Smoky Butter Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale

(Vegan, one-pot, budget-friendly meal)  

a large pot of smoky butter bean stew with sweet potato and kale

Smoky Butter Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale is the perfect comfort food once the weather turns cold. It’s vegan, loaded with healthy ingredients, and can easily be made in under an hour.

The soft buttery texture of the beans and sweet potato soak up the smoky paprika-infused sauce and the kale offers a subtle bitterness that compliments the stew. This one-pot vegan stew can be made with pantry staples, and even with tinned or frozen beans, kale, and sweet potato. 

Smoky Butter Bean Stew is the ultimate healthy vegan meal that’s light on the pocket and the waistline with just 191 calories per serving!

Vegan & Vegetarian Recipe | One-Pot Recipe | Easy to Make | Made in an Hour | Castilla y León Recipe | Healthy | Budget-Friendly Recipe | 191 Calories Per Serve | Gluten-Free

Serving:

4-6 servings

Ready in:

Under 45 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

ingredients for making butter bean stew are laid out on a counter

Ingredients you’ll need 

  • 1 large Sweet potato (around 8-10 oz / 250-300g)
  • 7oz (200g) Kale (or Spinach)
  • 14oz (400g) tinned Butterbeans
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of Smoked paprika
  • 2 Tomatoes (skin removed and grated)
  • Breadcrumbs (optional for thickening the stew)

Equipment needed

  • Large 12-inch (30cm) pot or pan with lid.
  • Box grater

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Origin of the traditional Spanish Butter bean stew

Smoky Butter Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale is adapted from a classic Spanish dish called ‘Judiones de la Granja con Pimientos del Piquillo’. The recipe hails from Segovia in the central region of Castilla y León, and nowadays can be found served all over Spain, either as a tapas or as a main

The beauty of this recipe is it is deliciously simple with few ingredients, yet combined offers a full-flavored and filling stew that can easily be made vegan or with meat, with both versions having a distinctive smoky flavor. 

Traditional ingredients

The ingredients used vary depending on where you are served this recipe, although it is often served the traditional way with chorizo (and sometimes it is made with pig’s ear and blood sausage). The meat is stewed with large butter beans, onion, bay leaf, garlic, olive oil, salt, and paprika in a traditional clay pot.

We have made a vegan-friendly version that uses butter beans, sweet potatoes, and some spinach, all combined with smoky flavors from the smoked paprika.

Budget-friendly comfort food

You can’t beat feeding 4-6 guests for around $15. Yep, that’s right, this recipe can be made for just a few dollars per serving! 

Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is it can be made with some basic pantry staples, and even with tinned or frozen products. 

Here are a few costs of ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe:

Walmart (USA/USD$)

Tesco (UK/GBP£)

Woolworths (Australia/AUD$)

A large pan of smoky butter bean stew sits beside some sliced bread and crushed seas salt

Tinned, canned, or frozen ingredients

It’s common to find tinned or frozen butter beans in most supermarkets and they require no extra prep work to be used in this recipe. 

Frozen spinach, kale, and even sweet potato are also easy to find in the frozen food section of any supermarket and work great in this recipe. You only need to thaw your veg before using it or alternatively, add a few extra minutes of cooking time and cook with veg straight from the freezer.

Butter beans

Butter beans are edible legumes also known as lima beans, sieva beans, Madagascar beans, or wax beans. You’ll find them either tinned and prepared (ready for cooking), or dried. Dried butter beans require some preparation before they can be added to recipes. 

Butter beans were originally prized for their large size and were introduced into Spain as fodder for livestock. They once had dark purple skin and over the years have grown and adapted a white skin that we know today. Butter beans are prized in cooking as they are filling and healthy. They’re Gluten-Free, low in fat and sugar, and high in protein. 

If you use dried butterbeans 

If you’re using dried butterbeans, there are some steps before cooking with them. 

  • Step 1 – Rehydrate dried butterbeans in fresh water for at least 8 hours (overnight is best). 
  • Step 2 – Simmer them in some boiling water for 1-2 hours. 

For convenience, we used tinned butter beans. They’re cheap and easy to find in any decent grocery store.

Healthy, filling, and nutritious stew

For this recipe, we opted for a vegan-friendly version that was filling and loaded with healthy and nutritious ingredients. Butter beans are the perfect addition as they have a soft buttery texture and soak up the smoky paprika flavors really well.

Stews are very popular during the cooler months so we wanted to keep the ingredient list seasonal and used sweet potato and kale, along with some butter beans. 

