Easy Green Bean Recipes to Make at Home

Green beans are a godsend: they're tasty, ready in minutes and packed with nutrition. Best of all, they're one of the few veggies that even kids will happily tuck into! Try some of our yummy green bean recipes for your midweek meals.

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Green beans recipes for every taste

Find the Right Beans for Your Green Bean Recipes

Do you know your French beans from your runners? Don't worry if you don't, as there are many types of green beans out there. Here are some of our faves that will liven up your midweek meals:

String beans: When you see a handful of these, you'll quickly realise how they got their name. String beans are very long and thin. To prepare them, you can just top and tail them or, if you prefer, chop them into smaller bite-sized lengths. They have a slightly sweet taste, which is extra yummy if you grill them, like in our classic cottage pie with tender charred green beans.

French beans: If we're totally honest, it can be hard to tell French beans and string beans apart. It helps if you look at them side by side. French beans are a little longer and thinner, and they have a slightly different flavour. Both are sweet, but French beans are somewhat milder than their cousins. This means they may be more suitable for kids who aren't keen on veggies.

Runner beans: Runner beans have a coarser texture and stronger flavour than other green beans. They're a bit more of an acquired taste, so leave them for the grown-ups. Some runner bean recipes will ask you to take the beans out of their pods, and you'll find that they're a surprising shade of purple.

Purple or yellow beans: You might find these at farmers' markets or fancy greengrocers. Don't be fooled by the bright colours, as they're the same as regular green beans in terms of flavour and nutrition! They certainly look good on the 'gram, though.

Our Top Tips for Just-Right Green Bean Recipes

Want to get great results every time you cook green beans? Well, of course you do! No matter what kind of dish you're making, follow these tips:

Trim them first: The ends of green beans are small, but they can be unpleasantly tough if you get one in your mouth. Make sure you top and tail them, no matter how you're cooking them. This will ensure no one ends up accidentally chomping down on the woody little stems.

Don't overcook them: This is the number one mistake, not just for green beans but for all kinds of veggies! It's nice to have a little bit of snap to your green beans, so don't boil them for too long. In fact, you might want to try steaming rather than boiling to preserve those all-important nutrients better.

Give them a cold shower: As soon as you've finished boiling or steaming your green beans, run them under the cold tap. This may seem like a strange step, but it will keep the bright green colour. If you don't do this, you might find that they turn a dull grey, which nobody wants on their plate!

Try them in new ways: Many of us tend to just serve a pile of green beans on the side of a plate - so why not ring the changes? Our creamy green bean rigatoni with cherry tomatoes and parsley is an unexpected delight, with green beans moving front and centre to make a tasty pasta dish. You'll soon see these veggies in a whole new light!

Green Beans Recipe FAQs

How long to steam green beans?

About five minutes should be enough to get your green beans tender. Avoid overcooking to keep them from becoming too mushy!

How to cook green beans?

Many cooks like to boil green beans, but steaming can preserve their nutrients better. You can also try them grilled or stir-fried for something a little different.

Are green beans legumes?

Yes, but in culinary terms, they're vegetables. They're packed full of great nutrients and seriously good for you. Still, knowing that they're actually legumes might come in handy for a pub quiz one day!

What is another name for green beans?

Green beans are also known as French beans, string beans or runner beans. These three varieties are actually slightly different, but many people can't really tell them apart.

Are green beans just unripe beans?

No — there are thousands of different bean varieties. Some are best dried and slowly cooked, like haricot beans or kidney beans. Others are delicious in the pod, which are not the same plant at all.

Can you eat green beans raw?

Yes, but make sure you wash them first. You might find that raw green beans are a bit tough and chewy to get through, so most people prefer to cook them. Still, eating them raw won't do you any harm.

What's the best way to freeze green beans?

Instead of freezing green beans raw, prepare beans by chopping them as you would for a recipe. Then, blanch them in boiling water before freezing. This will prevent the beans from becoming too mushy when you defrost them.

What is the difference between string beans and green beans?

String beans are just a member of the green bean family. They're long and slender — but not as long as French beans. They have a pleasant, sweet taste.

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