Food in 5 – homemade beans

This is my absolute fallback when it comes to empty cupboards/hungry children syndrome – something we have a lot in my house. My inability to have a fully stocked fridge at any time does test my family’s patience and my skills at whipping something out of nothing. But I like to think we are all the better for it. La la la laaaa.
This dish is a combination of things I always have in my cupboard, but you can change and embellish it according to your own (probably much better stocked) kitchen. I use tinned beans; chickpeas, butter beans, haricot, whatever you’ve got is fine.You also need half an onion and a garlic clove, but frequently I only have one or the other and just use that. Today we had no normal onions so I used about 6 spring onions finely chopped.
I generally have some herbs wilting somewhere, so use them for this. Although today I used some fine rosemary specimens from my garden. Ahh rosemary, the only herb it’s impossible to kill. Really, I’ve managed it with everything else, even mint.
The cheese on top is cheddar, but this would be delicious with parmesan, delightful (but reviled by children) with blue cheese, and good with pretty much any other type. Add a tin of tomatoes and a splosh of balsamic vinegar/worcester sauce/daddy’s brown sauce and…well, yum.
Homemade beans
1 adult and 2 children
Start to finish: 5 mins
Half an onion
A clove of garlic
Two glugs of olive oil
1 x 400ml tin of tomatoes
1 x 400ml tin of cooked beans – chick pea, haricot, butter bean, whatever you fancy
You could get all fancypants here and put in olives, capers, even a spoonful of pesto
Herbs to taste
Cheese to taste
Splosh of balsamic vinegar/worcester sauce etc
Chop onion and garlic. Heat oil in a saucepan and add onions. Fry until translucent and then add garlic. Cook for another minute and then add beans (which have been rinsed well) and a tin of tomatoes. Heat until it starts to simmer, give it a stir, add herbs, simmer for a minute and then remove from heat. Serve in bowls or on toast and sprinkle over the cheese and some more herbs.


  1. I have a similar recipe poncily called ‘Basque butterbean stew’ which has a heaped teaspoonful of sweet pimenton in it. You can also add frozen peppers (cheap and a good freezer standby)

  2. That sounds mighty good. My 4yo keeps saying “I don’t like beans” at the moment.

  3. This sounds great! Today I made your pea pesto, with basil not mint and we have it with pasta. Brilliant, quick and tasty.

  4. I too have killed Rosemary. Recipe sounds fab, will be trying this out for sure.

  5. Fiona: adding peppers sounds inspired. And frozen peppers! Brilliant idea. I will be investing in some in my next supermarket shop.
    Sarah: he’ll love these. Promise.
    Holly: Rosemary murderer!
    2Hippos: so glad you liked the pea pesto! So nice to get feedback. Can’t quite believe that people make the stuff we write about!
    Faceless: exactly!
    Knackered: another rosemary murderer!

  6. I didn’t kill Rosemary, but Jack Frost did lol!

    This reminds me of Toucan Mush a recipe in Katherine Whitethorn’s famous ‘Cooking in a Bedsitter’ my constant companion when I was a student in the 70s! Although we couldn’t get fresh herbs easily in those days – makes me sound like some old dinosaur!!!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *