Braised Runner Beans

Fine beans tend to get all the attention. Cooked on their own runner beans will never be as delightfully squeaky as fine beans and I always find them disappointing, but slowly braised they’re just lovely. This is the dish to lavish your precious oil rations on. It’s great with pasta, rice, potatoes or some crusty bread. It is best served at room temperature, and could be accompanied by hummus or cooled refried beans, for some protein.


1 onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

200g runner beans, sliced into 2cm pieces

200g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped



  1. Use a heavy pan with a lid. Sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened and translucent but not browned. Add the garlic cook for a minute.
  2. Add the beans and tomatoes. Season well with salt and black pepper.
  3. Turn the heat right down and put on a lid. Cook for an hour, checking on the mixture every now and again and giving it a little stir. The tomatoes will release a lot of juice which the beans will braise in.
  4. Finally, remove the lid and let the juices reduce slightly to a sauce that just coats the beans.


Ifs and Ands

  • Serve alongside a fresh mozzarella or burrata. Or crumble over some feta  (Maybe not, if you are rationing!)
  • Double the recipe up and eat half as a side for crispy-skinned roast chicken thighs. Keep the bones to make a stock the next day. Then add it to the remaining braised beans with a handful of small pasta and some tinned or soaked pulses for an improvised minestrone.


This recipe is written by Clare Heal: a food writer, a private chef and a 2015 WW2 Rationing Challenge participant! You can read more about her on her website and you can read her blog post about the WW2 Rationing Challenge here