Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Greens beans have a bad rep, especially when it comes to kids. This is most likely due to the fact that they are often prepared the wrong way- boiled and served bland. This traditional Italian recipe proves that with a few fresh flavours, bland green beans can be transformed into the ultimate side dish- one that even kids will love. Greens beans in spicy tomato sauce is a classic Italian side dish, delicious with roasted or grilled meats, or as an accompaniment to any meal.

I love to eat green beans in the summer when they are picked fresh from the garden, and cooked until tender and crisp. Every time I make these green beans, I get flashbacks of my nonna, sitting in her armchair on the porch, in her flowered apron with a big bowl full of freshly picked beans from her garden on her lap. One by one she would remove the stems of the beans and then transfer them to another bowl, all the while watching her grandchildren play in the yard. She prepared green beans in so many different ways; green bean and potato salad, sautéed with garlic until crispy, and these green beans in spicy tomato sauce. My nonna also liked to use a lot of garlic in her cooking. I prefer a more subtle garlic flavour, so instead of adding heaps of chopped garlic, I halve a few cloves, cook them in the sauce to add that distinct garlic flavour, then remove them before serving.

Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Sometimes, I like a change of pace (even if I can’t handle it) and I add a bit more spice than usual in my recipes. The addition of hot red pepper flakes brings a ton of flavour to this dish. If you can’t take the heat, then simply omit them! With only 5 ingredients you can prepare this delicious side dish however, you can add even more flavour by sautéing some onions, and adding some cubed pancetta for a non-vegan version. As I said, this classic Italian side dish is wonderful with grilled or roasted meats, but I think it’s tasty and filling enough to serve as a light main course-of course with some crusty Italian bread for dipping! Scarpetta, anyone?

If you try this recipe (and love it!) be sure to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram with #bitesforfoodies so I can see your creation!

Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce

: Serves 1-2
: 5 min
: 15 min

Greens beans have a bad rep, especially when it comes to kids. This is most likely due to the fact that they are often prepared the wrong way- boiled and served bland. This traditional Italian recipe proves that with a few fresh flavours, bland green beans can be transformed into the ultimate side dish- one […]


Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce
    1 pound of green beans, stems removed
  • 1 jar of tomato puree (about 650 mL)
  • 3-4 basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup cooking water
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan for garnish
  • red pepper flakes, quantity as desired (optional)

Bring well-salted water to a boil in a large pot. Remove them stems from the beans then add to pot and cook for 7-8 minutes or until fork tender. They should have a slight bite to them, as they will continue to cook in the sauce. Once cooked, drain and set aside in a colander.

While the beans are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomato puree, sugar, red pepper flakes, and basil and cook on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Transfer the beans to the sauce with about 1/4 cup of the cooking water and continue to simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes or so, stirring to ensure all the beans are coated in the sauce. Remove the garlic before serving.

These are delicious serve piping hot or at room temperature. Garnish with more fresh basil and Parmesan cheese, if desired. Consume leftovers within 4 days of preparation.

20 thoughts on “Green Beans in Spicy Tomato Sauce”

  • You said 1 jar of tomato purée. I’ve only seen large cans, but never a jar. How much purée do you use

    • Hi there! About 650mL should be enough…there is roughly that much in the tomato puree that I use. I prefer the jars of tomato puree to the canned variety. Look for Molisana and Aurora brands!

  • That looks so delicious! I have been adding green beans to our dinners last week and don’t know what else to do with them. I’ll have to try this!

  • Kristy 7 years ago

    These green beans look amazing! This is such an interesting twist on a classic side dish. We love green beans, but we do get tired of them after awhile. I like this change up!

  • Alison Freisz-Steward 7 years ago

    I love green beans but for some reason I never think to fix them “in” anything – except maybe green bean casserole at Thanksgiving. I love this! It’s different and it sounds delicious.

  • Gwen Mulholland 7 years ago

    This looks like a great way to add some zip to a much loved side dish in our house. Green beans were the only vegetable I could always count on my kids eating. I am sure they will love this new version.

  • Jennifer S. 7 years ago

    These look absolutely delicious! I love trying new ways to flavor up my vegetables… especially since I’ve gone gluten free! I’ve been TONS more veggies and they can get so boring just as they are. I’ll definitely be adding the missing ingredients to my shopping list this weekend!

  • Censie ‘Mumby’ Sawyer 7 years ago

    We just picked a ton of our green beans from the garden. I need to tell my husband about this recipe. I think we would all enjoy it. Looks so good and perfect for this time of the year.

  • Jelli 7 years ago

    We love Italian food and this looks delicious. I had no idea that green beans drenched in red sauce was an Italian side, but it sure sounds delicious to me. I remember from the time I lived in Italy that there were no dry beans to be found, but green beans-yep.

  • Jaime Nicole 7 years ago

    This looks really tasty! I love foods that have a kick to it – it really spices up the meal. Even my kids are starting to really like spicy foods, so this is definitely a recipe that we will give a try.

    • My kids are pretty adventurous…they’ll try spicy foods, even if I tell them they are spicy. But then as soon as they eat them, they change their minds 😉

  • These look delicious and so good to eat. We do one similar Green Beans Parmesan, lot less spicy but the same concept. Green Beans love sauce. Thanks for this new recipe to try because the spicy tomato sauce is what I think I will like best, a little kick.

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