Barbunya Pilaki (Turkish Style Borlotti Beans) is a classic Turkish dish braised in olive oil with onions, garlic, and tomato (paste). This delicious vegan dish is perfect to serve as a light lunch, a part of a mezze spread, or a side dish to grilled&roasted meat, fish, and vegetables.
In Turkey, when barbunya is in season, you can find them at street markets, usually sold in their pods. As the season for these delicious beans is quite short, people tend to buy them in bulks and pod them, portion them in plastic bags, and keep them in the freezer to use throughout the year. Although podding them requires a little work, it surely is worth the effort.
Why This Recipe Works?
- You can make Barbunya Pilaki a couple of days ahead and refrigerate it until you are ready to serve. It tastes even better a day or two after!
- It is dairy-free, gluten-free, low in calories and high in fiber as well as being vegan.
- The leftovers would keep for up to 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
- It is very easy to make with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
- You can serve this dish hot, warm or at room temperature.
- It is a great dish to serve as part of a mezze selection, a delicious vegetarian & vegan meal or as a side dish to grilled meat, fish or vegetables.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Borlotti beans - It is also known as Roman beans or Cranberry beans. Although the best option is to buy them fresh, you can make barbunya pilaki with dried or canned beans and both will be very delicious. If you are lucky enough to access the fresh ones, buy them in bulks and freeze them for further use.
- Olive oil - Use a generous amount of good quality olive oil.
- Onion - You can use finely diced white, brown or yellow onion.
- Carrots - They add extra texture, colour and sweetness to Barbunya Pilaki.
- Tomato paste - When in season, it is best to use juicy ripen summer tomatoes instead of tomato paste. Substitute it with 2 small or 1 large red&juicy tomato.
- Garlic - Use finely chopped fresh garlic. You can grate garlic using a instead of chopping it.
- Celery - It is not one of the traditional ingredients for Barbunya Pilaki but I love the aroma it adds to the dish. You can omit it if you prefer.
- Sugar - Adding a bit of sugar helps to balance the acidity coming from tomatoes or tomato paste.
- Lemon juice - I strongly advise generously squeezing fresh lemon juice on top of Barbunya Pilaki before serving to lift the flavour up.
- Parsley - Chopped parsley is a must for the ultimate enjoyment of this tasty dish.
Although making Barbunya Pilaki is very easy, you need to follow a few simple steps to achieve the best results:
- Drain and wash canned borlotti beans and set them aside. Put olive oil in a large saucepan and place it on low-medium heat. Add the onions and gently sauté for a few minutes, until soft and translucent. Add the carrots along with the celery, sauté for another couple of minutes before adding the tomato paste, salt, sugar, and garlic.
- Stir for a minute and then add the borlotti beans along with the vegetable stock or water, stir all together to combine. Bring the pan to a boil and gently simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the carrots are softened. Remove the pan from the heat, let it cool down and transfer on a serving plate. Squeeze some lemon juice on top and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.
For more tasty and healthy vegan dishes why not try:
Pilaki is the general name for a dish made of vegetables or seafood slowly braised with onion, garlic, and tomatoes in olive oil and served cold or at room temperature. And "Barbunya Pilaki" is a pilaki dish made with barbunya beans.
There are many ways to enjoy this simple yet delicious dish. You can serve it as a vegetarian/vegan main meal with a rice dish such as Bulgur Pilaf, Turkish Rice Pilaf or Turkish Bulgur Pilaf with Lentils.
It is delicious as a side dish as well. It goes perfect alongside grilled & roasted fish, meat, or chicken dishes such as Grilled Lamb Kofta (Izgara Kofte), Rice Stuffed Chicken or Lamb Shish Kebab.
Although Pinto beans and Kidney beans look like Borlotti (Barbunya) beans, they taste completely different.
Borlotti beans are also known with different names such as Roman beans, Cranberry beans, Madeira beans, Rosecoco beans, Tongues of fire beans, Wren’s egg beans, and Cacahuate (peanut) beans (in Mexico).
Top Tip From the Chef
If you want to cook Barbunya Pilaki with dried beans, soak them in water overnight. Boil until soft, approximately for an hour, before adding to sauté onions&carrots. If you have a pressure cooker you can skip the soaking process. Simply pressure-cook dried beans for 35 minutes, drain and rinse before adding them to sauté onions&carrots.
I hope you enjoy the process of making these healthy yet delicious Barbunya beans with olive oil as much as you enjoy eating them!🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Barbunya (Turkish Style Borlotti Beans)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 large carrot (sliced half-moon shape)
- 2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 ½ cup vegetable stock or water
- 480 g borlotti beans (1 tin of cooked borlotti beans)
- chopped parsley (to garnish)
- lemon slices or wedges (to garnish)
- Put olive oil in a large saucepan and place it on low-medium heat.
- Add the onions and gently sauté for a few minutes, until soft and translucent.
- Add the carrots along with the celery, sauté for another couple of minutes before adding the tomato paste, salt, sugar, and garlic.
- Stir for a minute and then add the borlotti beans along with the vegetable stock or water, stir all together to combine.
- Bring the pan to a boil and gently simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the carrots are softened.
- Remove the pan from the heat, let it cool down and transfer on a serving plate.
- Squeeze some lemon juice on top and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon slices.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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