These hearty Spanish Beans in a tomato sauce are made mostly of store cupboard staples and it is a budget friendly, healthy meal that is easy to make vegan. A slightly sweet and smoky tomato sauce, with protein packed butter beans and a green boost from with spinach. All cooked in one pan and ready in under 20 minutes.
This hearty, but healthy, Spanish Bean Stew is just 380 calories for a big comforting bowl and is delicious as a main meal with some chunks of crusty bread, or as a side as part of a tapas spread. Once you have the intense smoky sauce perfected, this is easy to adapt with other ingredients like chicken or prawns.
- Butter beans - We used canned butter beans. You could use cannellini beans or chickpeas if you prefer.
- Shallots - These are the base of the dish and add a nice sweetness. You could use a small brown onion if you prefer.
- Garlic - Fresh is always best and you will need to make sure it is well crushed, almost in to a paste to ensure even distribution. You could use frozen garlic if you prefer.
- Tomatoes - This is what makes up the sauce. Try to use the best quality that you can, as the cheaper tomatoes tend to be watery and you will end up with a watery sauce. You can always add some tomato puree to thicken it up.
- Spinach - This adds a nice green veggie boost. You can use fresh of frozen.
- Olives - An easy way to add some extra Mediterranean flavour. Use your favourite olives.
- Paprika - This adds a lovely smoky flavour. Use smoked paprika for extra flavour. Make sure your paprika hasn't been open longer than 6 months, otherwise it won't have much flavour.
- Chorizo - This adds a real flavour burst and a little goes a long way. You can leave it out to make it vegetarian.
- Red bell pepper - Adds some nice crunch to the dish.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Heat a little oil in a pan and add the shallots, pepper, chorizo and garlic and gently cook for 3 minutes.
Two: Add the rest of the ingredients, expect spinach.
Three: Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.
Four: Stir in the spinach 3 minutes before finished cooking.
Why should you try it?
- Protein packed - Butter beans are protein packed and they are super versatile too.
- Quick - These Spanish beans are ready in under 20 minutes so they are perfect for a quick and filling meal.
- Just a few ingredients - This is so easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.
- Easy to adapt - Use this recipe as a base and then adapt it with our suggestions below.
- Can be vegan - We added chorizo for extra smokey flavour, but it can easily be left out to keep it vegan.
- Versatile - These Spanish beans are delicious as part of a tapas spread or just eaten with some chunky crusty bread.
What are Spanish beans?
Spanish beans are large beans like butter beans (which we have used in this recipe) or lima beans in a thick and rich smoky tomato sauce. It has all the flavours you know and love from Spanish food.
The sauce is made with a base of shallots and garlic (heavy on the garlic) and then chorizo to give it a tonne of flavour (but this is optional and can be left out if you want to make it vegan.
The tomato sauce is then built up with canned tomatoes, a generous amount of paprika to intensify that smoky flavour and some olives for extra saltiness.
We then stirred through some spinach at the end, as it's always good to give a dish a green veggie boost if you can.
Health benefits of butter beans
Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are native to South America and they have been cultivated for at least 9,000 years. Larger than most other beans, butter beans have a creamy and buttery texture when cooked which is where they get their name from.
Butter beans are super nutritious too. They contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which will help keep you fuller for longer. This is a hearty and filling soup, thanks to the beans. Butter beans are also a great source of vegan fibre, vitamin B9 (folate), iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
The great thing about this dish is that you can add any vegetables to it. You could add courgette (zucchini) mushrooms, aubergine (eggplant) or even sweetcorn. Really, anything that you have in your fridge that might need using up. It's a great fridge raid meal.
Whilst it doesn't need it, you could add some grated parmesan on top before serving, or even some crumbled feta. If you wanted to make it vegetarian, then leave out the chorizo. You might want to add a little extra paprika for more smokiness.
We used a can on butter beans, which are still good value. However, if you want to make these Spanish Beans even more budget friendly, then you can use dried butter beans. Soak them in water for at least 6 hours, but ideally overnight. Drain and since them and then boil them for 50 minutes.
What to serve with Spanish Beans
This is search a hearty meal all in itself, it doesn't really need to be served with anything. If you are making the portions smaller so extra people can have some, then you could serve with some chunks of crusty bread and a nice green salad. We also like it with our Easy Homemade Flatbreads or Naan Breads.
Potatoes are always a good side dish and here are some of our recipes that will go perfectly with this:
- Air Fryer Potato Wedges
- Hasselback Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Jacket Potatoes
- Easy Roast Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
- The BEST Greek Potatoes
Store: This can be kept in the fridge for two to three days if stored in an air-tight container.
Freeze: To freeze, put in rigid, air-tight containers, leaving a half-inch (1.5cm) gap at the top. This will be good in the freezer for up to six months.
Defrost: You can defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: To reheat, simply microwave, or heat through in a pan on the hob (stove top).
To make this vegetarian, simply omit the chorizo. By doing this, it will actually make this dish vegan. The chorizo does add a lovely, rich smokiness to the meal, so if you do leave the chorizo out, we recommend adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika. If you still wanted some kind of meaty texture, you could add some tofu or cubes of quickly fried halloumi cheese.
Yes, as long as you make sure there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
Yes, this recipe works really well in the slow cooker. Follow steps one and two and then add everything to the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Add the spinach 30 minutes before it has finished.
• You can adapt the vegetables that are used in this dish to use up whatever you have in your fridge.
• To make this vegan, leave out the chorizo. You might want to add a little extra paprika for some more flavour.
• You could also swap the beans for leftover chicken or fry up some king prawns, or even add them to the beans.
• We used canned beans, however you could use dried. Just make sure that you soak them overnight, then drain and rinse them and boil for around 50 minutes.
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- 400 g butter beans canned; drained and rinsed
- 0.5 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 shallots diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 400 g chopped tomatoes canned
- 80 g spinach
- 20 g olives halved
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper
- 4 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- 1 red pepper finely chopped
- 100 g chorizo finely chopped
- cress (to serve)
- Heat a little oil in a pan and add the shallots, pepper, chorizo and garlic and gently cook for 3 minutes.0.5 tablespoon olive oil, 4 shallots, 1 red pepper, 100 g chorizo, 2 garlic cloves
- Add the rest of the ingredients (expect spinach) and simmer for 10 minutes.400 g butter beans, 400 g chopped tomatoes, 20 g olives, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 pinch sea salt and black pepper, 4 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Stir in the spinach 3 minutes before finished cooking80 g spinach
- Sprinkle with cress before servingcress
- You can adapt the vegetables that are used in this dish to use up whatever you have in your fridge.
- To make this vegan, leave out the chorizo. You might want to add a little extra paprika for some more flavour.
- You could also swap the beans for leftover chicken or fry up some king prawns, or even add them to the beans.
- We used canned beans, however you could use dried. Just make sure that you soak them overnight, then drain and rinse them and boil for around 50 minutes.