Butter bean curry is a flavorful and comforting dish made with creamy butter beans simmered in a rich, aromatic curry sauce. The combination of tender beans, spices, and fragrant sauce creates a satisfying and hearty curry experience.Jump to Recipe
This curry is vegan, healthy, filling and so comforting. I wanted to do a non-traditional meal prep this week and decided to go with curry. Curry is one of those meals that heats up so nicely and tastes just as great the second or third day. I always have a lot of fun with curry because there are so many ways to make it. You can add pretty much any protein, vegetable, bean, lentil, etc. The options are endless.
I typically make a curry when I have ingredients in my pantry or freezer I just need to use up. In this case I've been holding onto some frozen butter beans for a while now and thought to make them the star of this recipe. Let me just tell you it turned out incredible! This is healthy comfort food at its finest!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Creamy and Comforting: Butter bean curry has a rich and creamy texture that coats your taste buds with every bite. It provides a comforting and satisfying experience, perfect for warming up on a chilly day or enjoying as a comforting meal.
Nutritious and Filling: Beans are packed with fiber, protein, and essential nutrients. They contribute to a filling and nutritious meal, keeping you satisfied for longer periods and providing a good source of plant-based protein.
Versatile and Customizable: Butter bean curry is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. You can add various spices, herbs, and vegetables to enhance the flavor and create your own unique variation. Enjoy as a standalone dish, served over rice or with naan bread.
Easy to Make: Butter bean curry is relatively simple to make, requiring basic ingredients and minimal preparation. Make this on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot, allowing you to choose the method that suits your convenience.
Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly: Butter bean curry is naturally vegetarian and vegan using only plant-based ingredients.
Family-Friendly: Lima beans curry is a dish that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Its mild and creamy flavors appeal to both children and adults, making it a wholesome and nutritious option for family meals.
Delicious Meal Prep Option: Sick of sandwiches and salads for lunch? Try meal prepping this delicious recipe for butter beans curry. It's easy to reheat and tastes just as good if not better the next day.
What Are Butter Beans?
Butter beans are the same as lima beans. The only difference is the name and sometimes the color. They are commonly nicknamed butter beans because of their smooth and buttery texture when cooked. They are rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, making them a nutritious addition to meals.
2 tablespoons oil - cooking oil, vegan butter, or ghee can be used
1 onion - white or sweet onion will be just fine in this recipe
5 cloves garlic - fresh garlic is best for building flavor, garlic powder can be used as a substitute but it won't be quite the same.
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger - a very important ingredient to build flavor.
1 teaspoon cumin - try crushing cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle for an even better taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric - gives curry its color and adds many nutritional benefits to the curry
2 teaspoons coriander - this is a staple in curry spice blends, it adds a subtly sweet and earthy note to the recipe
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon - to increase the aromatics, this won't over power the dish.
1/2 teaspoon salt - to enhance the flavors of the spices and bring the curry together, try using a seasoned salt instead.
12 oz frozen butter beans - a convenient option because they don't require pre-soaking or other preparation before cooking. Raw and canned beans can be used. More on that later.
1 15oz can crushed tomatoes - most curries have a tomato base, crushed tomatoes are a great option because the tomatoes are not too big or too small. Fresh chopped tomatoes can be substituted.
3/4 cup vegetable broth - helps thin out the curry, it's also necessary because the beans will absorb liquid as they cook.
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk - be sure to use full fat coconut milk, we want the curry to be creamy. Reserve a little coconut cream off the top to swirl into the finished dish for a beautiful presentation.
1/2 lemon squeezed - add at the very end to brighten the curry and bring it all together.
1/4 cup fresh cilantro - for added freshness and beautiful presentation
How It's Made
Step 1. Heat the oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
Step 2. Add garlic and grated ginger to the pot. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
Step 3. Stir in the ground cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon and salt. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, to toast the spices and release their flavors.
Step 4. Add the frozen butter beans to the pot and stir to coat them with the spices. Cook for a few minutes until the beans start to thaw.
Step 5. Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juice, vegetable broth, and the coconut milk. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
Step 6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the butter beans are tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent sticking. Add additional vegetable broth if the curry gets too thick.
Step 7. Once the butter beans are cooked and the flavors have melded together, remove the pot from heat. Stir in fresh lemon juice and top with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with rice such as basmati rice or jasmine rice.
Sauté the onions well: Take your time to sauté the onions until they become soft and translucent. This helps to develop a rich flavor base for the curry.
Use freshly ground spices: If possible, grind your own cumin and coriander seeds for a more intense and aromatic flavor. Freshly ground spices can elevate the taste of the curry.
Customize with additional vegetables: Feel free to add other vegetables of your choice to the curry, such as diced bell peppers, carrots, or spinach. This can enhance the nutritional value and add more color and texture to the dish.
Add coconut milk gradually: When adding coconut milk, start with a smaller amount and gradually increase it as needed. This allows you to control the consistency and richness of the curry according to your preference.
Simmer for a longer time: Allow the curry to simmer for a longer period, if possible, to develop more complex flavors. This helps the spices to infuse into the beans and create a richer taste.
