Sautéed Fresh Cranberry Beans with Sage and Garlic


Do you ever get stuck in a cooking rut where you go through a phase cooking the same dishes week in, week out?  Or are you the perpetually adventurous type, always trying out a new recipe?

During busy weeks I mindlessly speed shop through the market and walk out with the same staple items to cover several meals using the same recipes I’ve used for years.  I do try to keep a meal or two open during the week for new recipes which helps to keep this blog fresh and hopefully interesting…but sometimes there’s no time for the new.



But other times everything falls into place and a new ingredient is introduced in the kitchen with no planning involved at all.

During my last visit to the farmers market I picked up some English peas for a dish on this week’s menu but I couldn’t resist their eye-catching neighbors.  I wanted the cranberry beans, too–never mind that I had no clue what to do with them.  Canned beans I’m a pro at using.  Dried beans I’m getting the hang of.  But fresh beans? They’re new to me.

The owner of the farmers market advised me of their short season, that they take only about 2o minutes to cook and that they’re typically used in soups.  Soup wasn’t on the agenda for the week and I already had some salads in mind to make.  There was no room for the cranberry beans in my menu but they were so beautiful I left the market with a bag of them, too.



The next day, giddy like a little girl with a new toy, I took the bright pink pods out of the refrigerator to take pictures of them.  I still had no idea what to make but I knew that I could add them to a salad if I couldn’t get inspired.    I boiled them for the prescribed 20 minutes until they were just tender, the texture of cooked garbanzo beans.  Boiling them stripped the brightness from the beans but what they lost in color I was inspired to bring back through taste.

Don’t laugh at the paltry amount in my pot but that was all I had from half a bag of pods.  After draining the cooked beans I threw them back in the pot for the second round on the stove.  I sautéed them in olive oil along with some fresh sage, garlic, salt and a bit of lemon juice.  The cranberry beans held up well cooked this way, retaining their firm texture and even getting a bit crisp.  Frying them brought out their nutty quality enhanced by the garlic and salt.  Think of garlicky roasted peanuts or chickpeas–but better–and this is what you have here.  I added the sage because I have a lot of it growing in my yard but it ended up being a very nice addition, too.  I wouldn’t leave it out.

My only complaint is that I didn’t have enough.  After sampling a few beans I passed the tiny bowl on to my husband who promptly expressed his disappointment at not having more of the beans to enjoy.  They were a tasty snack–ideal for entertaining because they’re easy to prepare.

I think a mid-week visit to the farmers market will be in order just so I can have another taste of these sautéed cranberry beans before they’re gone for the season.  You might want to do the same.



5.0 from 6 reviews
Sautéed Fresh Cranberry Beans with Sage and Garlic
What these fresh cranberry beans lose in color they gain back in taste after sautéing them in garlic and fresh sage.
Recipe type: Snack
  • Fresh Cranberry Beans, shelled
  • Minced garlic (about 2-3 cloves per cup of shelled beans)
  • Olive oil (about 2 tablespoons per ½ - 1 cup of beans)
  • Fresh sage leaves (as many as you want)
  • Lemon or lime juice (a tablespoon ½ - 1 cup of beans)
  • salt, to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook the beans until just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  2. In the same pot or in another pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sage and fry for about 1 minute.
  3. When the sage starts to get crisp, add the beans and sauté for a couple of minutes. Season with salt.
  4. Add the garlic and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and starts to color. Remove from heat, squeeze a bit of lemon juice, toss, and serve.

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  1. Fresh beans are just marvelous and your dish sounds wonderful!



  2. Everything looks gorgeous! The beans, the blue board, the plates! It makes it so appetizing!!

  3. They are so pretty! I am not a big bean person, but with that gorgeous color, I would have a hard time not buying them!

  4. I love cranberry beans, but don’t think I’ve ever had them in their fresh form! Might have to keep an eye out for them because this recipe sounds so good!

