Butter bean stew (easy and nourishing)

By Penelope Henderson, MSc, RNutr/ 01/31/2024
butter bean stew in a pan with a spoon next to it

Are you on the lookout for a delicious and nourishing meal that will satisfy the entire family? Look no further than this incredible butter bean stew! Not only is it packed with nutrients, but it also caters to vegans, making it an ideal choice for those following a plant-based diet. 

The best part? This recipe is incredibly easy to make and won’t break the bank. So gather your family around the table and get ready to enjoy a hearty and budget-friendly meal with this fantastic butter bean stew!

Are butter beans good for you?

Butter beans are high in protein and also count as a vegetable. So two food groups in one! Not only this but they contain fibre and are a good source of manganese, copper and magnesium.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Cheap ingredients, so affordable to make.
  • Easy to make on those busy nights in just 25 – 30 minutes.
  • This hearty stew is nourishing and filling – It’s really nutritious to make and provides 3 portions of vegetables from the carrots, beans and tomatoes. 
  • One pot meal – throw together in one pot, keeping the cost down.
  • Can be made in advance and kept in the fridge or frozen. 
  • Great for batch cooking
  • Perfect for all the family including vegans and vegetarians.
  • Naturally gluten free, nut free.
  • Highly versatile with lots of variations and additions

Ingredients in this recipe

Heres what I included in this recipe or what you need to make it.

Onion – I used a brown onion as it is a great all rounder. You can use a red onion or alternative onion like a shallot too. 

Celery – A small stick of celery is sufficient and adds a base of flavour to this tasty stew.

Carrots – small to medium carrots adds a lovely natural sweetness to this dish and works beautifully with the other ingredients.

Leeks – regular leeks are perfect for this hearty dish to add a subtle flavour.

two leeks laying on a table

Vegetable stock – I use a stock cube made into stock with boiling water. If you have ready made stock or want to add water you can too. 

Tinned tomatoes – regular chopped tinned tomatoes or whole tinned tomatoes which can be broken down with a wooden spoon work well too. 

Butter beans – also known as lima beans have a lovely creamy texture in the middle as well as a chewy texture on the outside. I used canned butter beans for convenience. 

How to make butter bean stew

Step 1 – Heat the oil in a medium to large saucepan over a medium heat.

Step 2. Chop the onion finely and add to the pan. 

Step 3. Chop the celery, carrots and leeks, add to the pan and cook for about 5 – 8 mins until starting to soften.

Step 4 – Add the tinned tomatoes, 700ml stock and seasoning (optional) and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.

Step 5 – Drain and rinse the tinned beans, add to the pan and cook for a further 2 – 5 minutes.


Variations and additions

This recipe is very versatile so you can change alot of the vegetables and tweak some flavours to your liking.

  • Different greens – You can swap out the leeks for broccoli, spinach, peas or something else green if you prefer.
  • Other Beans – Mix it up with different beans such as cannellini, borlotti or kidney beans would work well too.
  • Type of Stock – If serving to young children then use a low salt salt cube or water instead for babies.
  • Make it creamy – To make it more creamy, replace a cup full of stock with some single cream or non dairy alternative.
Dried oregano in a white bowl sitting on a straw mat
  • Herbs– Add some herbs such as oregano, smoked paprika or fresh parsley as an addition
  • Spice it up – Prefer foods a bit spicy then add some chilli flakes or chopped red/green chilli.
  • Make it mediterranean – add some crushed garlic at the same time as the other vegetables and or some chopped red pepper.

Tips and FAQ

  • For a thinner stew add some more stock or water
  • This is perfect for batch cooking. Once made, portion out into the required size you will serve and put into freezable pots or bags. Then you have the right portions to take straight out the freezer and defrost.

Are butter beans in a can already cooked?

Butter beans in a can are already cooked so no need to cook them again. They are simply drained, rinsed and heated through in this recipe. So simple as that!

Is Lima bean the same as butter bean?

Yes, the lima bean is the same as butter bean. They are called different names depending on where in the world you come from. In the UK and USA they are called butter beans. In other parts of the world lima beans.  

How do I store?

Once cooled, store in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze in soup bags or containers for up to 3 months. 

How do I reheat?

Simply add to a pan and heat on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Or if frozen then defrosted overnight in the fridge and heated the same way.

Serving suggestions

This delicious stew could be served as any meal. Simply serve as it is for a balanced meal. If you want to add an accompaniment then some crusty bread to mop up the juices would work well. Or some plain rice to bulk the meal out even more. 

For another flavour then add some grated hard cheese like cheddar or parmesan sprinkled on top would appeal to kids. 

For some extra zing then some lemon juice.

Small children who need a nourishing snack then this served in a small bowl would be a perfect mini meal. 

How to make butter bean stew

butter bean stew in a pan with a spoon next to it

Butter Bean Stew

Try this easy and nourishing butter bean stew, perfect for all the family including vegans.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 23 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6 people


  • 2 – 3 tbsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium celery sticks
  • 4 small – medium carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 vegetable stock cube to make up 3 cups of stock
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes 400g cans
  • 2 cans butter beans 400g cans


  • Heat the oil in a medium to large saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat.
  • Peel and chop the onion finely and add to the pan
  • Chop the celery, carrots and leeks, add to the pan and cook for about 5 – 8 mins until starting to soften
  • Add the tinned tomatoes, 3 cups of stock and seasoning (optional) and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  • Drain and rinse the tinned beans, add to the pan and cook for a further 2 – 5 minutes.
  • Stir everything through and serve.


Keyword butter bean stew

Did You Make this butter bean stew recipe?

Make sure to tag me on Instagram @childrensnutritionist_ so I can see and share your creations!

Other butter bean recipes you will love

If you enjoy this recipe then I would love to know. Please leave a comment below. Also you may like to check out some more cheap and healthy recipes inside my e guide. Not only does it include 12 cheap and healthy famly recipes but also 18 simple steps to save money, build a meal & eat well.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Author Penelope Henderson

Hi I’m Penelope Henderson RNutr Registered Nutritionist specialising in children’s nutrition and responsive feeding therapy.

I am a mum of 2, with over 15 years of experience in nutrition. I support parents to feel confident in how and what to feed their child. I hope you find my recipes and nutrition posts useful, so you can enjoy stress free cooking and mealtimes.

More about me

free guide to 6 steps to calm and happy mealtimes

6 steps to calm and happy mealtimes

Say goodbye to dreaded mealtimes and hello to stress-free meals, where you can enjoy family time without the fuss!

Inside, you’ll discover:

> How to set up successful mealtimes

> Easy ways to get them exploring and eating a wider variety of foods

> How to get them eating more, so you’re not throwing it away!

Yes I need this!


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This