10 Great Recipes with Fresh Borlotti Beans

I just managed to get my Borlotti Beans in before the weather turned all wet and soggy (it’s tipping it down outside as I type). I harvested the lot, probably about 25 – 30 pods from one wigwam and only four plants. Apparently, that’s not bad in Borlotti terms as they tend to yield less than the same number of Runner Bean plants.

About 75% of these were perfect for fresh eating (the best way to save that lovely, Potatoey-and-yet-also-Beany flavour). You can dry them, of course, and use them over winter but I wanted to use them fresh in order to ‘really’ taste them, if you know what I mean.

The only problem was that, since I’ve never grown Borlotti Beans before my stash of recipes for this type of vegetable amounted to, erm, none. So I was stuck with a beautiful crop of Beans but not a clue what to do with them. I went on the hunt for some recipes and found such a lovely selection that I thought I’d share them here – in case you were wondering what to do with yours too. Oh and also, don’t forget to cook your beans before using them in a recipe. Simply boil them for 20 minutes until they are soft.

Here’s goes:

  1. Fresh Borlotti Bean, Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Horneado – I’m not a big fan of Chorizo so might replace this with sausage or similar but this just looked gorgeous and very hearty on an Autumn’s day too.
  2. Borlotti Beans braised with Onion, Tomato and Cime di Rapa – for those of you at a loss to know what Cime di Rapa is (me included) it is described here as being a Brassica a little like the leaves of Turnip. You could maybe substitue Chard or Cabbage leaves but this would give the dish a different flavour.
  3. Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash – one thing I like about this recipe is that it includes chocolate. Beans – good, Squash – good, Chocolate – good!
  4. Sausages with Fresh Borlotti Beans – As I suspected Borlotti Beans go well with sausages. Delicious magazine confirms all my suspicions.
  5. Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta – ooh creamy polenta sounds like a good accompaniment to my Beans. This recipe is from a book called Heirloom Beans which looks pretty darn good too.
  6. Cranberry Bean “Fool Mudammas” – apparently Borlotti Beans are called Cranberry Beans in certain parts of the world – I did not know that! This recipe looks so fresh and crispy with its layer of Radish on top. Great to go with something warm and spicy.
  7. Cowboy Beans – one for the kids. These pot beans can be cooked the day before and warmed up on the day. You could even make them on a camping trip over the fire.
  8. Borlotti Bean, Chilli and Pine Nut Bake – A good bake is always a winner in our house. And with the added benefit of pine nuts this is guaranteed to go down well.
  9. Italian Bean and Tuna Salad – this uses a mix of Italian Beans but I bet you could use all Borlotti Beans and it would taste almost the same.
  10. Borlotti Bean and Courgette Hummus – wow! a recipe that uses up two end-of-the-summer gluts? Can it really be true?
  11. So there you have it, my favourite Fresh Borlotti Bean recipes. I think I’ll be making the Bean and Courgette Hummus.

20 Comments on “10 Great Recipes with Fresh Borlotti Beans

  1. They’re beautiful. But how can you not be a fan of chorizo, it’s to die for! I love your blog. I have you bookmarked. I was getting withdrawl between posts earlier today!

  2. I can’t wait to try some of these .. yum yum!

    Next year I’m going to try and grow a few plants of my own.

    Thanks so much for the recipes!

    Best wishes,


  3. Why is it important to harvest the borlotti before the rain, especially if you’re going to use them fresh? Aren’t their pods enough to protect them? I ask because mine are still outside as we speak – I was hoping to pick them all tomorrow!

    PS – Great recipes

  4. Walter the Softie – It’s fine to leave them out in the rain I’m just nesh and don’t like harvesting in the rain! Although you do have to keep an eye on the pops as once they go a brown faded colour then they are drying naturally and are either seed or dried beans rather than fresh.

  5. Wonderful share and thanks for the links! My hubby will sure love this, borlotti beans is a favorite=)

  6. I found an old heritage variety growing in the gardens at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home in Virginia. They were a borlotti type bean. History says that it was this type of bean that made the original Boston Baked Bean. They added molasses, hickory smoke and a big slug of whisky to it!

  7. Thank you! Not just for the recipes etc., but for the acquistion of a new word – nesh – I can see it will come in very handy this winter.

    My borlottis are now harvested. I had 24 plants spread 3 ways in: 1) a growbag flipped onto its long side, wedged upright and slit along the long edge; 2) a round veg bag (of the sort you see for growing potatoes in containers) and 3) a window box type rectangular container, all three trained up bamboo canes or bean netting. Between them I am delighted to have got 1.2kg of podded beans. I am not going to calculate the time I spent watering, since I daresay they will work out some of the most expensive beans in history.

  8. A really useful post! I think there are lots of us in the UK who don’t (yet) really know what to do with fresh Borlotti. You don’t normally see them in the shops here do you? If France recently, I noticed that they were everywhere — so hopefully it’s just a matter of time before we discover them properly here.
    Last year I saved a few over Winter and cooked them in about March in a Boston Beans sort of recipe, using black treacle instead of molasses. They were VERY yummy.

  9. Yes, me too Karen @ The Garden Smallholder! :-)

  10. Pick your borlotti beans when they look mature but are still fresh. You don’t need to dry them, simply put them in the freezer as they are. To use them just cook as you would from fresh – 40 mins or so in a Tuscan bean soup or whatever your recipe is. I can never grow enough each year. This year they are rather late to develop. Previous years have been better.

  11. Cime di rapa is the fast growing broccolli ( its easy to get seed of it now ) needed for a few specific recipes like the famous chilli, anchovy, broccolli pasta. It looks as if its basically a kind of oil seed rape plant eaten when the little yellow flowers are still green- which the name suggests. Seeds of Italy are the best supplier for all these kinds of things. It’s obvious really. I only buy courgette seed from them for example. The Italians know about veg !

  12. Cima di rapa (there seems to be various spellings) is delicious and I urge anyone to try it. Google “Orecchiette con cima di rapa”. I have grown it for the past 3 years on my allotment in London, much to the amazement of my Italian neighbours who are convinced I was born in Italy, and not northern England.
    Very easy to grow.
    By the way, nice beans Gill.

  13. Hello I planted some vegetables for the first tiime this year inclusing beans that became large and fibrous so I must have left them too long til I picked them. I am learning! Next year I would like to plant some borlooti beans. Can anyone recommend where to buy seeds in the UK for beans, the sweetest tomatoes, zucchini/Courgetts and aubergine please. Thanks for great posting and all of the comments that have followed.

  14. Hello!!
    Can you tell me if borlotti beans can be harvested at the pod stage and sliced and cooked same as scarlet runners.
    Bought 4 plants at a garden sale and they are growing beside the runners.
    many thanks
    Mairead Fallon

  15. Hi Mairead – yes you can. Just get them nice and young before they string up.

  16. Wow! Those recipes look lovely. I’ve kept all of my borlottis in an old kilner jar and they look great (just sitting there on my shelf!). You have inspired me to actually eat them now!