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Italian Flat Beans with Cherry Tomatoes & Vinegar

Italian Flat Beans with Cherry Tomatoes & Vinegar
Home » Italian Recipes » Side dish for smothered cod

It is often easier for people to figure out the proteins for a low carb dinner than it is the side dishes. This dish of sautéed Italian flat beans (Romano beans) and smashed cherry tomatoes cooked in a fruit vinegar sauce is a match made in heaven and is a great side to cod or pork chops. Straight from the Italian Vegetable Garden!

Italian flat beans cooking in a skillet with smashed cherry tomatoes
Italian flat beans and smashed cherry tomatoes

Jump to: RECIPE | What are Flat Beans | Dragon Tongue Beans | Cooking with Vinegars | Step by Step Directions

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What are Italian flat beans (Romano beans)?

Romano beans are wide flat beans that are also referred to as Italian flat beans. They are NOT Italian broad beans….those are called fava beans.

Romano beans are meaty, with a crispy crunch to them. I much prefer them over green string beans. Alas, they are not that easy to find.

Sometimes you will find them at farmers’ markets in the late summer, but they are not a common sight in the local grocery stores. I ended up growing them myself out of frustration over lack of availability.

If you can find them (or grow them) however they are well worth the trouble. They can take a boring bean dish over the top and become a main dish all alone if you are a vegetarian. If you have any room in your garden, try growing Italian flat beans at home!

Romano beans, stemmed and in a bowl.
Romano beans, stemmed

Romano beans (or flat beans) are often braised with other vegetables. In the recipe below I have slow-cooked them with smashed cherry tomatoes which are at their peak at the same time as the beans.

I’ve added a bit of fruit vinegar to the pan to brighten up the meaty beans.

Flat beans can often fit into a low-carb or keto diet, where vegetables are important to ensure you get the right micronutrients.

Heirloom Flat Beans – Dragon’s Tongue

A specialty type of flat bean is a Dutch heirloom called “Dragon’s Tongue”. Similar in taste to the Romano but a beautiful purple-speckled color.

Just know that the beautiful color disappears when cooked and they turn pale yellow. If you want to preserve the color, blanch them quickly and use them in salads. Here is what they look like fresh….

flat beans
Dragon’s Tongue heirloom beans

Supplementing Flat Beans with Cherry Tomatoes:

With a focus on “easy”, I decided to take advantage of all the cherry tomatoes that were coming into peak season at the same time as the beans.

I have the good fortune to live in the same area as Lynn Rosetta Casper, the well-known Italian cookbook author and radio personality.

She honors me every year by purchasing tomatoes from my farm booth at the St. Paul Farmers Market and chatting with me about how she uses them.  

I’m always amazed at the varieties she selects and one day when the big slicers were gone she picked up a bunch of cherry tomatoes.  She told me they’re actually quite good just mashed up and quickly made into a sauce.

Inspired by Lynn’s smashed cherry tomatoes, I mixed them with Italian flat beans and cooked them down to a tender, sauced vegetable side dish.

Romano beans with roasted cherry tomatoes in skillet with bowl of sun gold tomatoes on the side.
Romano beans with roasted cherry tomatoes

Cooking with Vinegars

Many chefs will tell you that the secret ingredient to take a dish over the top is a splash of acid. This can take the form of lemon juice, lime juice or any number of vinegars.

I tested this flat bean recipe first with “tomato vinegar” to enhance the cherry tomatoes already in the dish. The second test was with cranberry vinegar which gave it a whole new flavor.

Fruit vinegars may be difficult to find so you can just use the type of vinegar you have on hand. I do have a detailed process including ratios of fruit to vinegar however, If you want to make your own homemade fruit vinegar

Lemon juice tends to add a brighter taste and the vinegars add a more subtle acidity. I often opt for vinegar as I think it allows the flavor of the ingredients to shine more. Lemon juice can sometimes be overpowering to me.

Fruit vinegars pair nicely with all kinds of vegetables and proteins. This sheet pan of roasted veggies sprinkled with fruit vinegars is a recipe we make frequently in the Summer and Fall.

Ingredient List:

Here are the basic ingredients for the recipe below:

Ingredients for flat beans and cherry tomato saute
Ingredients: cherry tomatoes, kosher salt, flat beans, onion, vinegar, oil

Illustrated Step by Step:

Detailed directions are in the recipe card, but for those who appreciate visual directions, here is a summarized step-by-step:

Plate of stemmed Italian flat beans.
Step #1: Destem beans and cut into 2” pieces
Chopped onion in a cast  iron skillet
Step #2: Chop the onions and place in skillet with hot oil
Caramelized chopped onions in cast iron skillet
Step #3: Caramelize the onions by cooking over medium heat for 5-7 minutes
Flat beans and caramelized onion in cast iron skillet
Step #4: Add garlic, beans, fruit vinegar and water to skillet and simmer 10 minutes
Cherry tomatoes and flat beans simmering in skillet.
Step #5: Add the cherry tomatoes to skillet and turn the heat to medium-low
Potato masher being used to smash cherry tomatoes in skillet.
Step #6: Use a potato masher or fork to smash cherry tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes

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Italian flat beans with smashed cherry tomatoes

Romano beans and cherry tomatoes in a skillet saute
Italian flat beans are also known as Romano beans and are meatier than regular green beans. A sautee of Romano beans with cherry tomatoes is a perfect Summer side dish.
4.75 from 31 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 140



  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1-2 lbs flat beans blossom end trimmed off
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup fruit vinegar optional, can use any vinegar
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes about 14 ounces


  • Rinse the beans and remove the blossom end. You can remove the pointy end also if desired. For a visually pleasing dish, cut the beans into 1/3's and cut on a diagonal. Otherwise leave whole
    1-2 lbs flat beans
  • Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over med-high heat and add chopped onions. Saute until golden brown and caramelized (about 5 minutes)
    2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 large onion
  • Add minced garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add beans and mix all together in the skillet.
    2 cloves garlic
  • Add salt, oregano, and vinegar. Add some water to allow the beans to simmer in a bit of liquid. I added 1/2 cup, but use your discretion. Simmer everything for about 10 minutes
    1 tsp salt, 2 tsp oregano, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup fruit vinegar
  • Add cherry tomatoes to the skillet and mash lightly with a potato masher or a fork. Stir together and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until beans are texture that you prefer.
    1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Enjoy!



Calories: 140kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 4gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 605mgPotassium: 563mgFiber: 5gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1361IUVitamin C: 44mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 2mg
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Step-by-step cooking tutorial for sauteed beans with smothered cod dinner

Low Carb Sautéed Italian Romano Beans & Smothered Cod | Summer Dinner
Watch this video on YouTube.
Watch the Step by Step Video for More Details

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