Catalan-Style Beans

This is a recipe for a basic spanish/Catalonian-type bean dish, a variant of one I saw in a cookbook and did my own version of (mostly to make it simpler and easier).  It’s not perfect, but it came out darn good the first time – more below.

Catalan-Style Beans

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, dices
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed garlic (about 4 big cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground thyme
  • generous pinch cinnamon
  • 3 cups (2 cans) of white beans or garbanzos, low-sodium
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix all ingredients except beans in a skillet.  Sautee for 3 minutes to allow blend, cover, lower heat.  Cook 10 minutes, simmering.
  3. Place beans on bottom of a 2 quart baking dish, spread out evenly.
  4. Cover beans with tomato mixture.
  5. Place in oven, cook uncovered for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
  6. Serve.

This freeze and reheats well – in fact the flavor may improve after a bit of reheating – don’t overdo reheating it, the beans can get a bit soft if you use navy beans.

This recipe was pretty good the first time, with a simple flavor, nice fragrance, a bit of a zippy kick from the tomatoes and garlic.  A nice, light main course.  It needs some tweaking – the flavor could use a bit of depth and I think there may have been a bit much liquid – but it’s one of those recipes where the first time showed there’s something to this.

Improvement-wise I’m thinking of: less olive oil, uncovering the mix during the simmer phase to reduce fluid, and cooking at a slightly lower temperature.  I have also tried it with paprika (not sure) and some red pepper (which was good).

Also it’s easy to make after the initial sautee-and-simmer, since it basically sits in the oven for an hour with an occasional stir!

Serving-wise I’ve had it with polenta, steamed garlic, and vinegared turnips.  Despite its kick, it works with vinegared food and other sours, and I think it goes good with greens.  The polenta worked due to sweetness, so it’d also probably go good with corn, peas, rice, and bread.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at