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crispy fried butter beans with balsamic greens

March 17, 2013

Serves 2
Prep time: 14 minutes

crispy fried butter beans main pic
My oven door exploded today.  I was opening it to take out a pizza for the kids when the door shattered, I screamed, and the cats’ dinners got garnished with nuggets of safety glass.

My first thought was, ‘Fuck!’

My second thought was, ‘Fuck! no more roast chickpeas.’

Dinner time was not long away.  My recently-acquired roast chickpea habit needed feeding.  I had to find a way to make legumes go all crispy and yum on the hob, and I had to do it fast.  In desperation I rummaged in the cupboard.

Butter beans are the kind of thing I usually eat about twice a year, either in a tomato-based stew or mashed.  If I’d only realised before now how well suited they are to pan-frying I’d have been eating an awful lot more of them.  They are quite floury, of course, which makes for a beautiful crust just like a roast potato.  If you’ve ever had pan-fried gnocchi, they are in that kind of (very delicious) area.

I am not sure what butter beans have over potatoes from a nutritional perspective.  Presumably they have more protein.  The fact that they come in a tin ready to pour straight into hot oil is a definite bonus.

I flavoured them with garlic, rosemary, chilli and lemon zest but you could do them any way you wanted, obviously.  Sweet balsamic greens worked well alongside.

With this dish under my belt I am slightly less worried about the oven-free days to come.  Stand by for more un-roasted recipes over the next few weeks.  Now, where did I stash that slow cooker…?

crispy fried butter beans close up

Check out my crispy bits!


Butter beans, one 400g can
Olive oil, 2-3 tbsp
Garlic, one clove, finely chopped
Fresh rosemary, 1-2 sprigs, leaves picked and finely chopped
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Dried chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper
A large handful of spring greens, shredded
Balsamic vinegar, a generous drizzle

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and tip in the beans.  Let them fry over a medium heat, without stirring, for a good five minutes until the beans’ undersides are starting to turn golden.

Add the garlic, rosemary, lemon, chilli flakes and salt and pepper to the pan, mix it all around a bit and flip the beans – do this carefully so they keep their shape.  Let fry for a further four or five minutes, shaking the pan every now and again.

Gather all the beans to one side of the pan and add the greens to the other side.  Stir fry the greens for a few minutes (don’t forget to flip the beans once or twice too during this time).  Drizzle the greens with balsamic, then fold the beans and greens in together.

Serve on its own or with a complementary grain, like brown rice.  You could add a sauce, I suppose, but I think the oil and vinegar make it more than moist enough as it is.

crispy butter beans overhead


From → Mains, Recipes

  1. This looks so good! I also have a roasted chickpea obsession… i feel your loss. Good luck with alternative cooking methods.

    • Thank you! do you think chickpeas will respond to the same treatment i.e. frying with lots of olive oil? Only one way to find out I suppose… 🙂

      • Yes, I do believe they will. The butter beans have the flat surface going for them, so it looks like they get some great caramelization action going, but their is a bar here that has an appetizer of fried chickpeas that got me hooked on them. I had to find a way to eat them without the oil and happened upon the roasting method for them, but they’re super yummy fried.

  2. This actually looks very yummy! Beans at our home normally end up in a simple salad or in a pressure cooker alongside many other ingredients, never the star of the show! 🙂

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