Zesty, creamy, and delicious butter beans can be enjoyed as is stew-style or served over rice or quinoa for a filling meal. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.
What Are Butter Beans?
Butter beans are legumes with roots in Central and South America. They are more commonly known as lima beans (named after Lima, Peru) and also go by the name sieve beans. They are mild-tasting and creamy and buttery in texture. They are also remarkably versatile and the fresh beans can be served in salads, added to stews, casseroles, dip, you name it.
💛 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- These butter beans are super quick and easy to make, yet packed with so much flavor and nutrition.
- This butter bean recipe is creamy and comforting.
- No need for dried beans or a long cooking time with this recipe.
- Butter beans make an excellent side dish, a flavorful stew as a main dish, or are also delicious served over rice or quinoa.
- These are super tasty, with zesty savory notes as well as a smoky flavor and a hint of spice. Rich and flavorful all the way!
- Much like leftover curry, these butter beans taste even better the next day.
- Naturally vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
🧂 Ingredients and Substitutes
Oil: A neutral oil like avocado oil or olive oil will work best.
Onion and garlic: Red onion adds an additional zesty punch, but if you only have white or yellow onion, it will work in a pinch. If you do not have fresh garlic cloves, use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
Coconut milk: A can of full-fat coconut milk adds a delightful creaminess to these vegan butter beans. While broth is usually used in classic butter beans, I find the coconut milk to really enhance the delightful texture inherent in butter beans. For a non-vegan vegetarian version, you can swap it out for heavy cream instead.
Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds some of the tang and zest to this recipe. While the flavor profile is slightly different, lime juice also tastes delicious and makes a suitable substitution.
Turmeric: Ground turmeric not only adds vibrant color to these beans but also a nice earthiness and anti-inflammatory properties.
Black pepper: Black pepper helps activate the healthful compounds in turmeric, as well as adds a nice warmth and spice.
Smoked Paprika: Smoked paprika adds all the delightful smokiness to these beans. I do not recommend replacing it with any other variety of paprika.
Oregano: Dried oregano leaves add a flavor that pairs well with the other spices and lends a nice herby undertone. If you do not have oregano, while different, thyme works in a pinch for something similar.
Salt: A small touch of salt brings out all the flavors.
Optional garnishes: I like to top off these zesty butter beans with a pinch of red chile flakes and a sprinkle of hemp seeds for added nutrition, texture, and spice. Having said that, it’s positively perfect as is.
🥣 How To Make Butter Beans
- Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until softened.
- Add the remaining ingredients, then stir until all is well incorporated.
- Simmer for a few minutes, until thick and creamy.
- Serve and enjoy!
🍽️ Serving Ideas
- Serve zesty butter beans as the perfect side dish to accompany a protein and some vegetable side dishes.
- Serve alongside bread like cornbread or biscuits which make the perfect vehicle for dipping into the butter beans.
- Serve as a hearty stew.
- Serve curry-style over some rice or quinoa.
❓ Frequently Asked Questions
Butter beans have a very mild, neutral flavor and are great on taking on the flavors of ingredients they are cooked with.
Yes. Butter beans are a rich source of protein, fiber, iron, and folate.
While they have some similarities, cannellini beans and butter beans are different beans entirely.
Cooked butter beans make excellent leftovers. Store butter beans in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Reheat on the stove until warm throughout.
🥘 More Delicious Bean Recipes
Zesty Butter Beans Recipe
- 2 tablespoons oil I like to use avocado or olive oil
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 13.4-ounce package or can pre-cooked butter beans drained and rinsed
- 1 13.5-ounce can full fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh or bottled
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- optional garnishes red chili flakes, hemp seeds
- In a small saucepan on the stovetop over medium heat, add the oil, onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or until all has softened and is beginning to turn golden.
- Add the butter beans, coconut milk, lemon juice, turmeric, pepper, paprika, oregano and salt. Stir well.
- Let the butter beans simmer, while stirring frequently, until all has thickened a a litte and is nice and creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!