Herbed Purple & Wax Beans

1 1/2 lb mixture of wax and purple beans
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced thyme
1 teaspoon minced parsley
olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

In a skillet, saute the garlic and shallot in olive oil until translucent. Add the beans, lemon juice and zest. Cook until the beans are tender, just a few minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and spices. Stir to coat.

My thoughts:

This is one of those recipes when less is really more. I love when wax and purple beans come back in season in the fall because it lets me put off switching to squash as my sole local fruit for vegetable for a couple of weeks. Not that I dislike squash but that’s pretty much all that is available until April, so I like to take advantage of whatever is still in season. Plus they are just so fresh and crisp, I don’t know anyone who could resist them. Purple beans do lose their color as they cool so if they are tender enough, I just barely heat them through so they stay as purple as possible. I don’t think they need much more than a simple dressing of lemon juice and herbs to make them sing. Just take care not to over cook.


  1. Hi there! I grow the purple beans every year and the question I have, is how do you keep them from turning color when exposed to heat? When I cook mine, they turn green even a minute or two into the heat. I've always loved that aspect of them… when the kids were small, we called them 'magic beans' and truly for a child… they were. It was a neat way to get them to willingly eat beans, for what child could resist eating 'magic beans'?

    However, your dish looks fabulous with the contrast of yellow and purple, so I'd like to know how to keep them from turning? So far, if I want to serve them purple, I've used them uncooked (we actually love crunching on them that way too).


  2. They were pretty tender so I just barely cooked them and they stayed purple.

  3. Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie

    Love the colors of this side dish. I buy and cook with purple potatoes on a regular basis – but I don't think I've ever bought purple green beans.

    It really is the time of year to find elegant side dishes that fit with the big holiday meals. If they can possibly be reasonably healthy – that's a big plus.

  4. I've not seen purple beans at my local farmer's markets here in Seattle. I'll have to hunt them down. The colors of this dish are fantastic, and healthy too!

  5. Wax beans = my grandmother 😉 She used to make them so often. I don't think I've seen them in years now. I have to try and hunt them down!