Rattlesnake and Pole Beans

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If you are fast enough, and to get to the Farmers Market in time to take home some rattlesnake beans before they sell out you are fast, but if you aren’t the regular pole beans will surely do the same for your menu! Green beans are about as present on the Southern table as are mashed potatoes and homemade biscuits. Green beans however, add a splash of color and can easily dress up the most normal of family dinner meals. Especially when we’re talking about the very mottled rattlesnake beans.

Many folks might not know about the pole bean’s cousin, rattlesnake, so here’s the scoop;

Traditional Pole beans are longer and broader than regular green beans. Pole beans can be flat or round. Always check pole beans for strings by snapping off the ends and peeling back before cooking. Pole beans taste much like green beans, but they are tougher than other snap beans and thus need to cook longer.

The Heirloom Rattlesnake beans: are an heirloom variety of pole bean, the bean gets its name from its mottled skin. Cook them as you would other varieties of pole beans. Sadly, once cooked, these beans turn green and lose their dappled appearance.

Here are a few “out of the ordinary” recipes to use when you get home with your fresh rattlesnake and pole beans!

Rattlesnake Beans with Olive Tapenade


  • 2 quarts water
  • 2½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1½ pounds rattlesnake beans or pole beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1½ teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and quartered


  1. Bring 2 quarts water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans; cook 25 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain.
  2. Place olives and remaining ingredients in a food processor; add remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Process until finely chopped, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Combine beans and olive mixture in a large bowl; toss well.

Serves 6. Each serving contains Calories 66, Fat 2.6 g, Protein 2.4 g, Carbohydrate 10.1 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 365 mg, Calcium 49 mg.

Lemon-Dill Green Beans


  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring an inch of water to a boil in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Add green beans, cover and cook until tender-crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk dill, shallot, oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the green beans and toss to coat. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving to blend flavors.

Note:  The lemon and dill vinaigrette is a natural complement to green beans. It’s also great tossed with steamed asparagus or drizzled over sliced fresh tomatoes. To make this recipe serve 10, multiply all the ingredients by 2½: Use 2½ pounds green beans, 3 tablespoons dill, 2½ tablespoons each shallot, oil and lemon juice, 2½ teaspoons mustard and ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 74, Fat 4 g, Carbohydrates 0 mg, Protein 2 g, Fiber 4 g, Sodium 163 mg, Potassium 178 mg.

Greek Green Beans


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 large overripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, or 1 pound ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon Olive oil


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring consistently, until soft and golden brown, 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue cooking 1 minute. Add tomatoes and water. Cook slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add green beans and another tablespoon of water. Add salt, pepper and sugar. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer slowly until beans are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. A few minutes before beans are ready, uncover pan and turn up the heat to reduce liquid. Stir in Olive oil just before serving.

Slow Sautéed Pole Beans

Not so pretty but delicious


  • 2 teaspoons orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces pole green beans, trimmed and cut into 2- or 3-inch pieces
  • 4 large shallots, peeled and cut lengthwise into ½-inch wedges (keep a little of the stem end intact if you can)
  • 2 ounces bacon (about 2 pieces), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vinegar and set aside. In a 10-inch straight sided skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beans, shallots, bacon, and a scant teaspoon of salt. Using tongs, toss to break up the bacon and to coat everything with the oil and salt.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally at first and a little more frequently after browning begins, until the vegetables are all very-well browned and limp (the bacon will be cooked through and some pieces will be crisp), about 22 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and the orange juice mixture, and immediately stir to incorporate the liquids and melting butter into the beans. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish or individual plates and serve hot or warm.

Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

Home Cooked Pole Beans


  • 2 pounds fresh pole beans
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar


  1. Cut beans into 1½-inch pieces, and set aside.
  2. Cook bacon slices in a large saucepan until crisp; remove bacon, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in saucepan. Crumble bacon, and set aside.
  3. Add water and next 3 ingredients to saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat. Add beans; cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 15 minutes or to desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Serves 6 – 8.