Summer Salads and Vegetables

Potatoes, green beans and pesto


This mixture of beans, potatoes and pesto is a classic Ligurian dish, usually served with pasta. I like to use a variety of long beans, which ripen in the summer – yellow, green, purple and even runner beans – for added colour and varied shapes.

Homemade pesto tastes so much better and I urge you to try making it with a pestle and mortar.

Serves 4.

This recipe originally featured in the June 2019 edition of House & Garden magazine


  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 100g basil
  • 25g parmesan, grated
  • 2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1.5kg small waxy potatoes, halved
  • 600g green and runner beans, mixed
  • Large handful of rocket


  • To make the pesto, put the garlic, pine nuts and a large pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar, and pound until almost smooth. Strip the basil leaves from the stalks and roughly chop. Add the leaves to the mortar in stages, pounding and grinding around the sides of the bowl. When the texture is fairly smooth, add the parmesan and olive oil, and stir to combine. Taste for salt and add more if necessary.
  • Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with cold, well-salted water and bring to the boil. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Top the beans and cut any large ones into smaller pieces. Steam the beans for 3-4 minutes (either over the potatoes as they cook, or separately) until they are soft, but still al dente.
  • Drain the potatoes and put them into a large salad bowl. Add the beans and pesto, and mix while warm. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Just before serving, stir in the rocket leaves.


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