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Creamy One Pot Lemony Leek & Zucchini Butter Beans

Feb 21, 2024 | 3 comments

Protein-packed, incredibly satisfying and genuinely delicious? These GORGEOUS beans have it all. Made in one pot for ease AND in less than 30 minutes, just cook down leeks and zucchini, add your beans and a couple of other cupboard staple flavor injectors and you’re good to go.

Creamy leek zucchini beans in a large pot with a silver spoon and pita bread on the side.

Could I live off saucy, veggie-packed, cheesy white beans? I think I could!

I’ve found that you can basically pair butter beans (or cannellini beans) with any sauce you’d normally pair with pasta or a curry. They behave a little like gnocchi, a little like risotto and are unbelievably satisfying and full of flavor. These creamy sundried tomato ‘Marry Me’ white beans consistently get rave reviews and have converted many of you to the wonders of beans, so I think you’ll enjoy this version too.

This one is giving a hint of springtime vibes – the zesty lemon, fragrant leeks and mild zucchini pair perfectly and make for a wonderful, super easy meal that’s fab for any day of the week. It’s also a great one to prep ahead of time and enjoy throughout the week.

I’m also letting you in on one of my secret kitchen powerhouse ingredients in this recipe, which you might be surprised to see. But I promise it’s worth trying!

Ingredients

Ingredients for creamy leek and zucchini beans laif out and labelled.
  • White beans. Either butter beans or cannellini beans are perfect here – both have that lovely creamy consistency that almost melts in your mouth. You could use chickpeas (garbanzos) if you like too.
  • Zucchini (courgettes). I feel like zucchini gets a bit of a bad rap for being boring, but when you cook them in olive oil with garlic and lemon, they’re truly gorgeous. Naturally creamy, they break down in the pan to create a full, glossy sauce.
  • Leek. I’m not a fan of onions, but I LOVE scallions and I love leeks. They’re not as strong as onions but have that lovely flavour as they’re cooked down, bringing a gorgeous delicate, fresh flavour to the beans.
  • Bacon. I prefer using streaky bacon because it crisps up gorgeously in the pan. Use back bacon if you like, you’ll just have to use a little more oil as it’s a leaner cut. Or, swap it for chorizo or another good-quality sausage, or skip it to make the recipe vegetarian.
  • Lemon. You ideally want a fresh lemon because you’ll be using the zest, but if you can’t find one, just use 1 teaspoon of bottled lemon juice instead.
  • Za’atar. This is one of my most used spice mixes and I recommend you pick some up too. Za’atar can vary, but it’s generally a mix of dried herbs (thyme, oregano, marjoram, or a mix), tangy sumac and toasted sesame seeds. You can pick it up in larger grocery stores, or make your own DIY version using those ingredients. If you can’t find it, just use dried thyme.
  • Fish sauce. This is optional and I know it seems unconventional but I PROMISE you won’t regret using it. This is my secret ingredient in SO many recipes and it just adds an unreal savoury depth here, that you don’t get from salt alone.

How to make it

Cook your bacon until super crispy, then remove from the pan. Add your sliced leek, zucchini, olive oil and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’ve softened.

Add the butter beans, sour cream, za’atar, parmesan and fish sauce if you’re using it, then stir to combine. It should be lovely and thick and creamy.

Add the bacon back in, along with most of the lemon zest (keep a little back to use as a garnish on top). Stir them through the beans, then give them a taste and add a little more salt if you think it needs it. Finish with the rest of the lemon zest and a little more za’atar, then enjoy while hot.

Got a question?

What are the best beans to use?

You can use any white bean here you like – I tend to go between butter beans and cannellini beans when I make this recipe and both are wonderful. For the best, creamy texture, use jarred beans as they’re better quality, but canned beans are cheaper and are absolutely fine otherwise.

Can I make the beans ahead of time?

Yes! They reheat wonderfully and keep well. Store them for 4 days in the fridge, then either reheat in the microwave at 30-second intervals or on the stovetop over low heat. Add a splash of water when you reheat them, just to help loosen up the sauce.

What else could I add to the beans?

