butter beans with garlic

butter beans in a bowl with garlic, lemon, EVOO and some bread

Butter beans partner so well with garlic, lemon and extra virgin olive oil that this recipe might convert even the most committed carnivore. Since eating a variety of foods is good for our gut health, and beans are inexpensive and nutritious, adding them to our weekly diet makes so much sense. Especially with a recipe as simple as butter beans with garlic.

There’s something very generous about creamy butter beans. If you’ve tried our butterbean and pomegranate tapenade recipe you’ll know how a tin, or better still a jar, of butter beans absorbs flavours when warm. For this recipe, we soaked dried beans overnight and found that they needed to cook for well over an hour to become totally soft. While dried butter beans cost substantially less than a jar, given energy prices, buying a good quality jar of beans or using a pressure cooker would make more sense. Interestingly, pressure cookers have never gone out of fashion in Lebanon but luckily seem to be making a come back in the UK.

The beans need to be warm when the garlic and extra virgin olive oil are added. So if you’re using a jar, decant, rinse and add a little water to the saucepan as you heat the beans. Keep back some of the bean water which when continuously stirred in with the extra virgin olive oil, lemon and garlic will emulsify and make a glossy coating over the beans. Chopped parsley adds some crunch to another wise creamy dish. 

enough for 4


225g dried butter beans, soaked overnight (8-12hrs) or a 700g jar of cooked butter beans
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of Zejd extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
a handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Rinse and drain the butter beans after soaking. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with 900ml of water. Bring to the boil, skim, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about 45 min- 60 minutes. All will depend on the age of the butter beans, you’re after soft but not collapsing beans. Top up the pan with water if needed. If you’re using a jar, rinse the beans and heat gently with some water in a saucepan. 
  2. Meanwhile crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt. Then add the lemon and oil. 
  3. Drain the beans into a bowl, keeping back some of the cooking water. Add the garlic, lemon and oil mixture with a little of the water and coat the beans stirring gently but firmly. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Serve with flat bread, and more extra virgin olive oil. Any leftovers can be pureed and added to thicken a vegetable soup. 


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