Ways to Serve Butter Bean Curry
Rice: Serve the curried butter beans over steamed rice for a classic and satisfying meal. The fluffy rice pairs well with the creamy curry and helps balance the flavors.
Naan Bread: Enjoy the butter beans curry recipe with warm, freshly baked naan bread. Tear off a piece of naan and use it to scoop up the curry, adding a delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Roti or Chapati: Serve the butter bean curry with coconut milk with traditional Indian flatbreads like roti or chapati. These soft and thin breads provide a perfect vessel for savoring the curry.
Quinoa or Couscous: For a healthier twist, serve the butter bean curry over cooked quinoa or couscous. These grains provide a nutritious and protein-rich base that complements the flavors of the curry.
Side Salad: Accompany the lima bean curry with a side salad for a refreshing contrast. A simple salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a tangy vinaigrette can add a fresh element to the meal.
Yogurt or Raita: Serve a dollop of plain yogurt or raita (yogurt-based condiment) on the side. The cool and creamy yogurt helps balance the heat of the curry and adds a refreshing element.
Pickles or Chutneys: Add a variety of pickles or chutneys as condiments to complement the butter bean curry recipe. Tangy and spicy pickles or sweet and tangy chutneys can enhance the flavors and provide additional depth to the dish.
Accompanying Vegetables: Serve the easy butter bean recipe with steamed or roasted vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, or eggplant. These vegetables can add extra textures, colors, and nutritional value to the meal.
Can I Make This in The Slow Cooker?
Yes, it is very easy to make this recipe in the slow cooker. See below for how this is done!
- Place the frozen butter beans, chopped onion, minced garlic, minced ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, and salt into the slow cooker.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetable broth to the slow cooker. Stir to combine all the ingredients.
- Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours or until the beans are tender and the flavors have come together.
- Taste and season the curry with salt, adjusting the amount to your preference. Stir in fresh lemon juice and top with fresh parsley.
If using dried beans, use 2 cups. Be sure to soak overnight and then resume with the recipe above. You may need to increase the vegetable broth to 1 cup if the curry gets too thick and the dried butter beans aren't cooked yet. Make sure the liquid covers the butter beans as they cook to ensure even cooking.
Can I Make This in The Instant Pot?
Yes, you can make this vegan butter bean curry in the instant pot. See below for how to do so.
- Place the frozen butter beans, chopped onion, minced garlic, minced ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and salt into the Instant Pot. No need to add the oil. Sautéing the vegetables isn't necessary because they will tenderize quickly in the instant pot.
- Add the diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetable broth. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to the sealing position.
- Select the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" setting and set the timer for 12 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. Then carefully perform a quick pressure release by turning the valve to the venting position. Open the Instant Pot lid and stir in fresh lemon juice and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Can I Use Canned Beans?
Yes, you can use canned butter beans in butter bean curry. This is a convenient and time-saving option. Be sure to follow the tips below for the best results:
Drain and rinse the canned butter beans under cold water to remove any excess brine or liquid. Continue with the curry recipe using canned beans instead. Keep in mind, since the canned beans are already cooked, they require less time to simmer. Taste the beans at about 10-15 minutes and determine if more cook time is needed. If using canned beans I recommend about 3-4 cups beans.
Must Try Variations
Spicy Butter Bean Curry: Add extra heat to your curry by incorporating spicy elements like red chili flakes, cayenne pepper, or chopped fresh chili peppers. Adjust the spiciness to your preference.
Vegetable-Packed Butter Bean Curry: Amp up the nutritional value by adding a variety of vegetables to your curry. Bell peppers, carrots, spinach, or peas work well and add color, texture, and additional nutrients.
Curry Powder or Garam Masala Butter Bean Curry: Experiment with different spice blends by incorporating curry powder or garam masala. These pre-mixed spice blends add depth and complexity to the curry.
Mediterranean-Inspired Butter Bean Curry: Infuse your curry with Mediterranean flavors by incorporating ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, olives, capers, and fresh herbs such as basil or oregano.
Tandoori Butter Bean Curry: Marinate the butter beans in tandoori spices, such as cumin, coriander, paprika, ginger, and garlic, before adding them to the curry. This gives a distinct tandoori flavor to the dish.
More Recipes You'll Love
Easy Butter Bean Curry
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil or ghee
- 1 onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 12 oz frozen butter beans
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 lemon squeezed
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- Heat the oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
- Add garlic and grated ginger to the pot. Cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the ground cumin, turmeric, ground coriander, cinnamon and salt. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, to toast the spices and release their flavors.
- Add the frozen butter beans to the pot and stir to coat them with the spices. Cook for a few minutes until the beans start to thaw.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes with their juice, vegetable broth, and the coconut milk. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until the butter beans are tender and cooked through. Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent sticking. Add additional vegetable broth if the curry gets too thick.
- Once the butter beans are cooked and the flavors have melded together, remove the pot from heat. Stir in fresh lemon juice and top with fresh parsley. Serve immediately with rice such as basmati rice or jasmine rice.