Runner bean purée is a fantastic substitute for heavy potato mash that you usually serve with a main course. This low-carb alternative is a clever spin on the traditional mushy peas too. It is a very simple recipe and perfect during the summer months, when you have a glut of beans. Although excellent as is, you can easily jazz it up with your favourite herbs and spices. Pair it with your favourite sausage dish or drizzle the runner bean purée on top of this sausage traybake with vegetables and chickpeas.
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preparing the runner beans
There are a few things you’ll need to do for this runner bean purée, with the first being to top and tail the runner beans. Next, you’ll need to carefully string them. Once you are done, chop them up into 2.5cm (1in) pieces. Boil the beans in a pan of salted water, for about five minutes so that they are nice and tender. However, for a more tangy flavour, cut the boiling time down to three minutes – making them al dente, such as the pasta.
The runner bean purée will be greener in terms of colour and will have a more bitter flavour to it. This is because the runner beans do not cook through properly at three minutes. Some people, including myself, like preparing the runner beans this way. Once done, drain the beans and give them a good shake so that you get rid of any excess water.
type of butter
You can use any type of butter you desire. I like using traditional, salted butter with the runner bean purée, as I don’t have to add more salt to the recipe. However, unsalted butter will also do the trick, but you’ll need to add a bit of salt to finish it off.
For a clever twist, you can also use herbal butter made with parsley. You can get those lovely parsley aromas running through the runner bean purée.
make it vegan
You can easily make this runner bean purée vegan-friendly. The solution here is to omit the butter and use a substitute. I like using unscented coconut oil. However, you can also use olive oil – but you might want to consider the fact that this oil can be quite fragrant. All in all, using simple vegetable oil is the best solution. I know that you might miss the creaminess of the butter, but I’ve got a solution. Simply add a table spoon of nut milk (can be raw almond milk). This will give off a creamy taste to your runner bean purée.
storing runner beans
Did you buy more runner beans than you actually need for the runner bean purée? Not a problem. You can store these babies in your refrigerator for up to three days, depending on how cold the temperature is inside. A fair warning though, they don’t keep longer than that. Store them in a paper bag or plastic container, and try to use them up within the three days. You can make the runner bean purée again, or you can toss these in a frying pan and serve them as a side dish. Similarly to the method of how I prepared my pimientos de padrón. Or, If you feel like turning them into a salad, then inspire yourself with this sugar snap pea salad recipe.
Runner bean purée is very versatile and you can easily jazz it up to your liking. I love including fresh herbs in the food processor. My favourite combination would be using basil, runner beans and olive oil, taking on a sort of Mediterranean spirit. You can also try a very simple variation by just adding a large clove of garlic. It will add a hint of sweetness but also tanginess. Parmesan cheese will lend extra saltiness and nuttiness to this side dish.
Process the beans to desired your consistency, coarse or super smooth. By all means, you should avoid having a very runny runner bean purée. In order to avoid this, make sure you shake the runner beans properly after you take them out of the water. If you find your runner bean purée too coarse, then you might need a tiny splash of water to get the mixture going. Or, you can add a bit of vegetable oil or olive oil. Either way, it should get the mixture going.
The best substitute to runner beans are traditional green beans. You can treat them identically and follow this recipe with no extra steps. Peas are another tasty substitute. You can also use shelled broad beans but they need to stay in the boiling water for a few minutes more. Naturally, they are quite firm, so you should make sure that they are tender before you turn them into a purée.
You should definitely serve this runner bean purée as a side dish with steak . Some good examples include the porcini mushroom rubbed rump steak or a melt-in-the-mouth sous-vide steak. The creamy purée will complement the umami flavours of the red meat wonderfully. With a full-bodied glass of red wine, it makes one luxurious dinner.
This runner bean purée also works very well with fish courses. Pair it with the baked seabasss with avocado and carrot salad or the miso salmon. Instead of the red wine, you should pair it with a fruity dry white wine. I hope you enjoy the versatility of the runner bean purée. Let me know what you decide to pair it with! Enjoy!
Runner bean purée
- 500g (1lb) runner beans
- 30ml (2 tbsp) butter
- Trim the beans and then shop in 2.5cm (1in) pieces.
- Boil the beans in a pan of salted water for 5 minutes or until tender.
- Drain the beans, give it a good shake then tip them into a food processor with butter.
- Process the beans to desired consistency, coarse or super smooth. You might need a tiny splash of water to get the mixture going.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve as a side dish.
- Vegans can use their oil of choice instead of butter.
- You can substitute the beans with peas.
Courses Side Dish
Serving Size 1 serving
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 5.8 g
Saturated Fat 3.7 g
Cholesterol 15 mg
Sodium 55 mg
Total Carbohydrates 37.5 g
Dietary Fiber 15 g
Protein 8.7 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
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A special thanks to Kelly Reeve for assisting with the recipe shoot.