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Runner beans have been growing in South America for over 2000 years and are a popular garden vegetable in Britain too. Stronger in flavour and coarser in texture than green beans, they are also much longer and have attractive purple beans inside the pods.
Learn how to grow your own runner beans from the experts at Gardeners’ World.
Top, tail and string runner beans by carefully sliding the knife into the top of the bean without cutting right through it; if a thick thread comes away, the beans will need to be stringed. The beans can then be sliced horizontally.
Boil runner beans until al dente.
If you need to use up a glut of veggies from the garden, try our best ever runner bean recipes. Turn this glorious green bean into salads, pasta dishes and exotic curries. Below we have five seasonal dishes to get you started.
1. Runner bean & prosciutto pasta
Take just five ingredients and create our creamy runner bean & prosciutto pasta. This simple recipe is a quick-fix midweek meal at its finest. It's also easily doubled if you need to feed a crowd in a flash.
2. Sri Lankan runner bean curry
Serve up this Sri Lankan runner bean curry with rice and rotis for a top-notch family dish. This spiced vegan meal is deliciously creamy and full of flavour.
3. Runner bean & prawn paella
Embrace the very best summery flavours with our easy runner bean & prawn paella. This impressive looking dish is easy to make but special enough for a dinner party or weekend feast.
4. Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta
This vibrant veggie side is perfect for barbecue season. Charred courgettes, runner beans & ricotta are finished with edible flowers, a drizzle of olive oil and a scattering of sea salt to enhance the flavours.
5. Cacio e pepe with runner beans
Turn an Italian classic into a fresh, summer pasta dish with our cacio e pepe with runner beans. The simple sauce is made with butter, black pepper and cheese. The runner beans add texture and bite.
Use runner beans as soon as possible after buying as they don't keep long. Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Take a look at our guide on how to freeze runner beans if you want to preserve a batch.
Look for young, crisp, tender beans inside firm, fresh-looking pods.
Try broad bean or pea.