today is May 24, 2022

Show caption Meera Sodha’s tomato and rose harissa butter beans. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian. Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay. Food assistant: Valeria Russo.

The new vegan

A low-effort, high-reward way of cooking butter beans into a fragrant, tomatoey stew

I am going through a period of wanting to be a flâneur. After all the stresses of 2020 (and 2021 and, well, now), this seems a good way to be, and it’s affecting my cooking in that I like my effort-to-reward ratio to be skewed in favour of the reward – hence these brothy, tomato-ey beans that practically cook themselves. If you’re feeling particularly lazy, eat them just as they are (preferably in the garden with a baguette and cold wine) or, to step things up, break open some jarred artichokes and whip out the flatbreads and hummus, for a picky-bits, meze-style meal.

Tomato and rose harissa butter beans

Some harissa spice blends, such as Bart’s, include salt as a primary ingredient, while others use little to no salt, so you’ll need to adjust the seasoning depending on what brand you use. Always measure your rose water into a receptacle, rather than pouring it straight from the bottle into the pan to stop an accidental overpour – there is no way back.

Prep 10 min Cook 25 min Serves 2-4

7 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped 500g large ripe vine tomatoes, grated (compost the skins) 1 tbsp harissa spice blend – I like Bart’s 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar Scant ¼ tsp rose water – I like Nielssen Massey 1½ tbsp sun-dried tomato paste 2 x 400g tins butter beans, not drained Fine sea salt, to taste 15g fresh dill 2 tbsp lemon juice (ie, from 1 lemon)

Put four tablespoons of the oil in a medium saucepan on a medium to high heat and, once it’s hot, add the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or two, until the pungent smell disappears (but before the garlic turns beyond pale gold).

Add the chilli, cook for another couple of minutes, then add the grated tomatoes, harissa spice blend, vinegar, rose water and sun-dried tomato paste, and let everything bubble away vivaciously for eight to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced and the mixture is quite paste-like.

Add the butter beans and the liquid from the tins, mix and leave to cook away for 10 minutes, until the beans are hot and soft. Add the salt a quarter-teaspoon at a time, until the mix tastes just right to you (I used one teaspoon; you may need more).

While the beans are cooking, chop the dill very finely and put it in a small bowl with the lemon juice, the three remaining tablespoons of oil and a quarter-teaspoon of salt.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish, spoon over the lemon and dill oil and serve.

  • UK readers: click to buy these ingredients from Ocado












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