This tasty dish is made with large butter beans simmered in a simple homemade tomato sauce and it comes together in just 20 minutes! This recipe is the perfect healthy comfort food when you’re craving something cozy and satisfying.

butter beans in tomato sauce

I first saw the idea for beans in vodka sauce by Carolina Gelen, a creator on TikTok. I loved the idea of turning beans into comfort food and decided to try my own spin on this recipe. I wanted to keep it a little lighter (meaning, a little less cream and butter and I skipped the vodka) and I’m so thrilled with how this version turned out! Ever since I made these Gigantes beans, I’ve been hooked on the texture of these beans.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Olive oil- Be sure to use a high quality olive oil.
  • Onion- If you don’t like the flavor of onion, try using a shallot instead of a more mild flavor.
  • Garlic- While I don’t love pre-minced garlic, I do use pre-peeled garlic for a little short cut. It still has a great flavor and it’s easy to use!
  • Red pepper flakes- If you don’t like any heat in your sauce, you can skip the red pepper flakes.
  • Tomato paste- This adds a rich umami flavor to the sauce.
  • Broth- I recommend a low-sodium vegetable broth.
  • Large butter beans- They can be a bit hard to find but look for large butter beans. These are sometimes called Gigantes and are common in Mediterranean cooking. You can substitute with regular butter beans or lima beans.
  • Heavy cream- You can substitute with cashew cream, if you want to keep this vegan.
  • Lemon juice- A little acid helps enhance the flavor. You can substitute with a splash of white wine vinegar.
  • Kale- This is optional but I like adding some greens! You could swap in spinach for the kale.
  • Parmesan cheese- A little freshly grated Parmesan takes this to the next level. If you want to keep it vegan, you can skip it.

What are large butter beans?

Large butter beans, also known as Gigantes or lima beans, are a type of legume that is native to the Mediterranean. They are larger in size than regular butter beans, and have a creamy, buttery texture and mild, nutty flavor.

These unique beans can be a little bit hard to find. (I’ve seen them at Publix, Wegmans, and sometimes Kroger, but you might have to look hard!) If you can’t find these large butter beans, regular butter beans will work just fine.

How to Make Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce

What to Serve with Butter Beans

You can enjoy this as a side dish with your favorite protein, but I also think this can make a great meatless main dish! Pair this with a loaf of crusty sourdough bread from Wildgrain or enjoy it with my Mediterranean Chopped Salad!

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, microwave on 50% power until heated through. You can also reheat this on the stovetop in a skillet over low heat. Add a splash of vegetable broth if the sauce gets too thick.

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butter beans in tomato sauce

Butter Beans in Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This tasty dish is made with large butter beans and a simple homemade cream sauce that comes together in just 20 minutes! This recipe is the perfect healthy comfort food.


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, minced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 6oz tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (15oz) cans butter beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the vegetable broth and butter beans.
  5. Bring to a boil then simmer for 7 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Stir in the cream, kale and lemon juice, and stir. Cover and let it sit for a few minutes until the kale is wilted, then top with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!