South African Stewed Green Beans

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A simple green bean stew made with fresh green beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chile, olive oil, and salt and pepper that has been slow-cooked. As the main meal or side dish, these braised green beans are excellent served hot or cold!
This is what you’d call mashed beans, and it is, sort of! It’s a common method of cooking older green beans that have outlived their usefulness and are no longer good enough to steam plainly.
This side dish qualifies as “old-fashioned comfort food”! It’s very good with roast meats and stews. Quantities are not set in stone, as they are with many old, traditional recipes. You should give it a shot.

How Green Beans Grow

They are sown straight into the soil as seeds. Bush beans are grown in open fields in rows. Pole beans are planted in rows as well, but they are supported by a trellis system. Blooms will appear on the plants, which will develop into bean pods.

Some common names of green beans include; French beans (or haricot vert), string beans, and snap beans (or simply snaps). They are also known as Baguio beans or habichuelas in the Philippines.

Are Green Beans Healthy?

Because of their low calorie and fat content, green beans are a healthy complement to practically any diet. They’re also nutrient-dense since they’re high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and the nutrients they contain provide a variety of health benefits. These benefits include; repairs damaged cells, improves the heart health, protects gut function, aids pregnancy health, may help prevent cancer.

Not to mention the fact that this dish is gluten-free, vegan, and only only one pan to prepare. The green bean salad that results can be served warm or cold, making it a very adaptable dish!

Stewed Green Beans

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes


  • 14 ounces green beans,
  • 1 potato medium, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion medium, peeled and sliced
  • 12 tsp sugar
  • 113 tsp white pepper  (to taste)
  • 12 tsp salt  (to taste)
  • 13 tsp nutmeg as garnish, to taste (optional)
  • Butter to taste


  • Wash and tail beans. Please note that you could use more; the quantity doesn't matter.
  • If you're cooking for more than 4 people, use more beans and maybe 2 potatoes.
  • Cut the beans cross-wise into rounds -- anything from thinly sliced to 1" long.
  • Carry on until all the beans have been cut.
  • Put in a pot, and slice the peeled potato and onion over the beans.
  • Add about 1/3 cup water, sugar, white pepper and salt.(Yes, white pepper is the best here, but black pepper is fine).
  • Don't mix: just put lid on and bring to boil, then lower heat and let simmer.
  • Bring to the boil, lower heat, put lid on, and let the whole lot simmer until everything is very soft.
  • Using one of your utensils, which you use to mash any vegetable roughly, mash the beans, potato and onion, but don't try to beat it to a pulp -- there should be texture left.
  • Usually there is a bit too much liquid left. Drain this off -- I use a sieve -- or you can boil it away over high heat, but be careful not to burn the veggies.
  • Add a good knob of real butter, fork through, and sprinkle with nutmeg to serve.
  • This simple dish can easily be made ahead and warmed up -- the flavour improves.
  • Serve as a vegetable side dish.
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