Baked Butter Beans with Onions, Tomatoes & Parsley


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a Side dish

Appears in

Falling Cloudberries

By Tessa Kiros

Published 2004

  • About

This is a good companion for any roast or grilled meat dish and it can also stand alone as a vegetarian option, served with some sautéed greens and a small dish of feta. You could even stir through some freshly chopped dill before baking.


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) dried butter beans (lima beans), soaked overnight
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 125 ml (½ cup) olive oil
  • 2 small red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 650 g (1 lb 7 oz) ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely grated (or use tinned)
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs


Drain the beans, put them in a saucepan with the bay leaf, cover generously with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum that rises, lower the heat slightly and cook for about 1½ hours or until they are very tender. Add salt towards the end of the cooking time.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Drain the beans, keeping about 375 ml ( cups) of the cooking water, and put them in a large baking dish.

Heat about 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Gently sauté the onions until they are lightly golden and softened, stirring so that they don’t stick. Remove from the heat and mix in a bowl with the celery, garlic, tomatoes, parsley and remaining olive oil. Season with pepper and a little salt. Add the reserved bean water, pour all this into the beans and mix through well. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, then remove the foil and stir the beans, adding a little extra water if they seem to be drying out. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and return to the oven, uncovered, for another 30 minutes.

The beans should be tender, golden on the top and still with a little sauce. Serve warm, with an extra drizzling of olive oil if you like.