  5. Delicious dish! I love your presentation and pics are just so appealing! Great recipe Jean!

  6. Fresh beans come and go so quickly at my market. I usually do the mung. I have seen these though and quite frankly thought they were just “too pink”! But that’s silly, huh? GREG

  7. Fresh beans are such a treat and to saute it with some herbs must be absolutely flavorful! Love how pink and pretty these looks 🙂

  8. These are the prettiest beans I’ve ever seen. I have never heard of these beans before, but now I must have them. They look delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I’ve never tried cranberry beans but these look amazing. I love your addition of sage and garlic, too! Playing with a new ingredient is always fun :).

  10. Experimenting with new ingredients is always fun. That’s how you learn!

  11. I never tried cranberry beans before but I take your word for it. Your recipe seems to be delicious. The problem with beans is that when you buy them still in the pods, you think you have a lot then after you shell them, you are left with just a handful. 🙂 When I encounter these beans, I will remember to try this recipe as my initiation to them.

  12. Hi Jean! Aren’t cranberry beans traditionally used in minestrone soup? Isn’t it funny how many beans you need to get a good amount coking in your pot! They are pretty pink pods though I think next time you’ll be buying a huge sack of them;-) I like the way you’ve prepared them with the garlic and sage, two of my favorite flavors, I bet your beans would be fabulous with lamb. Hope you’re enjoying your week;-)

  13. With such a short season – I need to purchase some soon. So love your dish – my mouth is watering. I can see why hubby was disappointed there was not more to enjoy. Such simple flavors are most often the best combinations. Loving the blue boards! (still need to paint my blue ones) 🙂

  14. Simple cooking and simple foods…a heaven-sent for a busy mom like me. Love the colour of the cranberry beans! Trust me, there are many, many weeks that I find myself repeating the same menu for the family. At times, I have no more time to think of new dishes or try something creative. So I fall back on my trustworthy weekly menu. Day 1 pork chops; Day 2 some kind of chicken; Day 3 pasta (red sauce); Day 4 some kind of fish; Day 5 pasta (white or oil-based sauce)…Saturday and Sunday? We eat out or I get to try my hands on new recipes for the blog and we eat it after 🙂

  15. I also get in a food rut. I’m really bad at planning meals ahead, I know I should do more of it specially during busy times. Typically I find inspiration in whatever is available in the market. Unfortunately our farmer’s markets aren’t as good as the ones in California. I’ll be keeping my eye out for some fresh beans. I love your photos Jean.

  16. Beautiful! What a easy, simple idea for beans – never heard of cranberry beans, but I’ll keep my eye out!

  17. i love these colorful roman beans and every time I find them at the local Asian store I can’t help but buying some. Lovely dish, simple but so delicious!

  18. I love using these in soup, but I had to laugh when you put in the part of them losing their color. I remember feeling robbed when I discovered that, lol. I love that blue color too. Hope you are having a great week.

  19. I haven’t tried fresh cranberry beans but next time I’m at the farmer’s market and see them, I will be picking them up and trying this recipe.

  20. I’ve never heard of cranberry beans, but “might” have seen them…look familiar. To be honest with you, my family is not a bean eater. I ate more beans when I was in Japan, but completely stopped eating beans in general. This looks very different from beans I ate in Japan. So pretty. I could pick up these beans one after another till I get completely full. 🙂

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Nami, these were definitely worth buying. They tasted great sautéed simply like this. And you know what else? Your little kiddies might enjoy helping you shell these because they’re so beautifully colored. 🙂

  21. How beautiful! I’ve never seen beans like this.

  22. I absolutely love your blog, in fact I would go as far as saying it is the most asthetically pleasing food blog I have seen. I love your colours and your photography is beautiful, as an artist myself I can truly say your photos are a feast for my eyes.

    I am a blogger and would love to share some of your recipes some time, I would use one image and people would have to use the link back to your site for the recipe.

    I simply have to do some more exploring because I just LOVE everything about your blog. Would love to know who did your branding for you?

    Lee ☺

  23. Ladyknight1 says:

    I found cranberry beans at our farmers market yesterday and I am going to make your recipe!

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