Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic)

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Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic) is your next easy and flavorful side dish that comes together in 20 minutes! This Italian green beans with tomatoes and garlic are one of the healthiest, tastiest and easiest side dishes.

Serve as a delicious side dish to accompany Nonna’s Famous Traditional Italian Meatballs (Polpette), or BEST Salmon Piccata (Lemon Butter Caper Sauce).

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Tired of the routined canned green veggies accompanying each meal? Then give this Italian flat beans recipe a try! You will love this Italian green beans recipe. You can even serve them as a healthy option and a great side dish to a Thanksgiving meal.

Flat Italian green beans are a style of beans that are meatier, wider and like the name flat instead of round and this variety of green beans while picked young are stringless. They are less common than your average string bean.  

Simple Ingredients

This is another “cucina povera” recipe that has a few simple ingredients to make a wonderful Italian style dish.

ingredient shot for recipe
  • Italian Romano flat green beans
  • Olive oil, divided
  • Shallots
  • Garlic cloves
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt and Black Pepper to taste 

See recipe card for quantities.

How to make Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic)

Making this super tasty green bean dish is super easy. Serve as a warm side dish to a holiday meal or serve cold as a summertime salad. Either way, you will love the simplicity and freshness of this green bean dish.

prepare the flat Italian green beans. use fresh, frozen, canned.

Prepare the Italian flat green beans. You may use: fresh, frozen, or canned.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat about 1 minute. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 30 to 45 seconds, until tender and fragrant but not browned. 

add balsamic vinegar to the bean and tomatoes.

Add the beans and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently until the beans are browned in spots and tender but retain some crispness, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Cook an additional 7-10 minutes, until they are blistered and soft. You can press down on the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to help them “pop”. 

process for making the green beans- sautee garlic and shallots and add tomatoes.

Remove the pan from heat and let the beans cool slightly. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and incorporate. Garnish with fresh basil. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm or cold!

What are Italian Flat beans

Romano beans are a form of flat snap bean that originated in Italy. Specialty grocers and farmer’s markets sometimes carry them. You can also grow them at home, assuming you live in an area with a Mediterranean climate.

They are usually available in late summer and fall. They are also readily available in the frozen section in most grocery stores. You can also find them canned or jarred.

Like other snap beans, Romano beans you can eat Romano beans whole (with an edible pod). They are ripe when they make a crisp “snap” if they are broken in half. I love their very mild flavor and tender texture.

Don’t confuse these with Italian broad beans or fava beans as they are different!

These Italian beans are often braised with other vegetables and eaten as a side dish. You can add them to soups, stews, stir fries and an assortment of other dishes. Try them pickled.

If you love beans, then you will also enjoy this Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipe!

How to prepare Italian Flat Beans for cooking

To use fresh Romano beans (Italian flat beans), snap or trim off the ends and rinse the pods to remove any dirt. If you buy them frozen- don’t worry about cleaning them. When picking them fresh avoid beans with soft spots. Look for the firm texture and bright green color.

You can lightly cook these beans to retain their great crunch texture, or cooked until they are extremely tender.

Make sure not to overcook the beans! This will cause the beans to turn into a tasteless mush, so set your timers when preparing them with long time cooking methods.

Wait, there are more colors than just green flat Italian beans- they also come in yellow and purple, for cooks who like to play around with different colors in their cooking- try the color variety. In my experience the colored variety are harder to find in the U.S.A opposed to Italy.

Italian flat green beans recipe in a serving bowl on our wooden serving board.

Boiling

In this recipe the green beans are raw and then sautéed. If you like your beans a little more soft you can lightly boil them before sautéing them.

  1. Fill a large pot half full of water, add 1 to 2 tsp. sea salt, and cover the pot with a lid. Bring the large pot of salted water to a full, rolling boil over high heat.
  2. Add washed Romano beans cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces to the pot of boiling water.
  3. Boil bean pieces until desired tenderness. Remove the bean pieces from the pot with a slotted spoon.

You can drizzle the boiled beans with a little extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lemon zest!

You can also add the cooked green beans to the garlic and tomatoes like this recipe and lightly saute for an additional few minutes.

Substitutions

What can you use instead of Italian flat beans?

Feel free to substitute regular green beans for the Italian-style if desired.

Variations

You can try the original Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic) the first time and always try a variation the next time you make it!

  • Spicy – add red pepper flakes to level up the heat in the green bean dish.
  • Deluxe – sauté pancetta, bacon, Italian sausage or other meat and add with the cooked green beans. If you have a little bacon grease left over from making pasta carbonara add to the beans to add extra flavor.
  • Cheese – top with parmigiano cheese if desired.
  • Tomato variety
  • Italian seasoning – add extra dried or fresh herbs such as oregano, or rosemary.
side shot of Italian green beans and tomatoes with a fork ready to eat.

Serving Suggestions

If looking to serve as a main dish, serve atop quinoa, brown rice, farro, or other whole grains. You can also toss with pasta, more veggies, and a protein source. You can serve it with Perfect Pork Tenderloin with Fennel (one of my favorite meat recipes), or Crispy Baked Cod with Panko Recipe.

Don’t forget your crust bread to go with the meal.

Regardless of how you serve these flat beans you will love this simple Italian green beans recipe!

Skillet recommendations

The skillet to use: I love cooking in a cast iron skillet. It distributes the heat evenly throughout the bottom of the pan and up into the sides. It’s naturally non stick and super durable. You can also use a dutch oven type pot.

Any large skillet will work for sausage and peppers if you don’t have or want to purchase a cast iron.

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Italian flat green beans on a plate with a fork.

Storage

Bonus: this recipe is even better the next day! The green beans will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, if stored in an airtight container.

Italian Flat Beans FAQ

How are Italian flat beans different than regular green beans?

Italian flat beans are also known as Romano beans and are meatier than regular green beansThe pods are wider and flatter than standard green beans.

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Italian green beans and tomatoes cooked in cast iron pan

Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic)

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5 from 2 reviews

Italian Flat Green Beans Recipe (with Tomatoes and Garlic) is your next easy and flavorful side dish that comes together in 20 minutes! This Italian green beans with tomatoes and garlic are one of the healthiest, tastiest and easiest side dishes.

  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 pound flat Italian Romano beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon basil leaves for garnish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the shallots and sauté over medium heat about 1 minute. Add the garlic and continue to sauté for 30 to 45 seconds, until tender and fragrant but not browned. 
  2. Add the beans and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté over medium heat, stirring frequently until the beans are browned in spots and tender but retain some crispness, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Cook an additional 7-10 minutes, until they are blistered and soft. You can press down on the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to help them “pop”. 
  3. Remove the pan from heat and let the beans cool slightly.  Garnish with fresh basil. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve warm or cold!
  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Savory
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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4 Comments

  1. When I received flat beans in my CSA farm box I had no idea what to do with them. This recipe foreverrrr now. I don’t even like tomatoes usually, but this turned out amazing. I love a simple, but amazingly flavorful dish like this.






  2. I made this recipe this evening – had bought Italian flat beans and my favorite farm stand. It was so good that my husband and I ate the entire amount (we do eat a LOT of vegs) as a side with our dinner. The beans were cooked perfectly, the dish is very flavorful! I added about twice the quantity of tomatos as called for, and a bit more balsamic. (Also had to guess re the quantity of shallot as the recipe has no quantity: used one sizeable bulb and was just right.)

    Thanks, Elena






    1. I am thrilled you loved the recipe. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy green beans. I fixed the glitch in the recipe card and added the amount for the shallot. All the best, Elena.