat until the garlic is golden brown.

Add the tomatoes, water, salt and sugar (if used) to the garlicky oil. Cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes or until the tomatoes start to soften.

Add the cooked runner beans and herbs to the tomato sauce and mix well.

Serve these runner beans warm or cold.


Click the picture for a printable version of Runner Beans in garlicky tomato sauce recipe!


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42 Responses to Runner bean glut in my allotment! They are delicious in a simple fresh tomato sauce.

  1. Pingback: Folded omelette with Leeks, Mozzarella and Tomato

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  3. rozpaige says:

    Hi Rita,

    My family prepares green beans almost the same as you . . . and ALWAYS very simply. This is the best way to enjoy their flavor as you have demonstrated! Congratulations on obtaining your own little piece of land for your garden. Your husband and you have done a marvelous job of cleaning it up and planting! I hope it gives you years of enjoyment and delicious bounty!


  4. Mmm beans in fresh tomato sauce sounds wonderful, especially if the beans are so beautifully homegrown 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. What a gorgeous salad! And with beans fresh off the vines, I can’t imagine what could taste better.

  6. A PERFECT herbs on Saturday entry and such a wonderful dish thanks Rita! As ever, I am in awe of your lovely photos and the recipe is so simple and yet so elegant, as only the Italians can do! THANKS so much for your support for Herbs on Saturday with yet another tasty and colourful recipe! Karen

  7. I’ve moved to Berlin some time ago and I’ve heard you can have a part in a community garden over here as well. I’d love to do it and I hope I’ll find a spot somewhere. I so envy your fresh veggies. It must taste amazing.

    • Rita says:

      Thank you Marta! Berlin is a fantastic city, I’m sure there are community gardens. I’ve a few German friends and they love growing vegetables! I feel lucky… other people wait up to 3 years for an allotment!!!

  8. Jacqueline says:

    You must submit this to this month’s No Croutons Required. The theme is a soup or salad suitable for vegans and this is perfect, just add a link and email Lisa at

    By the way, your Website is looking fab Rita!

    Tinned Tomatoes

    • Rita says:

      Thank you Jacqueline, when I prepare food for my vegan friends I’m always afraid to add something ‘wrong’. For this reason I have stopped to think what is suitable for a vegan diet and what does not fit. I am so glad that you made me notice that this dish is vegan friendly! I will submit it to No Croutons Required September over at Lisa’s Kitchen.

  9. I have also been inundated with runner beans and have tried pickling them as well as eating them freshly boiled with lots of butter. I love your idea of cooking them with a garlicky tomato sauce and will try it out with the last few remaining runner beans!

  10. Choclette says:

    Congratulations on your allotment, it looks as though you’ve licked it nicely into shape. Ours has done really badly this year, partly because of the rubbish weather and partly because of time. But we do have runner beans. I’d never have thought to have them with tomato sauce. I don’t know why not, I’m sure it’s delicious.

    • Rita says:

      Thank you Choclette! We have spent the summer in London this year so we had time to take care of the plot. We realized that it takes time and dedication (plus nice weather!) to get good results. As for the recipe, the Italians love cooking many foods with tomato and garlic ….

  11. Che buoni i fagiolini al pomodoro, anch’io li faccio così, sono molto gustosi, brava! Un abbraccio

    • Rita says:

      A noi Italiani il pomodoro piace aggiungerlo un po’ a tutto cara Molly! Specialmente d’estate quando si trovano quelli freschi e succosi!

  12. Ma che bel orticello che ti sei fatta! I tuoi fagiolini sono ottimi e chissa’ che sapore intenso visto che li hai coltivati tu! Non c’e’ paragone con quelli del supermercato.
    Questa ricetta e’ semplice e molto gustosa. Brava! Buona settimana. Ciao.

    • Rita says:

      Grazie Alida! E’ una grande soddisfazione mangiare le cose che si coltivano (come tu sai bene, in quanto ho letto sul tuo blog che anche tu hai un orto!!), i fagiolini ho imparato a coglierli quando sono piccoli, in quanto sono dolci e gustosi, assolutamente differenti da quelli del supermercato.

  13. ediblethings says:

    I love bean season! There is a similar Lebanese dish called Loubyeh B’zeit which uses cinnamon and allspice in the tomatoes instead of basil. This is also a really tasty preparation for beans, if you have a lot of them.
    I really love them in raw in salads, and simply steamed too, served with black pepper. If you have any that get a little too big and the pods are tough, I discovered that the bean itself is lovely, and can be used in any dish that you might use borlotti in.
    I also make an excellent chutney with them, but my beans have been pretty slow this year, so I shall be making that later this month.

    • Rita says:

      THANK YOU! So many useful tips on how to prepare the runner beans … the Lebanese recipe sounds very intersting (I love spices). We have forgotten about a few runner beans and I agree: they become chewy when they are large (we learned our lesson now)!

  14. Monet says:

    Hi Rita. Oh my, this makes me want to garden! Thank you for sharing this simple and delicious recipe for green bean goodness. I hope you have a wonderful week!

    • Rita says:

      Dear Monet, for many years I have had my pots on the balcony or windowsill, now I can finally realize my dream of creating an edible garden … and it is a great satisfaction.

  15. Beautiful and delicious Rita! I admire all the hard work you put into your allotment. It looks like a lot of hard work but I’m sure you will reap the rewards 😉

    • Rita says:

      Thank you Jacqueline! Yes, it is hard work and sometimes we feel overwhelmed by this task; on the other hand it is very rewarding to eat food grown by you.

      • Hi Rita,
        Just to say I had this last night – I didn’t have chives but the beans were lovely with the garlic, tomato and basil sauce. I also parboiled some quartered Maris Piper potatoes and added these to the pan. So good I might even have the same again tonight 🙂
        Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

        • Rita says:

          Potatoes are very often combined with green/runner beans in Italy. It is a great mix of flavours. I’m so glad you enjoyed this simple dish!

  16. Lucky you! What a nice surprise. I love beans with tomato sauce and make it regularly. Will have to add some basil next time!

  17. petra08 says:

    This looks great! I love the no fuzz cooking and adding the garlic and tomato flavour!

  18. Anna says:

    Strange enough, today my lunch box is runner beans.
    They are a leftover from my kid’s dinner last night. My runner beans unfortunately are only boiled (not even salt or oil), therefore not very tasty.
    Never thought of mixing it with a garlic and basil tomato sauce. Very inspiring…. next time my lunch of leftovers will be more spicy…

    • Rita says:

      There are two good things regarding eating runner beans without salt or oil: they are low in calories and you can eat with your hands!! I agree with you: if you use a garlicky sauce your lunch becomes more tasty.

  19. Claudia says:

    Buonissimi i fagiolini!!!! anche io li faccio spesso al sugo.. più che altro una varietà chiamata corallina!!!! buona giornata!! 🙂

    • Rita says:

      Cara Claudia, penso proprio che i fagioli corallo (corallina) sono simili ai runner beans Inglesi (o forse persino gli stessi)! Comunque buoni con il sughetto veloce!

  20. I’m always looking for new ideas for using beans – these really resemble green beans which I love but I’ve never tried this preparation before. This sounds wonderful and thanks so much for sharing with Made with Love Mondays…

    • Rita says:

      This is a simple and tasty way for preparing green / runner beans. I often eat beans seasoned with olive oil and vinegar, this quick sauce is a good alternative to it. I’m glad to participate to Made with Love Mondays.

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