A delicious recipe for green beans with tomatoes and black olives. A wonderful, yet simple, summer side dish that makes the best of the beans.
It is one of the great ironies of feeding children that both R, five and Miss R, 3, love olives. R won't eat a strawberry, grape or apple but can't get enough olives.
The challenges of getting my kids to eat veggies
Any vegetables served up on the side of a main meal to R and Miss R get ignored - almost without exception. Vegetables are consumed in sauces, in cakes, in bread - but very, very rarely on their own.
Vegetables on their own though? Still ignored. I was thinking about this the other day and something very obvious occurred to me. Frozen peas, plain green beans, broccoli - none of these things are particularly exciting on their own, unseasoned and rapidly going cold on the side of the plate.
As a consequence I'm focusing on making vegetable side dishes more exciting at the moment to try to entice my kids to eat them. This green beans and tomatoes with black olives dish wouldn't be a main course on its own, but it's a lovely addition to any meal as a side dish.
How to cook green beans
Green beans are very easy to prepare. All you need to do is trim the beans - slicing off the non-pointy end. Unless they're looking brown and old there's no need to trim the pointed end of your green beans.
The easiest way to cook them is to boil them. Simply bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the beans and return to the boil. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the beans are tender, then drain.
Some people like to add their beans at this stage to a bowl of iced water. This helps them to retain their green colour and stops them from cooking any more. I don't usually bother with this because, let's face it, meal times with three hungry kids clamouring to be fed don't leave a lot of time for extras!
Green beans are also delicious in a stir fry - you don't need to boil them first.
What to serve with green beans in tomato sauce
Green beans with tomato sauce and black olives is a delicious side dish. It works really well with a simple kid-friendly meal. We particularly like it with a mezze.
Here are some ideas for how to make a meal that goes well with green beans in tomato sauce.
- serve with veggie sausages and sweet potato wedges
- make it into a mezze and serve with hummus, pitta breads, falafel and any of your favourite dips and mezze dishes
- dish up with rice and chickpeas for a simple, healthy vegetarian meal
- alongside a frittata
- add onions, dill and extra lemon juice to make them into Greek green beans. Some recipes also add potato
- add to a selection of summer salads such as fresh lettuce leaves, new potatoes or perhaps with my vegetable pilau
- as a side dish for some quick carrot fritters
- alternatively add cumin and cinnamon to add a Lebanese twist to your green beans.
Other recipes you might like
- Broccoli pesto pasta with green beans and potatoes
- Hasselback potatoes
- Butternut squash chips
- Leek pear and parsnip cakes
Pin green beans in tomato sauce for later
How to make green beans with tomatoes and black olives:
Green beans with tomatoes and black olives
- 2 handfuls of green beans trimmed (around 150-200g)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- handful pitted black olives drained and rinsed (around 100g)
- 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
- dash balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp oregano
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the green beans, bring to the boil again, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for around 4-5 minutes until the beans are tender.
- Drain and set aside. If you wish you can place them in a bowl filled with iced water to stop them from cooking further but this isn't essential.
- Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for a minute before adding the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and oregano.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Stir in the olives, the green beans, add a squeeze of lemon juice and grind in some salt and black pepper to taste. Serve warm.
NB: this recipe and photographs were updated in August 2019.