We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Italian Flat Beans?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Italian flat beans are a form of bean with broad, flattened pods. They strongly resemble common green beans, except that they tend to be larger and flatter. Many cooks use them interchangeably with string or green beans, and some Italian recipes call specifically for the use of these beans. Specialty produce companies and some markets will carry flat beans when in season, and they can also be grown at home.

Like other beans, Italian flat beans come in two forms. The first, green bean form is eaten whole, pod and all. It is crispy and crunchy, with a mild beany flavor, and they perform best when they are very lightly cooked. Overcooked beans can get mushy and dull in flavor. They can also be allowed to mature on the vine, in which case the pods wither and split to reveal dried beans. In this form, they are sometimes called Romano beans, and they have more nutritional value, while also requiring a long cooking time to soften into digestibility.

When selecting Italian flat beans in green form, consumers should look for crisp pods which snap easily. The beans may be green or purple, depending on regional varieties. Floppy or discolored beans are unsuitable, and they should be discarded. They can be stored under refrigeration for several days until use, or they can be canned like other green beans for year-round use. They can be steamed, briefly fried, or boiled, and some people include them in casseroles and other dishes for a zesty color and texture.

Dried beans can be used in any recipe that calls for beans. They are brown with black splotches, and like other beans they are high in protein. Some recipes such as soups and casseroles call specifically for Romano beans, and they can be used to make chili and other similar dishes from around the world. Remember to cook they until they are soft and breaking apart, to ensure that they are digestible.

To grow Italian flat beans, start seedlings in a greenhouse or plant the seeds directly into moist soil in fair weather. They should be planted in mid-spring, to ensure that they will mature in the summer. Make sure to provide a trellis for the vines to climb as they grow. You can either harvest the beans in green form for eating fresh, or you can let them dry on the vine so that you have dried beans.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon289436 — On Sep 04, 2012

@musicshaman: These are best eaten fresh. Steamed, then roasted in the oven in a little olive oil and garlic, or sauteed. I've never cooked fresh green beans in a slow cooker. They simply aren't suited to long cooking as far as I know. In the deep south, they may be cooked in a pot with a ham hock for a long time, like collards, but I can't vouch for that.

By anon165827 — On Apr 06, 2011

Some years ago I was given some bean seeds which were a climbing variety. They were not round beans like Blackhilde, but a flat purple bean like a runner bean. The bean seeds were somewhat smaller than a runner bean seeds. They had pretty purple blooms and the resulting beans were flat.

When sliced in the normal way you would slice runner beans and cooked, they turned green. He told me they were American black beans but I doubt if this was the real name. Perhaps they came from America initially. I have also been told they may be a type of French flat bean. Has anyone heard of them or where I can obtain them? -- Kathie

By anon162652 — On Mar 24, 2011

Years ago an Italian gave me some Italian beans seeds for my garden. They are delicious but I cannot fine the seeds to plant this year. Please help.

By EarlyForest — On Aug 06, 2010

The farmer's market near me always has fresh Italian beans in season, and I love them. Something about that mild flavor just gets me every time!

By closerfan12 — On Aug 06, 2010

@musicshaman -- I think that you could, but I don't know it you'd want to.

Like the article says, those things do tend to get pretty mushy if you overcook them.

Now if you wanted to try it with Romano beans you might have better luck, since they take so much longer to cook.

If you're looking for an easy veggie recipe with beans, why don't you try a white bean salad? That's my old standby when I don't have time to cook.

By musicshaman — On Aug 06, 2010

Can you cook Italian flat beans in a slow cooker or crock pot?

I'm looking for some no-fuss vegetarian recipes before I go back to college, and these beans seem like they'd be really good in the slow cooker.

Any voice of experience out there for me?

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.