Swap spinach for kale or any other favorite leafy green veg. Normal potatoes also work well instead of sweet potatoes. 

butter beans stew with sweet potato and kale sits in a large pan waiting to be served

Storage and Meal prep

Stews are ideal for making big batches and can easily be frozen. This recipe makes around 6 servings of 6.5oz (180g), but it can be easily scaled up to make a few batches, just make sure you have a large enough pot! 

When stored in an airtight container, Butter bean Stew will keep for 3 days in the fridge, and for up to 3 months when frozen.

Nutrition facts – Smoky butter bean stew

 

Serving size: 180g

Servings: 6

Amount per serving

 

Calories

191

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 8g

10%

Saturated Fat 1g

5%

Cholesterol 0mg

0%

Sodium 52mg

2%

Total Carbohydrate 25.6g

9%

Dietary Fiber 5.6g

20%

Total Sugars 4g

 

Protein 5.8g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 74mg

6%

Iron 3mg

19%

Potassium 658mg

14%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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a large pot of smoky butter bean stew with sweet potato and kale

Smoky Butter Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale

Byron
Smoky Butter Bean Stew with Sweet Potato and Kale is the perfect comfort food once the weather turns cold. It’s vegan, loaded with healthy ingredients, and can easily be made in under an hour.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course healthy, Main Course, stew, vegan
Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, Spain
Servings 6 servings
Calories 191 kcal

Equipment

  • Large 12-inch (30cm) pot or pan with lid.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Sweet potato (diced into 1-inch pieces)
  • 7 oz 200g Kale (or Spinach) Chopped
  • 14 oz 400g tinned Butterbeans
  • 2 cups homemade vegetable stock
  • 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Onion diced
  • 3-4 cloves of Garlic crushed
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of Smoked paprika
  • 2 Tomatoes skin removed and grated
  • salt and cracked black pepper (for seasoning)

Instructions
 

  • On high heat, fry the onion in the olive oil until soft.
    1 Onion, 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    onion simmers in a large pan
  • Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two.
    3-4 cloves of Garlic
    onion simmers in a large pan
  • Add the grated tomatoes, paprika, and bay leaves, and 1-2 cups of vegetable stock.
    2 cups homemade vegetable stock, 2 Bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of Smoked paprika, 2 Tomatoes
    paprika added to a pan with oniions and garlic
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Stock added to a pan simmering with tomato onion and garlic
  • Add the prepared butterbeans and diced sweet potato and season to taste. Cover and simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes.
    1 large Sweet potato, 14 oz 400g tinned Butterbeans
    butter beans and diced sweet potato are added to a pan
  • Add the kale or spinach leaves during the last 5-10 minutes and stir through the stew until the leaves are wilted. (for best results, allow stew to simmer down until most of the liquid has evaporated, this should take an extra 15-20 minutes).
    7 oz 200g Kale (or Spinach), salt and cracked black pepper
    Chopped spinach is added to the pan
  • Serve with plenty of fresh bread, or over steamed rice.
    a large pot of smoky butter bean stew with sweet potato and kale

Video

Notes

Dried butterbeans - Cooking instructions

If you’re using dried butterbeans, there are some steps before cooking with them. 
  • Step 1 - Rehydrate dried butterbeans in fresh water for at least 8 hours (overnight is best). 
  • Step 2 - Simmer them in some boiling water for 1-2 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 180gCalories: 191kcalCarbohydrates: 25.6gProtein: 5.8gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 52mgPotassium: 658mgFiber: 5.6gSugar: 4gCalcium: 73mgIron: 3mg
Keyword budget, Butter beans, Catalan Fish Stew, Easy Dinner ideas, kale, one-pot, one-pot recipe, Sweet potato, white beans

Cooking Tips and FAQs

How long does smoky butter bean stew take to make?

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
  • Total time: 25-35 Minutes

Is this recipe vegan?

It sure is! This smoky butter bean recipe is 100% vegan, but we’ve also made a meat version of this recipe here.

Are butter beans good for you?

Butter beans are incredibly healthy. They are low in fat and calories and high in protein and fiber, folate, starch, and iron. Butter beans are also loaded with antioxidants.

Do butter beans contain Gluten?

Butter beans are 100% Gluten-free.

How many calories in butter beans?

A cup serving (170-gram) of cooked butter beans contains 209 calories. A 180g serving of this smoky butter bean stew contains just 191 calories.

How to thicken butter bean stew?

Breadcrumbs are an easy way to thicken any stew. Another option is to mash some sweet potato or mash the butter beans themselves. 

Can tinned or frozen butter beans be used?

Yes, tinned or frozen butter beans are fine to use for this recipe. They require no additional preparation and are more convenient than using dried butter beans.

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