These creamy butter beans are an excellent beginner recipe for those who want to include more pulses in their meals.

a grey pan full of butter beans in a red sauce with a naan at the back

One of the most common questions I get asked as a vegan content creator is “But what about protein?”

Setting aside the fact that humans don’t need as much protein as you might think, there are SO MANY great plant-based sources of protein! One of the most affordable and accessible of them is beans, of course.

However, those who are not accustomed to cooking and eating beans often feel a little lost. Which is perfectly okay! We’ve all bean there, I promise.

This is what inspired me to create a series of recipes featuring beans and other pulses like lentils, peas, and edamame. And I promise you, this easy recipe for creamy butter beans will blow you away!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s a perfect beginner recipe featuring beans. So simple and yet so creamy and delicious!
  • This creamy butter beans recipe only takes 20 minutes from start to finish. How amazing is that?!
  • Not only is this recipe whole-food plant-based compliant, it is also gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free.
  • There are many ways to serve this delicious dish! It’s enjoyable as it is, but it can also be served with your favorite starch, such as potatoes or rice.
  • This recipe is great for meal prep if you double or triple the ingredients. It is also freezer-friendly!
an overhead shot of a great pan full of butter beans in a creamy red sauce with a naan at the top left corn

How to Make This Recipe

Heat a pan over medium heat, then add diced onion and garlic and saute until the onions start turning translucent. This should take about 3 minutes. 

Next, stir in the tomato paste, followed by lemon juice, non-dairy milk of choice (I used almond), and coconut cream. Stir until you have a creamy sauce, then add some red chili flakes, salt and pepper.

Finally, add vegetable broth and beans. Mix everything together until the beans are incorporated with the sauce, adding a handful of fresh parsley at the end. Serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and extra salt and pepper as desired.

a brown cutting board on a white backdrop with creamy butter bean ingredients including a bowl of beans, parsley, tomato paste and nutritional yeast

How to Serve This Recipe

One of the best things about these creamy butter beans is their versatility! You can enjoy this dish on its own, or serve it over rice, potatoes, noodles, and more. Here are a few of my favorite sides to serve with creamy butter beans:

Hack It!

  • I used almond milk for this recipe, but the truth is, to keep this dish allergen-friendly, you can use any plant-based milk alongside with coconut milk. You do you!
  • This recipe could be a great base for adding more vegetables. You could add diced bell peppers, chopped spinach or kale, or sliced mushrooms, for example.
  • If you’re not a fan of lima beans, you could try using a different type of bean such as chickpeas or kidney beans instead.
  • If you don’t have parsley or prefer a different herb, you could try using cilantro, basil, or thyme instead. You could also add other dried herbs or spices such as oregano or paprika.
  • For a milder sauce, you could reduce the amount of red pepper flakes. Conversely, if you like your food extra spicy, you could increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add other spicy ingredients such as cayenne pepper or jalapenos.
  • Check the vegetable broth you use if you’re gluten-free! Some store-bought veggie broth contains gluten.

Why Butter Beans?

Butter beans, also known as lima beans, are a type of legume that are rich in nutrients and have several health benefits. Here are some potential benefits of consuming butter beans:

  • Rich in protein. Butter beans are a good source of plant-based protein, which is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body.
  • High in fiber. Butter beans are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which can help regulate digestion, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and colorectal cancer.
  • Source of iron. Butter beans are a good source of iron, which is important for the production of red blood cells and for maintaining healthy energy levels.
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals. Butter beans are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Other Cool Beans Recipes You’ll Love

Seeing how legumes is one of my favorite ingredients, so I absolutely HAD TO include some recipes featuring beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas in my cookbook. Check out the PlantYou Cookbook! It’s just one of many amazing WFPB recipes featured in the book, each accompanied by a helpful infographic. And if you haven’t got a copy yet, hurry up so that you can claim your freebies!

And if you prefer a more dynamic approach to cooking, you’ll love the PlantYou Planner! It’s a fully vegan meal planner app that allows you to customize your weekly menu drawing inspiration from our huge database of plant-based dishes. It also has a feature that allows you to toggle the serving sizes for EVERY DISH, with each change reflected in the autogenerated shopping list. Plant-based living… but make it easy!

a grey pan full of butter beans in a red sauce with a naan at the back

The Recipe: Creamy Butter Beans

A simple yet completely mind-blowing recipe to showcase lima beans in a creamy coconut and herb sauce.
5 from 60 ratings

Ingredients

  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup non-dairy milk
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 can lima beans, 15 oz can, drained and rinsed

Equipment

Instructions 

  • In a pan over medium heat, saute the diced onion and garlic until translucent, approximately 3 minutes. 
  • Add the tomato paste and stir, followed by the lemon juice, almond milk and coconut cream. Mix until a sauce is formed, then add the red chili flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the vegetable broth and beans. Stir until the beans are coated, adding a handful of fresh parsley at the end. Serve with nutritional yeast and more salt and pepper as desired.
Calories: 282.1kcal, Carbohydrates: 45.5g, Protein: 14.8g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4.6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.6g, Sodium: 1594.6mg, Potassium: 1269.3mg, Fiber: 12.9g, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 1271.8IU, Vitamin C: 46.8mg, Calcium: 157.7mg, Iron: 5.8mg