Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes are a deliciously light and flavoursome dish that can be eaten either as a simple main meal, starter or side. Gluten free, and optional dairy free/vegan.
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Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes – a recipe from my childhood
This recipe for Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes is special. Why? Because it comes straight from my childhood. And is one of those precious inheritance recipes that needs to be passed on to my daughter. It’s part of my heritage, which makes it part of hers… Besides… It’s incredibly delicious and super-healthy too.
It is, for me, a favourite dish that was cooked by my mother and her mother before that. Although my mother grew up in the UK, her parents were both Italian and with that came a love of food and cooking. My husband often looks bemused about some of the things I ate as a child. His parents were very British and strictly ‘meat and 2 veg’… They still are. But I thank my lucky stars that I came from foodie roots… It opened my eyes and my palate from a very early age to things my friends had never even imagined.
Cooking Green Beans in Tomatoes with summer garden veg…
This particular Italian dish is authentic and simple to prepare. But it is also the perfect dish to make when there is a glut of garden beans… if you have them. And we do… Every year we grow them… winding their way up bamboo poles at the end of the garden, until they finally give up their precious cargo to our dinner plates… Tender green, skinny sticks that find their way into everything from Green Bean and Caramelised Onion Chutney, to Niçoise Salad. But they are also adored when they are simply steamed or boiled al dente as a side dish… Or blanched and flash-frozen in bags to be enjoyed through the winter months.
Succulent and simple Green Beans and Tomatoes however is perhaps the favourite of all our green bean dishes… A dish with rustic charm which is packed with the flavours of a Mediterranean summer (and of course… my childhood).
What type of beans should be used to cook Green Beans and Tomatoes?
While there appear to be many varieties of green bean, in my head and for the purpose of cooking Green Beans and Tomatoes, they fall into two basic camps… Skinny, rounded French Beans (and their similar-shaped cousins, the String Bean and Long Bean)… And the flatter, wider Runner Beans or Flat Beans. Then on top of that, you may also come across beans which look similar to the French-type for shape, but are coloured either purple or yellow…
When it comes to cooking beans in tomatoes, any and all of these are good. Use whatever you have to hand or prefer. In fact, why not go all out and use a bean combination for a colourful plate of deliciousness?
How to prepare the beans for cooking
Depending on which beans you use, they will need to be prepared a little before they are cooked…
- Wash them thoroughly to get rid of any bugs, blackfly or pesticides.
- If the beans are older, you may need to de-string them by peeling off the thick side-seam.
- Trim the ends of the beans (all varieties) with a sharp knife.
- Depending on how long the beans are, you may wish to cut them in half…
- And if using runner (flat) beans slice them into thin slivers using a bean slicer.
How to serve Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes
Green Beans and Tomatoes are a meal in themselves, or can be served as a tasty side dish with meat, fish and veggie alternatives.
As a main meal, they are perfect for lunch and as a light evening meal. Or even as a starter in smaller portions. Serve in a bowl, topped with a sprinkle of cheese and accompanied by crusty baguette (this Gluten Free Baguette is delicious), soft Roti Flatbreads, gluten free Artisan Rolls or toasted gluten free Wholemeal Bread… Or better still, make some cheesy, Pandebonos (South American Cheese Bread) for the most incredible, perfectly paired plate.
If you don’t want to head down the bread route, simply pop them on a plate alongside a crispy baked potato.
Can I freeze Green Beans and Tomatoes?
Absolutely yes! Either make a big batch for the freezer ready for the winter months, or freeze any leftovers once you have finished your meal. There are no special rules on this one… Simply cook the dish as stated in the recipe and let it cool completely, before transferring to freezer-safe bags or containers. Freeze and enjoy another day!
Is this recipe also Vegan?
The basic recipe for Green Beans and Tomatoes is not only gluten free, but can be made dairy free and Vegan. There is a tiny addition of butter to the dish which can be simply subbed for a dairy free/vegan alternative or with olive oil.
And if you are gluten free and Vegan, why not check out our dedicated Gluten Free Vegan Recipe Index and my post on Gluten Free Vegan – Surviving Veganuary and Beyond
Ready to make Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes?
If you love beans and you love tomatoes, I really hope that you try making this recipe. A little bit of the warmth of Italy delivered to your kitchen. If you do… please let me know. This recipe has been written from one passed down generation to generation, so I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Leave a comment below, rate the recipe or tag me on social media… (Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter).
And for loads more gluten free inspiration, head over to our main Recipe Book Index….
More light meal inspiration…
Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes
- sharp knife
- garlic crusher/grater
- can opener
- large skillet or frying pan with lid
- wooden spoon
- 500 g French green beans (or Runner beans if preferred) washed, trimmed and cut/sliced
- 25 g butter/dairy free alternative
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large white onion finely chopped
- 2 to 4 cloves garlic crushed (amount dependent on size and preference)
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- salt and pepper to season
- dried/ fresh oregano optional (to taste)
- Parmesan cheese freshly grated – optional
- Wash and prepare the beans (trim, de-string and cut/slice (as required))
- Heat the butter and oil in a deep frying pan or sauté pan and gently fry the onions and garlic until soft and golden.
- Add the tomatoes and bring to the boil, stirring well to combine.
- Add the beans and season with salt, pepper and oregano (to taste).
- Stir well and leave simmering gently, with the lid on the pan for about 45 minutes, until the beans are soft. Check occasionally and give a gentle stir.
- Serve hot or warm with a bread of your choice, sprinkled liberally with Parmesan cheese (optional). Or eat cold as an antipasti.
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist
Italian Green Beans and Tomatoes shared with
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- Fiesta Friday #395 with Angie and Of Goats and Greens
- Create, Bake, Grow & Gather #482 with Shabby Art Boutique