This simple one-pot butter bean stew is so amazingly flavorful and such a classic comfort food dinner recipe. It features hearty butter beans with carrots, red pepper, spinach and canned tomatoes. Amazing when served with a side of crusty bread to scoop up all that yummy sauce. 100% vegan and naturally gluten-free.
Summer weather might be close by, but here in Maine, it is still rainy and chilly most days, which means I am still craving all the comfort food regularly.
I just made a vegan baked spaghetti that was perfect for that cold rainy spring climate we are currently stuck in, but there is nothing better than a a stew to warm you up, so I made a tasty butter bean stew which was a huge hit!
And I do love a good vegetable stew. They are so easy to make and super flavorful, so I actually make them often during the week when we are busy. I'll usually make a curry-base saucy stew since our kids adore them, such as this lentil curry or a vegetable filled eggplant curry, but this time I made an Italian tomato butter bean stew for a change and wow, it was so amazing!
This healthy butter bean stew is perfect for those weeknights you need something cozy, satisfying and quick. It is made using canned butter beans for convenience, but also to make this recipe super fast and fuss-free.
Butter beans are a kind of bean that's a little bit larger compared to other types of beans, which gives a good bite to the stew and helps create a great texture that's super hearty.
On top of healthy white butter beans, this recipe also bursts with vegetables, such as onion, spinach, canned tomatoes and carrots, plus it comes together in under 25 minutes. The saucy bean stew is unbelievably flavorful, thanks to the garlic and jarred roasted pepper, and it features such a perfect yummy tomato sauce to dip in crusty bread.
Let me know how you liked it! ❤️
Highlights of this recipe
- One-pot simple meat-free dinner recipe
- Healthy and filled with plant-based protein and fiber
- Highly customizable
- Fast to make
- Filled with amazing Mediterranean flavors
- Great meal-prep recipe
- Hearty and filling
- Vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free
Ingredients you'll need
I love how most ingredients are pantry-friendly or simple vegetables you probably already have on-hand. If you are missing one or two of them, you can also easily swap them for something else, this recipe is super forgiving!
- Canned butter beans: they are easy to find in most grocery stores in the canned beans section. You will need 2 cans for this recipe.
- Canned tomatoes: I used a large can of crushed tomato to create a saucy consistency to this stew.
- Onion: I love using a large sweet onion since I love its milder flavor, but use any kind you have, such as red onion or yellow onion.
- Garlic: fresh garlic, not in jar, and use about 4-5 cloves for best flavor.
- Carrots: use 2-3 large carrots and dice them small for this recipe. It adds a nice hearty texture, but also brings some sweetness naturally to balance out the acidity from the tomatoes. If you want to avoid any larger chunks of veggies, then you can also shred them so it blends better within the stew.
- Red pepper: I used roasted red pepper from a jar, which added so much flavor. If you don't have roasted pepper, then you can also use fresh bell red pepper.
- Spinach: you can omit it if you prefer, but I love how it adds texture and color.
- Spices: dried oregano and smoked paprika. You can use other dried herbs, such as basil or parsley and also, you can use sweet regular paprika for a stew that does not have any smoky flavor.
- Vegetable broth: I love using the concentrated vegetable broth from the brand Better Than Bouillon that I mix up with water (cheaper and easier).
How to make it
Cook the vegetables with aromatics
In a large pan (I love to use my cast-iron pan for this), warm a little oil or water and then, cook the onion with the carrots and a little salt. Cook them for about 5-7 minutes stirring often or until softened.
Then, add the garlic, paprika and dried herbs and cook for another minute or so while stirring.
Once it is fragrant and the vegetables are nicely caramelized, then add the butter beans, roasted pepper, canned tomatoes and the vegetable broth. Stir well and cover.
Keep the heat around medium-high and bring to a simmer. Once it is simmering, then turn down the heat and keep cooking for about 15 minutes stirring once in a while. If it seems to dry out a bit, then you can add more broth or water.
