VegBox Recipes

Runner Beans

Runner Beans
Late summer and early autumn are the classic "runner bean season".

The season starts with fresh, young beans, with delicious, soft pods. And it ends with rather tough, stringy pods and oversized beans.

Chances are you'll love your runner beans early in the season but might not be quite so keen by the end.

We get so many of them in our veg box that we've had to get creative with how we use them, to prevent "runner bean fatigue"...

So here are some interesting runner bean facts and a list of all the runner bean recipes we've tested.

In Season?
From June until the end of November.
Early in the season, the pods are large but the beans are quite small and flat. These will be tender runner beans, suitable for stir fries and quick cooking.

Later in the season, the beans will have developed a tougher, more Stringy skin. The pods take much longer to cook and may even get to the size where you'd rather just eat the beans and leave the pods.

Choose pods that feel firm and are undamaged.
Store the pods in a cool, dry place for 3-4 days.

We tend to keep them in a paper bag in a vegetable drawer, rather than in the fridge. The moist climate in the fridge seems to make runner beans go soft quite quickly.

You can also freeze them. Cut them into chunks and cook them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well and freeze in bags.
You can either make a runner bean part of a complete recipe or serve it as a side vegetable.

Runner beans are usually "topped and tailed" (cut off the ends) and then either cut into chunks (1 to 2 inches long) or sliced finely.

If you slice them finely, cooking them is as simple as boiling in water for 3-4 minutes until tender.

If they have got to the tough and stringy stage, you can remove the strings by topping and tailing each bean and then slicing off the long edges. It's a bit more work, but makes them infinitely more edible! Even so, they might take up to 10 minutes to cook.

More Runner Beans Information

Originally from South America, runner beans are one of the most common garden vegetables in the UK.

They are a traditional British vegetable and brighten up your garden with orange flowers preceding the long green beans.

They're easy to grow and have been cultivated for thousands of years.

The main season for runner beans is from June to September - depending on the weather...

They're a good source of viyamin C, protein and also folic acid, yet 100g of steamed beans contain less than 20 calories!

Garlic Runner Beans
The garlic and butter beans add a creamy flavour to the runner beans. This is a lovely way to serve runner beans, particularly if you're getting bored with just steaming or boiling them.

Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 300g runner beans
  • 200 g butter beans (or cannellini), either rinsed from a can or defrosted from previously cooked, frozen beans
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 15ml olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 100ml white wine (optional - add an extra 100ml water, if not using the wine)
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 100ml vegetable stock (or water plus 1 stock cube)
  • 1 level tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley and chives, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste

  1. Gently heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Stir well. Saute, covered, for 5 minutes..

  2. Add the tomatoes, chopped

  3. Cook gently until the onions are soft.

  4. Wash the runner beans and trim the ends. Then slice them into 2cm chunks.

  5. Add the runner beans and butter beans (or cannellini), with the wine, balsamic vinegar and stock. Stir well. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the runner beans are soft.

  6. If your sauce needs thickening, use the cornflour: mix it with 2 tablespoons cold water and then stir quickly into the runner bean mixture.

  7. Add the herbs and taste before seasoning with salt and pepper (the stock cube may already have quite a lot of salt in).


20 minutes

Suggested Runner bean Recipes

Autumn Vegetable Stir Fry

This is a quick and easy way of using up any leftovers in your autumn veg box. We've listed the ingredients we most commonly use, but you can adapt this recipe to suit whatever you've got spare.

Garlic Runner Beans

The garlic and butter beans add a creamy flavour to the runner beans. This is a lovely way to serve runner beans, particularly if you're getting bored with just steaming or boiling them.

Lentil Dahl

This is a warming autumn supper, packed with nutrients from the lentils and veggies, giving your system a real boost.

Lentil Spag Bol

Spaghetti Bolognese doesn't have to be reserved for meat-eaters. If you fancy a change, this veggie option is delicious. And it's a good way of using up spare veg box tomatoes and onions. See the variations for ideas of how to use up spare carrots, mushrooms or even runner beans in this dish.

Pickled Runner Beans

This classic recipe has been passed onto us by VegBox reader Steve in KL. Steve got the recipe from his Nan, who he tells us "was a great old girl" who made everything, including very potent barley wine.

Red Onion Risotto

You can use red onions in place of white onions in most recipes. But here's one that we've developed specially for in-season red onions. It's great with added spinach, black nero cabbage or even kale.

Runner Bean Stir Fry

A deliciously quick and easy recipe for runner beans. The ginger and soy in the sauce go well with the sesame seeds and the kidney beans add a wonderful colour and extra protein.

Seasonal Veggie Casserole with Mushrooms, Nuts, Rice and Chickpeas

This recipe is SO delicious, AND itís vegan. Double bubble!

Secret Vegetable Pasta

This pasta recipe is a great way of using up seasonal veg box leftovers. And it's a great way of sneaking in some extra veggies without any fussy eaters noticing! This version uses runner beans and courgettes.

Spiced Runner Beans

Finely sliced runner beans are such a tender and delicious vegetable and these Indian-style spices really bring out the flavour. Quick to make and excellent with rice or to accompany other Indian dishes.

Thai Style Squash Curry

This curry is easy to make and pretty quick. Just make the paste, chop the veggies and cook it all in a wok (or large frying pan) with the coconut milk. Works well with pumpkin, too.

Traditional Runner Beans

This is a quick and simple way of cooking in-season runner beans.

Vegetable Tempura

Although it's deep-fried, as long as the oil is hot enough and you drain the tempura after cooking, it's not that bad...! Quick, delicious and a nice change from sticking your veg in a curry!

Warm Summer Courgette & Runner Bean Salad With Artichoke Hearts

This delicious summer salad is best served warm. The courgettes and runner beans take on a buttery flavour, enhanced by the creaminess of the artichoke hearts.

Got one? Send us your recipe!

Back to ingredients index

Back to main recipe index

Bookmark and Share

BBC LONDON Featured on Badge