Turkish White Bean Stew with Tomato, Lemon and Herbs and Crispy Kale

Updated: Apr 6

Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins | Serves 4

This is an adaptation of a classic Turkish recipe (kuru fasulye) with chunky veg and white beans in a zesty tomato base sauce, making a really warming and hearty meal. The flavours are very subtle and fresh brought out by the added lemon.

Traditionally served with crusty bread, I like to serve this with my grandma’s pilau (Turkish rice) recipe, however, giant cous cous, quinoa, rice or any grain would also work, either served on the side of added to thicken the stew. There is supposed to be a good amount of sauce with the veg, ready to mop up with some crusty bread.

Serves 4


20g butter

Olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 onions, finely diced

2 carrots, diced

2 celery sticks, diced

4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 can chopped, peeled tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

2x 400g can white beans (cannellini, butter beans)

1 lemon, juice and rind of

Handful of chopped parsley

150g curly kale

75g pumpkin seeds

½ tsp sea salt flakes

Pilaf rice:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

150g vermicelli pasta

500g long grain rice, rinsed well

1l vegetable stock or water


1. Heat a knob of butter and a good lug of olive oil in a deep saucepan add the onions, carrots, celery with a pinch of salt. Cover and sweat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to soften the veg and only slightly brown.

2. Add the garlic, tomato puree, spices and thyme (leaves only) and fry for a few more minutes.

3. Drain the beans and rinse well in cold water.

4. Add to the saucepan along with the tomatoes and top up with a little water.

5. Toss the kale and pumpkin seeds in a drizzle of olive oil and the sea salt flakes.

6. Spread out on a baking tray and cook for 8 minutes, checking to move the leaves around so they crisp up evenly all over.Lastly, add the lemon juice to the stew, keeping the rind for later and season well with salt and black pepper.

7. Add any extra water if it seems a little dry – the stew is supposed to have a good amount of liquid.

8. Stir through the chopped parsley before serving and ladle into bowls on top of the cous cous. Scatter over the kale and pumpkin seeds to serve with the reserved lemon rind and an extra drizzle of olive oil.

Pilaf Rice:

1. In a deep saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onion with a pinch of salt, for a few minutes until slightly softened. Break up the vermicelli pasta into small pieces and add to the pan with the rice, frying for 2 minutes until coated and the vermicelli is slightly golden.

2. Add the water or stock with a good pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Give it a stir then turn down the heat to simmer, covered for 15 minutes, or until the water has mostly been absorbed.

3. Place a few sheets of kitchen paper on the rice, put the lid back on and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.