Butter beans, spinach, and extra virgin olive oil

May recipe: butter beans with greens

A simple, rapid-fire side or starter that'll make you feel so very continental. What was once "peasant food" is now a posh lifestyle choice—but it's always been delicious and nutritious. 

"Take a plate of beans cooked slowly with garlic, a slice of onion, and a few leafy greens, and put a healthy dollop of olive oil over, as generations of Mediterranean cooks have done down through the ages, and you have something close to a perfect meal. And one that's good for you, too, as modern generations of scientists are proving almost every day."
– Nancy Harmon Jenkins in her cookbook "Virgin Territory: Exploring the World of Olive Oil


Ever since we saw La Buvette in Paris do this dish, we can't quite shake it. It's a near perfect parcel of all the nutrition you need, while visually being surprisingly elegant. I mean, it's beans. But maybe that's just it. Our pals at Bold Bean Co have made us re-think how delicious (and important) beans should be. So here, taking inspiration from La Buvette and this season's hottest green, we give you a stunner of a starter or side to serve at your next dinner party.

(*Pssst. If you're signed up for our newsletter, we've got a cheeky discount for Bold Beans in our May edition.)

Here are the ingredients you'll need:

Serves 3-4 

  • A jar of Bold Bean Queen Butter Beans (now available at Waitrose)!
  • Citizens of Soil extra virgin olive oil
  • A bag of leafy spinach
  • Lemon zest from a whole lemon
  • Sea salt

Here's the method:

  • Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and quickly add in your spinach to wilt.
  • Pop in the beans. They're ready to go, so pour over the spinach in the pan and heat. It only takes a few minutes, so once it's hot—spoon onto a plate.
  • Drizzle extra virgin olive oil so it pools around the beans.
  • Zest over some lemon.
  • Sprinkle some sea salt.
  • Get ready to mop up with bread.

Ways to make it more your own:

  • Throw in some sautéed garlic or onions.
  • Freshen it up with the lemon juice or a bit of pesto.
  • Crumble over some feta or diced ham to make it extra rich.


Are you making this? Share with your fellow citizens. Tag us in your photos on Instagram at @CitizensofSoil.