This vegetarian Butter Bean Stew is a quick and easy way to add more plant based meals to your weekly diet. Perfect for meal prep, creamy butter beans are combined with onion, bell peppers and garlic in a rich tomato sauce. The finished dish is a nutritious and healthy stew the whole family will enjoy.
I'm a huge fan of easy one pot dinners, and this delicious butter bean stew is no exception. This fast vegetarian weeknight dinner, ready in 30 minutes, is a winner any night of the week.
This recipe is based on the Jamie Oliver Butter Bean stew recipe which was a big hit with my family. Since then I've tinkered with the recipe to make my own version the whole family will love.
Depending where you are in the world, butter beans are also known as lima beans, a Lima Bean Stew is more familiar in the US.
For this meal in a bowl, I've added sundried tomatoes as they add real depth of flavor to the finished stew. But if you don't have them, don't worry, it's fine to leave them out.
- Why You'll Love This Mediterranean Butter Bean Stew
- Butter Bean Stew Ingredients
- How to Make Vegetarian Butter Bean Stew - Step-By-Step
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Variations & Substitutions for Vegetable Butter Bean Stew
- Tips & Tricks For Making Vegetable Bean Stew
- Pin This Butter Bean Stew Recipe For Later
- What Do You Think?!
- More Easy One Pot Recipe Ideas
- Printable Recipe
- Butter Bean Stew
- Reader Comments & Ratings
Why You'll Love This Mediterranean Butter Bean Stew
- With only 5 minutes hands-on prep time, this dish requires only simple ingredients and can be cooked and on the table in 30 minutes.
- This is a one pot stew which keeps all the flavor in the dish and also saves on the washing up.
- Butter bean stew is a great make ahead dish and one that is ideal for batch cooking. Double the recipe, enjoy some now and freeze the rest for a quick meal another day.
- This dish can be easily adapted to suit the ingredients you have in your own store cupboard and refrigerator at home.
- For some great tasting vegetarian meals try my:
Butter Bean Stew Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Beans - For ease I have used canned butter beans, which as also known as lima beans. However, feel free to substitute with any other canned beans, mixed beans or even chickpeas.
If using dried beans you will need to soak them overnight and cook them to soften them a little before adding to the stew.
Vegetables - A combination of red onion, bell peppers and garlic form the base of the stew. I then like to wilt some baby spinach through towards the end. You can use any other veggies, for example sweet potato, zucchini, eggplant, green beans, kale and cherry tomatoes would all work in this dish too.
Tomatoes - I use tomato purée (or tomato paste), sun-dried tomatoes and canned tomatoes to flavor the stew. The purée and sundried tomatoes in particular add a really intense tomato flavor.
Broth - This is a vegetarian butter bean stew so I use vegetable broth. Provided not serving to vegan or vegetarian diners, a chicken broth would also work in this dish too.
Spices - I keep the spicing in this stew mild, adding a teaspoon of paprika which adds a great smokey flavor. However, you can add any other spices, or some chili powder if you want a kick of heat.
How to Make Vegetarian Butter Bean Stew - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe below.
The first step is to sauté the sliced onions in olive oil until soft. Add red bell pepper and continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes.
Stir in finely chopped garlic, tomato paste, sugar and paprika.
Add chopped sundried tomatoes (if using) and the canned chopped tomatoes. Season well with sea salt and black pepper and let the mixture come to a boil.
Add the drained and rinsed beans, cover then simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
Stir through the spinach then serve as is or top with Greek yogurt and chopped fresh parsley.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are butter beans?
Butter beans are a type of white bean that have a creamy texture, which is said to be like butter. They are also know as lima beans.
What beans are a good substitute for butter beans?
There are many varieties of beans that would work in place of butter beans. Cannellini beans, red kidney beans, barlotti beans, great northern beans, navy beans, gigantes beans and pinto beans would all work in this recipe too.
Are butter beans good for you?
Butter beans are a great store cupboard ingredient. Butter beans are high in protein, fiber, folate, but low in fat and calories. They are nutrient rich in iron, zinc and magnesium and a good source of healthy carbohydrate too.
Do you always have to drain butter beans?
I prefer to drain and rinse butter beans as the canning liquid is full of both salt and starch. If you don't rinse the beans it will affect the flavor of the finished stew.
What is the difference between a butter bean and lima bean?
Butter beans and lima beans are the same thing, what you call them depends on where you live. In the UK they are called butter beans, whereas in the US they are often called lima beans.
Variations & Substitutions for Vegetable Butter Bean Stew
- Make a vegan butter bean stew by substituting the Greek yogurt with a vegan yogurt.
- If you like heat add some chili powder or some red chili flakes.
- Don't have butter beans? This is also wonderful with cannellini beans or even navy beans as an alternative.
- Swap the spinach for kale or chard.
- Sweet potato pieces are also a wonderful addition - just be sure to simmer the stew for long enough so the sweet potatoes are tender.
- If you want to add meat, try making chorizo butter bean stew - the flavors are a perfect compliment.
- Add some shredded leftover roast chicken to the stew just before serving to warm through.
- Alternatively top with crumbled feta cheese.
- Fresh herbs are always a good addition - try adding some chopped fresh basil at the end.
Tips & Tricks For Making Vegetable Bean Stew
- Butter bean stew freezes really well, making this a great prep ahead dish. Make a double batch, enjoy some now and free the rest for a quick and easy meal another day.
- Like many stews, this tastes wonderful next day as leftovers, when the flavors have had a chance to come together.
- A sprinkle of fresh herbs and some fresh sliced chili will help refresh reheated or frozen stew.
How To Serve Lima Bean Stew
This is a fulling and nutritious bowl of food and I tend to serve it just as it is with a spoon of Greek yogurt and some freshly chopped parsley.
However, you could add some fresh crusty bread alongside the finished dish to help mop up the sauce.
If you like your food hot serve some freshly sliced chili alongside. Even better add my sweet pickled serrano peppers for some tang.
How To Reheat Butter Bean Stew?
Leftover butter bean stew can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days and it re-heats very well. When ready to enjoy, place the stew into a pot and back over the stove. Warm up gently until piping hot, adding a splash of water to loosen the sauce if necessary.
How to Freeze Butter Bean Stew?
This stew is easily frozen. Once cooked set it aside to cool completely before placing in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy, defrost thoroughly before reheating gently until piping hot.
Pin This Butter Bean Stew Recipe For Later
What Do You Think?!
I'd love to know what you think about this recipe! I'd be so grateful if you scroll down to the bottom of the page and leave a star rating and comment.
More Easy One Pot Recipe Ideas
Butter Bean Stew
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Red Onion - sliced into half moons
- 2 Bell Peppers - cut into slices
- 2 cloves Garlic - minced
- 2 tbsp Tomato Purée - or paste
- ½ tsp Sugar - optional
- 1 tsp Paprika
- ¼ cup Sundried Tomatoes - optional, chopped
- 28 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth - or water
- 30 oz Canned Butter Beans - drained and rinsed
- 2 cups Baby Spinach
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Optional to serve
- ¼ cup Greek Yogurt
- 1 tbsp Chopped Parsley
- Heat the olive oil over a medium heat in a large pan or dutch oven.
- Add the sliced red onion and sauté for around 5 minutes - until it is starting to soften.
- Add the sliced peppers and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic, tomato paste, sugar (if using) and paprika.
- Add the sundried tomatoes (if using) and the canned chopped tomatoes. Season well with sea salt and black pepper and let the mixture come to a boil.
- Add the drained and rinsed beans. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
- Stir through the spinach then serve topped with yogurt and chopped fresh parsley.