This recipe is a creamy, smoky, satisfying and nutritious quick lunch. It takes 30 minutes in the kitchen to achieve something that tastes like it was slow-cooked. This is probably one of the few times you will see me open a can.

I’ve tried to cook lima or butter beans before and it takes hours, even when soaked overnight. I can’t taste the ‘tin flavour’ so I think it’s okay to use them. I also use a can of Italian crushed tomatoes, you could do it from scratch if you wanted but it won’t be a quick lunch option.


  • 3 red capsicums smoked or roasted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 Brown onion finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic 4 cloves roasted, 2 set aside to finely grate
  • 1 400g tin crushed tomatoes in juice
  • 1 can of butter beans preferably organic, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pinch fresh oregano, rosemary, thyme 1 pinch of each
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 pinch smoked paprika
  • cracked pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch Salt to taste
  • 1 handful finely chopped coriander to garnish (substitute with parsley)
  • parmesan cheese vegetarian-friendly, optional
  • ½ tsp soft brown sugar any sugar will do
  • ½ lemon (optional)


  1. 1 Char your capsicums over a gas flame until skin is blackened. Allow to cool and the skin should peel away easily by rubbing with your hand. Core and cut into pieces, roast in a medium heat oven with a few cloves of garlic and half the olive oil until softened. This takes about 15 mins. An alternative to this that works just as well is to grill at a high heat. Or you can roast pieces of cored and sliced red capsicum with garlic with half the olive oil on a medium heat until soft - put to the side.
  2. 2 Sauté onions in the remaining olive oil on a medium heat until softened and use a zester to quickly grate in 2 cloves of garlic. Add herbs and stir often. Add the cayenne and stir for 1 minute.
  3. 3 Add to the onion mixture the whole tin of crushed tomatoes and all the juice. Allow to cook for 5 minutes.
  4. 4 Transfer this mixture to blender, purée until smooth and creamy then add the roasted pieces of capsicum and garlic. Purée until you get your preferred texture - creamy or rustic. (Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender for this.)
  5. 5 Taste the sauce and check for seasoning, add pinch of salt.
  6. 6 Transfer sauce from blender back to fry pan and add your can of rinsed and drained butter beans. The sauce will coat them thickly. Allow to just simmer for 15 minutes for flavours to blend.
  7. 7 Adjust seasoning: add sugar, salt, smoked paprika, black cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon until you have the desired balance of flavours. (At this point I sometimes do a sneaky little cook's thing and put a large knob of butter or non-dairy margarine to just melt over the top).
  8. 8 Serve on thick slices of lightly toasted bread. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, or parsley if preferred. You can also garnish with peels of parmesan cheese (optional).