Try more green veggies like broccolini (chop the florets and stems finely and add them with the zucchini and leek) or asparagus, or stir through a couple of big handfuls of spinach when you add the parmesan, sour cream and za’atar. Swap the bacon for chorizo or another good quality sausage, or use leftover cooked chicken (this is a great way to use up leftovers from a roast chicken).

Like this recipe? You might enjoy these easy one-pot ideas too

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.

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Creamy leek zucchini beans in a large pot with a silver spoon and pita bread on the side.

Creamy One Pot Lemony Leek and Zucchini Butter Beans


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

Protein-packed, incredibly satisfying and genuinely delicious? These GORGEOUS beans have it all. Made in one pot for ease AND in less than 30 minutes, just cook down leeks and zucchini, add your beans and a couple of other cupboard staple flavor injectors and you’re good to go.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices streaky bacon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 2 small courgettes, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, plus their liquid
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup parmesan, grated
  • 1 tablespoon za’atar (plus extra to finish)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large, high-sided pan then add the chopped bacon and set it over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes, until the bacon is nice and crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on a plate (leave the bacon fat in the pan – it’ll give the recipe wonderful flavor).
  2. Cook the leek and zucchini. Add the sliced leek, zucchini and garlic to your pan, along with 1 teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until the leeks and zucchini have softened down nicely, adding a splash of oil if needed. This will take about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the beans. Pour in all the white beans and their liquid, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1 tablespoon of za’atar and 1 teaspoon of fish sauce if you’re using it. Stir as the sour cream and cheese melt into the lovely sauce. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Add the bacon and lemon zest. Once the sauce looks thick and glossy, add the crispy bacon back into the pan, along with most of the lemon zest. Stir them through the beans, then scatter over the rest of the lemon zest and another springing of za’atar. Divide between plates and enjoy while hot and gorgeous, with soft garlic flatbreads, no-knead focaccia, rosemary parmesan bread or 2-ingredient dough naan on the side.

Notes

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: The beans keep well and reheat perfectly, so they’re great for meal prep. Store them in the fridge for up to 4 days, then just reheat them in the microwave at 30-second intervals, or gently on the stovetop on low heat. You’ll want to add a splash of water to help the sauce loosen up as you reheat it.

INGREDIENTS NOTES: Play around here and add in more green veggies if you like – frozen peas are great, as is broccoli, broccolini or asparagus, or stir in a couple of big handfuls of spinach at the end. You could use creme fraiche, coconut cream, full-fat Greek yogurt or heavy cream in place of the sour cream. Swap the bacon for chorizo or another good-quality sausage, or throw in some cooked shredded chicken (a great way to use up leftovers from a roasted chicken). Or, skip the bacon to make it vegetarian (and use vegetarian parmesan). Skip the fish sauce if you like but it adds a GORGEOUS savoury, umami depth you won’t get from salt alone. It’s my secret, power ingredient I use all the time and I recommend you give it a chance (I promise it doesn’t taste fishy!)

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This is truly enough by itself – the beans are filling – but serving it with a side of soft flatbreads, chilli cheese focaccia, rosemary parmesan bread or even 2 ingredient dough naan always goes down well.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: one pot
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: american

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 300g
  • Calories: 321
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 1224.9mg
  • Fat: 16.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 30.3g
  • Fiber: 7.3g
  • Protein: 14.7g
  • Cholesterol: 22.5mg

Welcome!

I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.

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3 Comments

  1. nora

    hi there! this was so delicious when I made it. However I was wondering if using dry beans will work the same? thanks!

    Reply
    • Kate Phillips

      SO happy you loved it! If you’re using dried beans, it’ll absolutely work BUT you’ll need to soak and cook them before you can use them in the recipe – otherwise they will stay super hard 🙂

      Reply
  2. Jamie Johns

    Absolutely wonderful!!!! Such amazing flavor. My very picky husband loved the recipe! Thank-you! As a side note…I followed the recipe and missed putting in the garlic. I’ve re-read it and do not think it’s there. I sautéed the garlic and added it to the beans as the final step.






    Reply

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