Runner Bean Salad with Chilli & Garlic

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

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Runner beans have tended to play second fiddle to fine French beans, but they can be very good. Easy to grow and prolific, they tend to be damned by too frequent appearance on the tables of those with vegetable gardens. When you have grown bored with runner beans plain boiled and tossed with butter, try this rather more aggressive treatment, where they are finished in a frying pan with hot chilli and garlic. However you cook them, runner beans are always better while the beans are still quite small. Those old ones, the size of cucumbers and with skin like a green tarantula, should go straight on the compost.


  • 1 hot red chilli
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1Β½ tsp salt
  • 450 g/1 lb young runner beans
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman soy sauce, to dress
  • 1 lemon, to serve



Split and deseed the chilli, cut it into thin strips then across into small dice. Finely chop the garlic and mix with the chilli and salt.

String the beans and slice into strips, cutting at an angle into pieces about 3 cm/1ΒΌ in long.


Blanch the beans in a pan of rapidly boiling water for 5-6 minutes. Refresh in ice-cold water and drain.

Put a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the oil and, as it starts to smoke, throw in the beans β€” standing back as the beans spit viciously. Toss once, then add the chilli garlic paste. Toss and stir for 1 minute, then transfer to a serving dish.


Dress with the soy sauce and serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon wedges.

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