Once the stew looks done, then add the spinach, stir and keep cooking for 2 more minutes or until the leaves are wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. The stew is done when it is saucy, steamy hot and the vegetables tender. Serve with a side of bread and some fresh parsley.
Watch how to make it
- Instead of pouring oil right into the pan, I'll usually use an oil spray so I don't add too much and it is usually enough to prevent the veggies from sticking to the pan.
- If using fresh red pepper instead of roasted red pepper, then add it at the same time as the carrots so they have more time to cook and roast in the pan. You can also roast your own red pepper (check out my Mexican buddha bowl to see how I do it)!
- Canned crushed San Marzano tomatoes are better for sauces and stews as they are of higher quality and simply have a better sweet flavor. They are more expensive though and this stew is meant to be budget-friendly, so you can absolutely use regular canned tomatoes. In that case, try to use a fire-roasted tomatoes for more flavor.
- If you don't have crushed tomatoes, then you can also use a can of diced or whole peeled tomatoes, but simply pulse them for a few times using a food processor to ensure the stew gets nice and saucy.
This saucy stew goes amazingly great with a side of crusty bread to soak up on all those delicious flavors. I love pairing this meal with a French style baguette, but any bread would be great, such as these whole wheat buns or any sour dough bread.
You can also change it up and serve over a healthy grain, especially brown rice or barley. Or, you could even scoop over whole wheat noodles or mashed potatoes, this would make for a super filling meal!
When serving, I like to top it off with some chopped parsley just to freshen up the meal or even add a good squeeze of lemon juice.
Also, for a creamy finish, add a dollop of vegan mascarpone or plant-based ricotta cheese to this tomato Italian-style white bean stew when serving.
Variations to the recipe
Stews are generally easy to customize, so feel-free to add more to it, such as:
- Red pepper flakes for a little heat.
- Fresh herbs, especially basil, rosemary or parsley, for more flavor.
- Spices, such as cumin or chili powder, to vary the flavor profile of the stew.
- Vegetables, such as celery, zucchini, kale or potatoes, would also work well in this stew. Simply dice them small and cook them with the onion and carrots to make sure they get tender.
This is a great recipe to batch prepare ahead and simply store in the fridge until ready to use, it stores so well! Simply keep it in a air-tight container for up to 4-5 days and stir well before serving and reheating.
To reheat, you can use the microwave or simply the stove. If the stew thickened a little bit while storing, then just add a splash of water to loosen up the saucy consistency.
Yes! You can use about 3 large fresh tomatoes instead of canned. Try to chop them really small for best texture and you might have to cook it a little longer than what's recommended.
Yes! Stews freeze well. Just keep leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 months and let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
You can use other kinds of white beans, such as great northern beans or navy beans instead.
More vegan stew recipes you might like
- Creamy braised white beans
- Vegan tikka masala
- Korean gochujang vegetable stew
- Vegan jackfruit curry stew
- White bean chili
- Vegan tempeh beef stew
I hope you enjoy this butter bean stew as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
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Butter Bean Stew
- 1 sweet or yellow onion - diced
- 2 large carrots - diced
- 4 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 3 jarred roasted red peppers - diced, see notes
- 2 x 15 oz canned butter beans - rinsed and drained
- 15 oz crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika - sweet or smoked
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
- Warm up a little oil (or water) in a large pan and then, add the onion, carrots and a pinch of salt. Stir well and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Then, add the garlic, dried oregano and paprika, stir well and cook for one more minutes.
- Add the roasted red pepper, crushed tomatoes and broth. Stir and cover. Bring to a simmer and then turn down the heat to medium-low. Keep cooking covered for about 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the spinach and adjust seasoning to your liking. Cook uncovered until the spinach leaves are tender.
- Serve garnished with fresh parsley and with a side of crusty bread.
- Store any leftovers in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also freeze leftovers.
- If you don't have jarred roasted red pepper, then feel-free to use a fresh bell red pepper instead (add it at the same time as the carrots).
- If you don't want to serve with bread, then simply scoop over rice or whole wheat noodles.
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