Vaguely Indian Borlotti (or Kidney!) Bean Stew

Another “from the pantry” dish perfect for cooler weather, this borlotti or red kidney bean stew is Indian inspired with its warming spices.

This is heartier and a bit more complex in flavor than my recipe for Spiced Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans),  but the concept and approach is largely the same. Working with items you most likely have in your pantry already, and adding just a small handful of fresh ingredients, you can have lunch or dinner that tastes like you spent multiple hours preparing.

The beauty of this recipe is that it is very flexible. For the vegetables, I suggest keeping the onions, carrots and beans as stated in the recipe, but if you have other vegetables you’d like to include, by all means go for it. Zucchini? Cauliflower? Both great. The same goes for the spices. In the recipe, below, I’ve listed the spices and quantities that I like and find that they are well balanced. If you don’t like any of them or want to dial up or down any particular spices, be my guest.

This recipe goes well with my recipes for:

Arliano Update (Aggiornamento Arliano):

Finally! Our “Eco-bonus” (an Italian government program that offers up to 110% reimbursement on certain expenses related to energy efficiency or other anti-seismic improvements) is about to start. The engineering study is now complete, which was required to initiate the project. The study must prove that we will raise our energy efficiency ratings by two categories. Because of our non-insulated walls and roof, and old windows, we leak heat and have a poor rating. The improvement projects will keep the heat in the winter and the cool in the summer and raise our efficiency rating by more than two levels. This also means lower utility bills! Our next step is to choose materials (windows, doors, etc.) by the end of this year. In the meantime, you can find us shivering under an electric blanket trying to avoid turning on our old and inefficient heating system.

We’ve started winterizing our garden. Out went the old tomato, squash and watermelon vines, eggplant bushes, and corn stalks. We’ve left them in the field to decompose. When we have the field plowed, they’ll provide some nourishment to the soil. We still have some cabbage, hot peppers and brussels sprouts hanging on. I decided not to do a winter garden. There were enough “learning lessons” to absorb from the summer so I wanted a break.


Did you enjoy reading or making the recipe from this post? If so, please consider giving it a “like” or a comment. It would be nice to know you are out there and that my posts connect with you.

Vaguely Indian Borlotti Bean Stew

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


    For the stew:

  • 2, 15-ounce cans borlotti or red kidney beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
  • 2 large yellow onions, finely sliced (not diced)
  • 2 large carrots, cleaned and grated
  • 2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, or to taste
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste
  • 1 fresh hot chili pepper finely minced or 1/2 teaspoon ground hot chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt)
  • 2 large garlic cloves finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling over final dish
  • ___________________________

    For the optional yogurt base (otherwise I suggest jasmine or basmati rice):

  • 2 cups full fat Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small garlic clove finely minced
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon kosher or sea salt (not iodized table salt)


  1. Drain and rinse the borlotti or red kidney beans and set them aside
  2. Place the sliced onions, grated carrots, olive oil, all the stew spices, and minced hot pepper in a large sauté pan over low heat. Stir until thoroughly mixed and cover. Stir occasionally until the onions have completely softened but not browned, about 30 minutes
  3. Remove the lid and add the minced garlic. Cook for one minute and then add the beans and the cans of diced tomatoes. Thoroughly mix. Raise heat to medium and leave uncovered, simmering for about 20 minutes, or until about half of the tomato liquid has evaporated
  4. While the bean stew is simmering, prepare the yogurt base, (if making) by placing all the yogurt base ingredients in a small mixing bow and stir to mix thoroughly. Evenly divide the yogurt among each serving bowl and using the bottom of a spoon, spread the yogurt to cover the bottom of each bowl. Give each bowl a “swirl” of fresh olive oil around the perimeter of the bottom of each bowl
  5. If not making the yogurt base, I suggest that you make jasmine or basmati rice to accompany the bean stew. Another idea is to serve the bean stew with flat bread and baba ghanoush (see my recipes, above, for the recipes)
  6. Place a large ladle of bean stew on top of the yogurt base or rice and serve

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

2 thoughts

  1. Making it again for dinner tonight as everyone enjoyed it. Made the recipe as directed and this time, I’m adding some celery as I have it available.

    Liked by 1 person

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