Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

Here’s a dish that you can whip up in 15 minutes and it’s guaranteed to satiate the hungriest of tummies. It’s perfect for Autumn and Winter, even early Spring. It’s also not too spicy so the kids can enjoy it as well. Based on Indian curry spices, this has become a favourite in our household here and we have it every week because of its simplicity and flavour. Find out how to make these delicious curried butter beans….

Butter Beans

Butter beans (Phaseolus lunatus) are a type of legume, and they originate from Peru which explains their other common name, Lima beans (Lima being the capital of Peru). Lima beans tend to be a little smaller in size, but they’re both from the same plant. They’re buttery and creamy in texture, which makes them so great for a decadent, curry dish like this one. The spices infuse perfectly with the beans amid coconut milk and stock to create a creamy curry texture in the final dish. 

Often butter beans are cooked in soups, added to salads and because of their creamy texture, they’re often slow cooked. You can add them to casseroles as well. An easy way to prepare them is to sautee in oil and season, and add to your salad or any other dish you think they would complement. 

Southern butter beans is an old favourite which flavours the beans with carrots, celery and onion. Garlic, bay leaves can also be added, and some like to use a butter sauce creating an incredibly rich and buttery dish.

They can be used as a healthy flour alternative in cakes too. Click here for recipes

This recipe is so simple, partly because it uses organic canned butter beans so there’s no soaking required. Just pop off the can lid, strain out the fluid and rinse your butter beans, then you’re ready to go. But if you wanted to use dried butter beans, soak them for 24 hours in cold water and then strain. They’ll still require cooking though – around an hour of boiling – to get them as soft as canned beans. The cooking process is where you can achieve the creamy texture so its worth taking the time to cook them well if you decide to go with the dried beans.


Think of spices as making up part of your kitchen apothecary. They’re healing and they enhance taste and nutritive qualities of our food. They heal by reducing inflammation, acting as antioxidants to fight free radicals in the body and thereby slow the ageing process, and many of them are anti-bacterial as well. Research into the therapeutic benefits of spices is flourishing, with studies showing that spices like ginger, turmeric and black pepper could assist in everything from obesity to diabetes to Alzheimers disease. So if you have the opportunity to make a simple, cheap and nutritious meal with spices……

Think about this as the original medicinal diet. Let’s take a closer look at some of the spices in this recipe and how they heal us.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a warming and astringent spice, useful in relieving a range of gut conditions including distension, sluggish digestion, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.  Research into Turmeric has revealed it’s usefulness in Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis, high cholesterol, psoriasis, uveitis and amenorrhoea.

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is a sweet, aromatic and flavour-enhancing spice which I use in all my curries. It’s warming in winter casseroles, my favourite type of food. Coriander seed reduces flatulence and abdominal bloating and helps in stomach disorders or symptoms like nausea and vomiting. As a diuretic it stimulates fluid removal (great when you’re on a weight loss mission) and also helps you sweat out toxins. Research reveals coriander seed lowers cholesterol and insulin, and has a beneficial effect on antioxidant levels in diabetic patients.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is a sweet and warming spice that you can use to to warm up a sluggish and damp digestive system. It’s great for reducing bloating and belching and relieving that sense of fullness in the belly. Research shows cinnamon’s also useful in treating amenorrhoea (no periods) and helps with brain ageing, with some studies showing it’s beneficial effects in Alzheimers (as an antioxidant). It’s found in the Ras el Hanout spice mix.

So you must be getting keen to make this healing dish up now. Let’s get on to the recipe. 

Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

Hearty Spiced Butter Beans
Hearty Spiced Butter Beans
Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

Sautee onions, add bay leaves and spices and finally the butter beans.

Hearty Spiced Butter Beans
Hearty Spiced Butter Beans
Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

Add your stock and some coconut milk and your done!

Hearty Spiced Butter Beans

A super easy and healthy meal that takes 15 minutes to prepare
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Servings: 3 people


  • 1 Medium sized pot with lid
  • 1 Mortar and Pestle If you like to grind your spices


  • 1/2 cup Oil of your choice Coconut oil can be very rich. I like extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil. Up to you!
  • 1 bulb Onion chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 4 Bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Ras el Hanout See the link below if you want to make your own
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds ground
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds ground
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 2 cans Organic Butter Beans
  • 200 mL Coconut milk
  • 200 mL Vegetable stock (or 1.5 KALLO stock cubes in 200mL water)
  • 4 cups Baby Spinach leaves


  • Sautee the onions and garlic in the oil on medium heat, adding in the spices, stir until fragrant. Takes about 3 minutes.
  • Add the butter beans, coconut milk and stock. Stir now and then. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the spinach leaves.
  • Serve topped with sunflower seeds and coriander leaf, on a bed of rice.

Make your own Ras el Hanout with this recipe here.

How about YOUR version of Hearty Spiced Butter Beans?

Many of you already know my approach to herbs and healing is a bit of an East-West affair. I incorporate elements of Ayurveda and Classical Chinese Medicine into my cooking and my clinical work, and I love working with a ‘constitutional’ approach, which essentially means that I tailor everything to suit the individual and their unique physiology.

So let’s take that approach with this recipe, and use the wisdom of Ayurveda to guide you towards the best spices to use in this recipe for you. It’s really easy. Just jump onto my short quiz using the button below, to determine the best spices for your constitution. Then play around with switching up the spices in this recipe, with the ones recommended for you! Have fun!

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve got lots of inspiration from reading this article. I’ve got other great recipes too so check them out, lots of people love my seeded banana loaf for hormone boosting loaf and my 3-step Goddess Tonic Pills.

Want to dive more into your constitution and find a protocol perfect just for you? You can book a consultation with me online here or head to the Bookings page. 

Also keep in touch! I’m on youtube, instagram and facebook

Love and Light,

Sulin Sze Naturopath Sydney

Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.

I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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