How to deal with runner bean glut (plus two delicious bean salads to make)

It’s time to get creative when the beans are running rampant.

Words: Jenny Somervell

Beans can be steamed, stir-fried, blanched and frozen in resealable bags, made into pickles and chutneys, incorporated into soups and casseroles, or added to salads.


The key to delicious beans is to get them al dente, or still slightly firm to the bite. Cook in boiling, salted water until the beans are just tender, but still bright green and slightly crisp, around 5-10 minutes – start taste-testing at the 4-minute mark. All you need to enjoy the full bean flavour is butter, freshly-ground pepper, and a little sea salt.

READ MORE: 11 tips for growing runner beans in New Zealand


• finely chopped basil, chives, tarragon, savoury or parsley
• crisp, fried bacon
• slivered almonds
• feta cheese
• mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, peppers, beetroot or chilli

Recipe: Bean, Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Salad

Time: 5 minutes
Serves: 4


200g beans
100g baby rocket
400g cooked baby beetroot
100g goat’s cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
Optional: walnuts


Blanch the beans and cut into 4cm lengths. Arrange on a platter with rocket, beetroot, crumbled cheese, and walnuts if you wish. Drizzle over olive oil and season well.

Recipe: Warm Bean, Almond & Orange Salad

Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4


250g beans
5-6 cloves garlic
½ red capsicum
¼ red onion
12 almonds, sliced
rind & juice of an orange
knob of butter
1-2 tbsp good quality extra virgin oil
fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp chopped French tarragon
Optional: blue cheese or feta

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1. Top and tail the beans, cut to finger-length, then boil in salted water until just tender, around 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside in the hot water.

2. Peel and slice the garlic. Remove seeds from the capsicum and slice thinly. Thinly slice the red onion.

3. Heat the butter in a heavy pan, then add the garlic and almonds. Toss once or twice to coat the almonds, then add the sliced capsicums and gently sauté for 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the grated orange rind, toss, and then add the orange juice.

5. Drain the beans and add to the pan, along with the onion and tarragon. Sauté just long enough to bring everything to heat, then remove to the serving dish.

6. Top with a generous grind of black pepper, then drizzle with the oil.

7. If your dining companion will let you (mine won’t), add a little crumbled or cubed blue cheese or feta.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

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