Butterbean stew

I feel a bit guilty about all the meaty recipes I’ve been posting of late, so here’s a bit of very tasty recompense: butterbean stew. It’s a bit like Turkish kuru fasulye or Lebanese fassoulia bayda, but without the meaty bits that usually appear in these dishes.

I was worried it might be a bit thin without the meat, but it really isn’t. The whole spices give it a fragrant, citrusy tang and perfect richness, while the beans are really filling. It took just 30 minutes to cook, and the leftovers were even tastier the next day.


Cooking time: 35 mins


What you need

2 tbsp olive oil

2 onions, finely diced

5 fat cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 x 4cm cinnamon stick

2 x 400g cans of butterbeans, drained and rinsed

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tsp sugar

Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan, then sauté the onions with a pinch of salt over a low heat until golden and starting to caramelise (about 10-15 minutes).
  2. Add the garlic, and fry for a couple of minutes until just beginning to colour. Next, add the spices and stir fry for five more minutes.
  3. Now tip in the drained beans and the tomatoes, and stir well. You may need to add a little more water as necessary to keep the sauce liquid, but this really depends on personal preference. Add the sugar, then bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Check the seasoning, add more salt and pepper as necessary, then serve with pilaf and a salad.

More exciting Middle Eastern bean recipes