These tender braised Romano beans with spicy cherry tomato sauce are an easy and incredibly flavourful side dish, topped with lemony ground walnuts and parsley, this satisfying recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free.
If you know me, you know that I am all about the side dishes. I love all of the things that fill out the plate. Sometimes our summer meals come together without much of a plan and it just feels like a cobbling together of sides with all that the season has to offer. I’m into it!
These braised Romano beans have a classic vibe to them. There’s a bunch of versions of this dish around on the food magazine sites and some blogs. But I really just wanted to share my own version here because this is something that I make with repetition throughout the summer and into early Fall. It uses up a solid pound of cherry tomatoes for the sauce, which is helpful if you’ve planted those in your garden.
The New York Times has a little bit about green Romano beans here if you’d like to learn more. They are a bit of an obsession in my family haha.
If you’re looking for something summery to pair with these braised Romano beans, I would recommend checking out my Lemony Oregano Vegan Meatballs, this Shaved Zucchini Salad, these Marinated Lentils, or this Pesto Quinoa White Bean Bake (subbing whatever vegetables you have on hand in place of the Spring-y ones!).
We make a spicy sauce with the cherry tomatoes, shallots, capers, garlic, smoked paprika, and chilli. You could use chilli flakes or any ground up chillies of your choice. I love the Guntur Sannam ones from Diaspora Co. The sauce is finished with a little bit of tamari soy sauce to round it all out. This sauce is so flavourful on its own! It’s fantastic with pasta if you can’t find Romano beans.
Generally this dish is made with whole green Romano beans or longer cuts of them. I opted to do fun little 2-inch bias cuts instead. This cuts down on the cooking time and I honestly find them easier to eat this way. I cook mine in the sauce until they’re just tender enough, but you could go as long as you like! The longer you go, the silkier the texture.
The ground up walnuts with lemon zest and salt adds a bit of textural interest and some brightness too. It also bumps up the satiation factor, which is key sometimes with the plant-based sides.
I hope that your summer is got off to a great start! All of the produce this time of year is so inspiring to me. I really am so excited to share some of that with you over the next couple months. Be well in the meantime :)
Braised Romano Beans with Spicy Cherry Tomato Sauce & Lemony Ground Walnuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, small dice
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
- ½ – 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes or ground chillies (I used Diaspora Co.'s ground Guntur Sannam Chillies)
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon capers, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup water
- ¾ lb green Romano beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- ¼ cup walnut halves
- ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon tamari soy sauce
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- chilli oil for garnish (optional)
- You could definitely make this with regular green beans, but the experience will be a bit different. The Romano beans have a meaty quality that works so nicely here. That said, regular green beans would still be tasty! I’d simply leave them whole rather than cutting them. They will likely need less simmering time–I’d start checking at the 8 minute mark.
- This cherry tomato sauce is seriously incredible with pasta. Use a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce rather than the plain water that I call for here.
- If you would like to make this nut-free, you can substitute toasted sunflower seeds for the walnuts.
- To make this soy-free, use 1 teaspoon coconut aminos in place of the tamari.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, pour in the olive oil and swirl it around. Add the shallot and thyme to the pan and stir. Cook until the shallots are translucent and soft, stirring often, about 3-4 minutes. If the shallots are browning on the edges, lower the heat.
- Add the chilli and smoked paprika to the pan and stir for about 30 seconds. Then, add the capers and minced garlic. Keep stirring until the garlic is very fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste to the pan and break it up with the back of your spoon. Keep stirring and mashing the bits of tomato paste until it has darkened a shade or two. Again, if you’re experiencing rapid browning/drying of the pan here, just lower the heat.
- Add the cherry tomatoes to the pan and stir. Season with salt and pepper. Once the cherry tomatoes let off some juices and start bubbling, keep the heat at this level. Simmer the cherry tomato sauce base for 5 minutes. Then, add the water to the pan and stir. Let the sauce simmer another 5 minutes. The sauce should be slightly thick but still fluid enough to move around the pan easily.
- Add the cut green Romano beans to the pan along with some extra salt and pepper. Stir to coat the beans in the sauce. Bring the sauce and beans to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the beans and continue to simmer until they are tender and the sauce has thickened around the beans, about 15-18 minutes. I like to lift the lid and check in on the beans here and there, giving it a stir each time.
- While the beans are simmering, finely chop the walnuts and mix them together in a small bowl with the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. You could also grind this mixture up in a mini food processor if you like.
- Once the Romano beans are done simmering, stir in the ½ teaspoon of tamari soy sauce. Check the dish for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Serve the braised Romano beans warm with the lemony walnut mixture and parsley sprinkled on top. Garnish with chilli oil if you like.