Long beans are not your common green beans. Also known as Chinese beans, yardlong beans, or asparagus beans, they are indeed long (upwards of 3 feet in length!), and also curvaceous and somewhat vine-like. They can be intimidating to the eye, but don’t be afraid of them; long beans can be used just as regular green beans in the kitchen, and they are actually a bit more versatile and easy to use.
Unlike common green beans, long beans tend to hold up well to heat and remain a bit crisp on the inside, so they’re really great for using in stir-fry recipes. They also hold up well to heavy flavors, spices, and sauces, so you can use them in robust dishes without losing their beany flavor. Long beans can also be used in seasonal summer salads, soups, and appetizer dishes.
When buying long beans, choose those that aren’t too limp, browned, or otherwise less than perky. They’ll keep in the fridge for up to five days or so—but you’ll do best to use them sooner than that if you don’t want to lose their crispness.
You’ll find a number of recipes online that use long beans in Asian dishes (as they’re commonly grown in Asian home gardens), such as Indian curries, Chinese stir-fries, and just about anything with hot peppers. But don’t feel that you’re limited to only using long beans for Asian dishes. You can easily substitute long beans for common green beans by butting them down to size, anywhere from ½-inch to 2-inch pieces, depending on the recipe.
Stay tuned for our long beans recipe coming later this week: Stir-Fried Spicy Long Beans!