A South African roast dinner just wouldn’t be complete without these delicious mashed green beans, or boereboontjies.
Mashed Green Beans
Boereboontjies is a traditional South African way of preparing green beans. It is pronounced boo-ra bwoyn-keys, and translates as Farmers Beans.
Mashed green beans are made by boiling together green beans, potatoes and onion and then mashing them up with lashings of butter and freshly ground black pepper. They are served as a side dish with any roast meat.
The way of life of the early Dutch settlers in South Africa was farming, and hearty, starchy food was a way of keeping them well-nourished during their working day. Luckily this way of cooking beans has survived the test of time and boereboontjies remain a favourite South African way of preparing mashed green beans.
To be honest, it is a similar concept to the traditional English Bubble and Squeak – except it’s not fried after being mashed.
It is also a great way of getting your children to eat their greens. When my children were younger they turned their noses up at anything resembling healthy vegetables. But they were more than happy to wolf down huge helpings of mashed green beans.
Mashed green beans – made with only three main ingredients
This simple vegetable dish is made with only three main ingredients.
- 500g green runner beans
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 large onion
You will also need a lump of butter and salt and pepper
To make mashed green beans, simply chop the beans and onions into 1 cm pieces, and quarter the potatoes.
Place the beans and onions in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil, cover with a lid and then let them continue to boil for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue boiling until the potatoes are soft enough to mash.
Drain in a colendar, then add the butter, and plenty of ground black pepper and mash with a potato masher until well combined.
Tip – don’t try to mash this using a potato ricer. The texture will be wrong. You are looking for a nice chunky mix.
Serve as an accompaniment to any roast meat.
You can also adapt this recipe by substituting an equal quantity of washed, chopped spinach for the beans. It is equally delicious. (Add extra pepper to this one – the spinach loves it)!
You will need the following equipment to make these beans
- Chopping board – a wooden chopping block is essential in any kitchen.
- Sharp Knife – the sharper the better
- Saucepan (with lid) – I like to use a saucepan with a ‘stay-cool’ handle
- Colander – for draining
- Potato masher – a silicon one won’t scratch your pan
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Can I freeze mashed green beans?
Absolutely! These beans freeze really well. I always look out for specials on beans in the supermarket, take them home and cook up a big batch. Then I freeze them in plastic bags, in sufficient quantities for one meal.
To use them from frozen, just tip the frozen beans into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until they have defrosted. Then allow them to come to the boil and serve.
If you have made this dish with spinach, you can freeze and defrost in the same way.
Can I double up this recipe?
Yes – that is what I tend to do if I have bought a large quantity of beans. Just keep the ratio of (approximately) 2 medium sized potatoes and one onion for every 500g of beans.
Recipe – mashed green beans
Boere boontjies (mashed green beans)
- 500 g green beans cut into 1 cm lengths
- 2 medium potatoes
- 1 large onion
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 knob butter
- Ground black pepper to taste
- Wash the beans, snip the ends off and then cut them into 1cm pieces
- Peel the onions and chop them coarsely
- Place the beans and onions into a pot of cold water with the salt
- Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
- Peel and quarter the potatoes
- Add to the beans and onions and continue to boil for 10 to 15 minutes until the vegetables are soft enough to mash.
- Add butter and plenty of ground black pepper.
- Mash, serve and enjoy
If you made this recipe and enjoyed it, please don’t forget to give me a star rating in the comments below. And if you’d like to get in touch, you can email me on [email protected] I’d love to hear from you.
Why not have a browse through my collection of side dishes
Here are some of my favourite vegetable sides:
- Baby Marrows with Tomato and Onion – a delicious way of preparing zucchini
- Spiralized potato and onion bake – a new twist on dauphinoise potatoes
- Butternut stuffed with cheese and corn – baked in the oven
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