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Spanish-Style Butter Beans With Orange Recipe

What is life without good food? Inspired by home cooking and travel, I create easy recipes for the everyday.

Spanish-Style Butter Beans With Orange

Spanish-Style Butter Beans With Orange

I thought of this vegan butter beans recipe with orange while watching an episode of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares, which was set in Spain. As usual, the hapless British owners of a restaurant were struggling to turn a profit serving heavy British staples and sad looking risottos. As usual, Gordon was (very loudly) trying to convince them to make the most of the wonderful ingredients local to the area.

To be frank, I have no idea whether there is already a dish like this, in Spain or elsewhere. I couldn't find one online. I also have no idea whether the ingredients I use are local to that area. Perhaps I would be just another hapless British restaurant owner.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate throwing things away—especially food. In this case, a leftover grizzled old orange in our fruit basket gave me the perfect opportunity to try out my recipe for butter beans (also known as lima beans).

I tried making my dish, and to my delight, it tastes even better than I thought. The zesty orange gives this dish a sophisticated and sweet, but fresh flavour and pairs beautifully with the creamy butter beans.

Why I Love This Recipe

  • It uses store cupboard ingredients.
  • The ingredients can easily be swapped, depending on what you have in your pantry.
  • This quick recipe is ready in just 25 minutes.
  • This recipe is great for using leftover oranges.
  • If you use garlic paste and orange juice instead of their fresh equivalents, there is no prep, making this dish even more speedy.
  • It is easy to make but looks and tastes sophisticated.
  • According to Livestong, butter beans (also known as lima beans) are high in protein, fibre, iron and B vitamins, making this dish very nutritious.
  • It pairs beautifully with white wine or crisp light beer.
  • You use just one pan to cook this dish, minimising washing up.

Substitution Options

When I created this recipe, I aimed to create something fresh that had a Spanish flair. But many of the ingredients can be substituted to create an equally delicious and refined meal.

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Read More From Delishably

  • Butter beans: Any white bean will do, but cannellini beans are an obvious choice. Chickpeas are also very tasty, although you may need to add more liquid and cook for slightly longer.
  • Dried rosemary: Dried thyme, oregano, parsley, basil or mixed herbs can be used in place of rosemary if that is what you have.
  • Cumin: You can swap the cumin for paprika.
  • Orange juice: If you do not have an orange or orange juice, you could try lemon juice. If you go down this route, I would recommend adding a pinch of sugar to add some sweetness back into the dish.
  • Spinach: Chard is an obvious swap for the spinach. Kale and cabbage would also work very well and would make the dish heartier but require a longer cooking time.
Spanish-style lima beans with orange

Spanish-style lima beans with orange

To Finish

I put my foot down at the olive oil—this is a non-negotiable. I have also added some extra orange zest. Chilli flakes or black pepper add a tasty kick to this dish, as well as making it look prettier. I've recommended 1/2 a teaspoon here, but depending on the amount of spice you like, add as much or as little as you want.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

20 min

25 min

2 servings


  • 1 (400-gram) can butter beans (lima beans), drained
  • 50 milliliters orange juice, or the juice of one small orange
  • 1 clove garlic, minced, or 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3 handfulls fresh spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper or chilli flakes (optional)
  • Generous pinch salt


  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan on medium heat.
  2. Add the butter beans.
  3. Add the cumin, rosemary, garlic and stir.
  4. Add the orange juice, a pinch of salt and the remaining olive oil.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and cook for around 10 minutes until the liquid in the pan has thickened.
  6. Check your beans after 5 minutes and add a splash of water (or white wine) if they are looking too dry.
  7. Stir through your spinach and season with salt and chilli flakes or black pepper.
  8. Continue to stir gently until your spinach has wilted.
  9. Et voila! Or should I say, ya esta! Your vegan Spanish-style butter beans with orange is ready.

Serving Suggestions

I love this dish served with crusty bread as part of a light lunch or supper. It would also be delicious as part of a tapas, or as a side dish.

More Store Cupboard Recipes

  • Store Cupboard Briam: Otherwise known as Greek ratatouille, briam is a tasty dish of roasted vegetables and wine. This version is made from ingredients in your pantry.
  • Vegan Georgian-Style Bean Stew: A store cupboard recipe based on a traditional Georgian dish called lobio, a delicious bean stew.

© 2020 Kathryn Worthington

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