Barlotti beans and rainbow chard salad

barlotti beans and rainbow chard salad

Barlotti beans cooked gently, mixed while warm with Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil and added to quickly braised rainbow chard stalks, make a colourful autumnal salad. It’s hard to resist the mottled pink pods of fresh barlotti beans in a greengrocer, and it’s a delight to discover the intricately decorated beans within. While this disappears in the cooking, you are richly compensated with a creamy, nutty tasting bean.  

We made a batch of fatayer (Lebanese pastry parcels filled with shredded chard leaves) from Barbara Massaad’s cookbook Forever Beirut and needed to use up the leftover crunchy stalks. Rachel Roddy in Five Quarters, mentions that gently boiled fresh barlotti beans dressed in good quality extra virgin olive are a delicious quick lunch. So we thought we would marry these brightly coloured ingredients together with the help of a bit of garlic and lemon. The fresh beans are quick to pod and take less than 30 minutes to cook. We added a small amount of crushed garlic but if you prefer not to, add a bit more lemon juice.

Barlotti beans and rainbow chard salad would work well with some goat’s cheese, Dorstone perhaps, and some good bread to mop up the puddle of golden extra virgin olive oil. 

serves 4


300g fresh barlotti bean pods
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons of Zejd extra virgin olive oil
a handful of chard stems, chopped into 1cm pieces
a small clove of garlic, crushed, optional
1/2 lemon, juice of
salt to taste

  1. Place the podded beans in a large saucepan and cover with 500ml of water. If you have a bay leaf, add this in too.
  2. Bring to the boil and then reduce, simmer gently for up to 30 minutes. The beans should hold their shape and taste creamy and soft when ready.
  3. Drain and add 3 tablespoons of Zejd’s extra virgin olive oil. Coat the beans well.
  4. In a large frying pan for which you have a lid, add a table spoon of the extra virgin olive  oil and heat for 30 sec on a medium flame. Add the chopped chard stalks, and 2 tablespoons of water and toss. Place the lid on and braise gently for around 5 minutes.  The stalks are ready when they are tender, but retain a bite.
  5. Place in the same bowl as the beans and add the crushed garlic, if using, and the lemon juice and salt. Taste and check for seasoning. 

Serve warm, adding more extra virgin olive oil to each serving.  Works well alongside some goat’s cheese for a quick lunch, or as a side dish with fish for a more elaborate meal. 

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