Runner beans are a delicious vegetable that can be a great value addition to your polytunnel. But what can be a boon can sometime turn into something of a challenge, as you struggle to use up a runner bean glut. If you are inundated with more runner beans than you can handle, and the freezer is full, here are five runner bean recipe ideas that will inspire you to make use of your abundant harvest.
Runner Bean Curry
Runner beans lend themselves to inclusion in many different curry recipes, from a simple lentil and vegetable daal to a Thai curry with coconut milk, ginger, chilli peppers and lemongrass. Simply slice up your runner beans and add them into your favourite curry recipe.
Runner Bean Risotto
Another great way to include plenty of runner beans in your weekly diet without getting bored is to include some in a creamy and luxurious risotto. Cashew cream can be used for a vegan twist on a classic risotto, or, for those who do include dairy in their diets, different cheeses can be used to enliven this traditional dish.
Runner Bean Frittata, Omelette or Quiche
If you eat eggs, these do go really well with runner beans, as well as with other fresh produce from your polytunnel. Even those who only reluctantly eat their greens will often enjoy eating them in a frittata, omelette or quiche. Toss in a handful of fresh polytunnel herbs to turn your simple omelette or other egg dish into something a little bit more special and delicious.
Runner Bean Bake
Oven bakes are another good way to eat up those runner beans. There are plenty of different bakes, or casseroles that you could try – from a cottage pie topped with mashed potatoes, to a Mediterranean-style bake with tomatoes and peppers. To up the nutritional content, consider topping your different runner bean bakes with a crunchy topping of mixed seeds rather than cheese.
Runner Bean Chutney
To preserve runner beans for later without having to put them in the freezer, you could consider making them into a delicious condiment to serve with cheese and crackers later in the year. This runner bean recipe uses up your runner bean glut as well as other ingredients like onions and courgettes. Finely chopped vegetables and fruits are simmered in spices, sugar and vinegar to create this tangy preserve.
How do you use up your runner beans that you grow in your polytunnel or elsewhere in your garden? Let us know in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.