Kuru Fasulye is a hearty and rich Turkish stew made with white beans and diced lamb or beef slowly cooked in a tomato sauce. It is packed with lots of flavours and is the ultimate comfort dish for cold winter nights.
In Turkey, every "lokanta" (a small restaurant that serves cheap, cheerful but tasty ready-made meals) has this famous dish on its menu. I have been to one of them in Istanbul that only serves "Kuru Fasulye and Turkish Rice Pilaf" dished up together.
Kuru Fasulye is usually accompanied by some crusty Turkish bread and "tursu" (pickled vegetables). They only had the vegetarian version and it tasted so divine that we all asked for the second one!
There are many different variations of this popular bean stew and my favourite is the one cooked with lamb. You can use beef instead of lamb or add pastirma (air-dried beef popular in Turkey) for a stronger flavour.
The vegetarian version is as delicious as the meaty one. Add some extra vegetables such as carrots, celery, or peppers, use vegetable stock and you have a delicious vegetarian bean stew.
Why This Recipe Works?
- It is made with few ingredients yet extremely delicious.
- Minimum prep time, perfect for lazy Sunday lunch.
- Perfect comfort food for cold winter nights.
- You can prep it ahead, making it a perfect meal for a busy day.
Ingredients and Substitutes
- White beans - You can use any type of white beans such as navy beans, haricot or cannellini. They all have different cooking times so make sure you cook them until soft and almost falling apart.
- Olive oil - It is necessary to sauté the onions. You can use butter instead for extra richness.
- Lamb - Any part of lamb is good for this dish but I personally like the shoulder for stews. You can also use diced beef instead but cooking time might be longer depending on the cut you use. Always prefer well-marbled beef such as chuck or brisket for slow cooking. Omit the meat for making this dish vegetarian-friendly.
- Onion - You can use a large size brown, yellow or white onion. Peel and cut into small dice before adding to the dish.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is a great flavouring that adds sweetness and nuttiness to dishes. You can turn it into a paste with a mortar and pestle or grate using a before adding it to the dish.
- Tomatoes - You can use tinned tomatoes if you don't have fresh ones. Add a teaspoon of sugar if using tinned tomatoes to balance the acidity.
- Tomato paste - It is the staple of Turkish cooking. It adds an umami flavour to the dishes as well as a bright red colour. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it from .
- Red pepper paste - Same as the tomato paste, it adds an umami flavour and a bright red colour to the stew. You can find it in Turkish or Middle Eastern shops. You can also buy it from .
- Stock - I use Basic Homemade Vegetable Stock for the vegetarian version. I prefer using Homemade Beef Stock but Chicken Stock works great as well. You can use stock cubes if you don't have any stock in hand. Make sure you don't add too much salt as ready-made stocks and stock cubes contain salt already. Use enough liquid to cover the beans and the meat.
- Salt - Add salt at the end of the cooking process. Adjust the amount to your taste.
Kuru fasulye is an extremely delicious and warming dish that is very easy and straightforward to cook. There are a few easy steps that you need to follow to achieve the best results:
Soak and Pre-cook The Beans
Soaking the beans overnight is necessary and helps to reduce the cooking time. Use plenty of water as they will double the size up when soaked. Place the beans in a large enough pan and then add plenty of cold water.
Cook the beans for about an hour or until they are "al dente". They will get cooked further with the meat. The cooking time depends on the type of bean you are using. I used haricot beans for this recipe. Drain the beans and then discard the cooking liquid.
Prepare the Tomatoey Meat Sauce
Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Put a dutch oven or heavy-based pan on high heat and then add olive oil. I prefer using a Dutch oven for stews, slow-cooked meat or even bread. They are perfect for slow cooking because of how heavy they are. They retain and distribute heat evenly which makes them ideal for searing meat at high heat and maintaining low-and-slow temperatures for a long time.
When the pan is hot enough, brown the meat. Do it in batches if necessary. Turn the heat down to medium to low, add the onions and garlic and then saute them until translucent.
Add the tomatoes and then stir in the tomato paste, chilli (optional) and pepper paste (optional). You can add extra tomato paste if you don't have pepper paste. Also, replace red chilli with chilli flakes or totally skip it if you don't like spicy.
Add the pre-cooked beans, salt, cumin, and freshly ground black pepper. Stir until combined before adding the liquid.
Cover the pan with a lid or tin foil and then cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat and beans are soft. Make sure to check every 30 to 40 minutes and give it a stir to provide even cooking.
For more hearty stew recipes why not try:
The traditional or most common way to serve this comforting stew is to serve it with Turkish Rice Pilaf and some mixed pickles. Alternatively, you can serve them with some crusty bread or Bazlama. Try with a bowl of Lentil and bulgur Pilaf(Mercimekli Bulgur pilavi) or Bulgur Pilaf for a healthier option.
Yes, Kuru Fasülye is a healthy dish as well as delicious. White beans are full of nutrition and fairly low in calories. They also have high fibre and protein content which promote feelings of fullness, leaving you less likely to overeat!
Top Tip From the Chef
Use homemade stock for stews and soups for intense flavour. If you use shop-bought stock, taste your stew before adding any extra salt as they already contain some. Always add salt at the end of the cooking process for slow-cooked dishes.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious Kuru Fasulye (Baked Bean Stew with Lamb) as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
- 250 g dried white beans such as haricot, cannelini or navy beans (soaked in plenty of water overnight)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 400 g diced lamb
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 large tomato (chopped)
- 1 red chili (optional) (chopped) or chili flakes to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ tablespoon red pepper paste (optional) (add extra tomato paste if not using red pepper paste)
- 700 ml beef stock or chicken stock
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Soak the beans in plenty of water overnight.
- Drain the beans and place in a pan with fresh water, cook on medium heat for an hour.
- Drain the beans again, get rid of the cooking liquid, and set them aside to use later.
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
- Place a heavy-based pan or dutch oven on medium to high heat.
- When hot, add the olive oil and brown the meat.
- Add onion and garlic, saute until translucent and add the tomatoes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, chili (optional), and the pepper paste (optional, add extra tomato paste instead)
- Add the pre-cooked beans along with the salt, pepper, and cumin.
- Pour in the beef stock or chicken stock and stir well. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover the beans.
- Cover the pan with the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours or until the meat and beans are soft. Make sure to check every 30 to 40 minutes and give it a stir.
- 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
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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