Pic of French beans with tomato sauce and fried breadcrumbs

French beans with tomato sauce and fried breadcrumbs

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French beans with tomato sauce and fried breadcrumbs

Side Serves 5 1h 10 min
This is a common pairing; tomatoes and beans go very well together. It's a good to eat with lamb, but also rich enough for a light vegetarian main meal. The same tomato sauce can be served with runner beans, blanched fennel or courgettes.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chilli, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150g stale bread, crusts removed
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 400g French beans, trimmed
  • salt and pepper


Prep time: 10 min
Cooking time: 1h
  • Step 1

    First make the tomato sauce. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the chilli and garlic and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Just before the garlic turns brown, empty the canned tomatoes into the pan and stir. Add the sugar, then lower the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Season to taste.
  • Step 2

    While the sauce is cooking, prepare the breadcrumbs. Whiz the bread in a food processor to make crumbs. Put the oil in a small, deep pan and place over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic. When the garlic is turning brown, add the breadcrumbs and fry until they are golden and crisp. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper to drain and discard the garlic cloves.
  • Step 3

    Cook the French beans in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes; keep testing them for the desired amount of crunch. Drain well, then combine with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with the crunchy breadcrumbs.

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