Braised green beans with tomato, cardamom and garlic

by Yotam Ottolenghi
Braised green beans with tomato, cardamom and garlic


Braised green beans in tomato sauce are eaten throughout the Middle East, cooked with or without meat, and usually eaten with rice. Cooking down the beans in this way means they lose that bright green hue, but it does make them wonderfully soft and comforting. Omit the chilli for a more child-friendly version, if you prefer.

150g cherry tomatoes
550g vine tomatoes (ie, about 4-5), roughly chopped
120ml olive oil
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced (180g net weight)
10 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
8 cardamom pods, lightly bashed open in a mortar or with the flat of a knife
1½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli flakes
Salt and black pepper
450g green beans, trimmed and cut in half at an angle
4 tbsp (15g) roughly chopped coriander, plus extra picked leaves to serve


Put a large saute pan for which you have a lid on a high heat. Once very hot, add the datterini tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until well charred all over. Transfer to a bowl and leave the pan to cool down slightly.

Meanwhile, put the chopped vine tomatoes in a food processor, blitz to a puree, and set aside.

Return the now-empty tomato pan to a medium-high heat, add five tablespoons of oil and, once hot, stir in the onion and cook, stirring from time to time, for about six minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add two thirds of the garlic and all the cardamom, cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes, until the garlic has taken on some colour. Add the spices, cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant, then stir in the blitzed tomatoes, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a good grind of pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, for seven minutes, until thickened. Add 250ml water and cook for eight minutes more, until incorporated.

Turn down the heat to medium, add the beans, cover the pan, and leave to cook for 12 minutes. Give everything a stir, add the charred tomatoes, then replace the lid and cook for eight minutes more, until the beans are nice and soft, then stir through the chopped coriander.

Meanwhile, put the remaining three tablespoons of oil and the remaining sliced garlic in a small frying pan, put it on a medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for about eight minutes. When the garlic is golden and crisp, turn off the heat.

Transfer the beans and tomatoes to a large shallow bowl and top with the picked coriander. Spoon over the fried garlic and its oil, and serve at room temperature.

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