Butter Bean Mash with a Spoon

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Looking for a great potato alternative? Want something with a bit more fibre than plain old mash? Look no further. This butter bean mash (aka lima bean mash) is mild enough that it can take on any flavour you throw at it. And made in the right way it’s still super creamy and takes slightly less time to prepare!

What do butter beans taste like?

Butter beans (lima beans) are quite buttery and velvety in texture, hence the name. However, they are quite mild in flavour – which actually makes a great potato substitute and one which you can flavour and enhance in a multitude of ways.

Is it healthy?

Healthy is a subjective word, depending on what you are looking for as part of a balanced diet. When compared to potatoes there are quite a few benefits:

Can I use dried beans?

While I typically buy canned butter beans for convenience, you can absolutely use dried beans instead. As a rule of thumb, you will need around half the amount of dried beans vs cooked tinned beans. (Note: the drained weight of canned beans is significantly less than the full tinned weight with the juices so use the drained weight as a guide)

When using dried beans you need to cook them first. Soak for several hours before boiling (or overnight) and then simmer for an hour before you start to follow the recipe below.

What variations can I make?

You can get really inventive with this dish. Given how unassuming and mild in flavour it is, you can add a whole host of different flavours to jazz it up. A few ideas include:

Pesto – stir in a tablespoon or two of pesto for an additional sweet and colourful note. Green pesto works well or you could even try it with this homemade red pesto.

Tahini – Not just for hummus! add a little Middle-Eastern flavour with some sticky, nutty tahini. A tablespoon will go a long way!

Rocket & Parmesan – I love making this as a fancy mashed potato variation, it works just as well with this butter bean mash. After mashing scatter a tablespoons of grated parmesan and a small handful of rocket and stir together.

Parsnip & Rosemary – Add a little extra veg to the recipe by mashing in some roasted parsnips and scattering in some rosemary leaves. You can also find a potato version here.

Butter Bean Mash on a Tabletop

How long does it keep?

You can make this butter bean mash and keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to allow it to fully cool before transferring to a sealed container and placing in the fridge. You can reheat it on the hob/stove or in the microwave (make sure it’s warmed the whole way through).

You can also freeze this for up to 3 months. Freeze in a sealed container and it’s recommended to pat down a layer of cling film over the top to prevent freezer burn. Allow to thoroughly defrost before reheating.


You need just a few simple ingredients to make this butter bean mash. For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

Butter Bean Mash Ingredients
  • Tinned butter beans (see note above if you want to use dried beans)
  • Onion – brown or white
  • Garlic
  • Chives (optional – for garnish)

How to make it

Recipe Steps
  1. Drain the butter beans and rinse.
  2. Saute the onions until softened and then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
  3. Add the beans to the pan with a little water. Season well and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender or transfer to a food processer and blitz until you have a smooth paste.

Looking for more great vegetarian side dish recipes? Try:

Products that work well for this recipe:

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Butter Bean Mash with a Spoon

Butter Bean Mash

  • Author: caroline
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Creamy and versatile, this butter bean mash is packed with fibre and quicker and easier to prepare than standard potato mash. 

The default recipe serves 2 as a moderate side or 1 as a very substantial side. Nutrition information is based on 2 servings. 


  • 400g / 15oz tin of butter beans
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 brown or white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 56 chives, thinly sliced


  1. Drain the butter beans in a colander and rinse well. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and gently fry until softened – around 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for a further minute. 
  3. Add the beans to the pan along with the water. Season well and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  4. Use an immersion blender to blitz the beans into a smooth paste. You can alternatively transfer to a food processer (you may have to work in batches). 
  5. Stir the chives into the mash and season to taste, if needed.


  1. If you want to use dried beans and cook them first then you will need around half the weight of beans. The drained weight of a 400g/15oz can is around 250g/9oz. Therefore you’ll need around 125g/4.5oz of dried beans.
  2. You may want to season the beans a little more than you would usually as they are fairly bland. 
  3. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly and reheat cold portions on the hob/stove or in the microwave. You may need to add a splash of water to loosen it.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Hob / Stove
  • Cuisine: British


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 8.5g

Keywords: mash, vegetables, vegetarian, vegan, side, beans

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