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Lemon and butter bean stew in a purple Le Creuset next to fresh thyme and a bowl of chilli flakes.

Lemony Butter Bean Stew with Spinach & Leeks

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy, creamy, lemony Butter Bean Stew with Spinach and Leeks is the perfect vegetarian dinner for a chilly evening, ready in just 30 minutes! By using jarred beans and their preserving liquid you create a rich, savoury stew perfect for adding seasonal veg.


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large leek
  • sea salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 700g jar butter beans + their preserving liquid
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 80g bag baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche 
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Warm the olive oil over a medium high heat in a large, heavy bottomed and lidded saucepan or casserole dish. Trim and finely slice the leek into half moons, and peel the garlic cloves.
  2. Cook the leeks with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes or so until soft, but not at all browned. Stir in the garlic, finely grated or minced, and cook until fragrant. 
  3. Stir in the thyme sprigs, the butter beans and all of the liquid from their jar, the wine, and the vegetable stock. Season well with black pepper (don’t add any more salt, as the bean stock will be salted) and raise the heat to high. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium low. Leave to simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the spinach, then return the lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lemon zest and juice, and the creme fraiche. Season to taste with more black pepper and salt if needed, and serve in in warm bowls either by itself, or topped with jammy eggs, chilli oil and Aleppo chilli flakes. 


Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm them gently through on the hob because the microwave might cause the beans to split and explode!

Keywords: butter beans, butter bean stew, leeks, spinach, lemon