Borlotti Beans (Barbunya Pilaki) Recipe

Although we have no idea how long coronavirus lockdown will continue, it's unlikely that life will go on unaffected. Without succumbing to panic and not forgetting sustainable buying principles, we have been stocking up on a few things that are essential to our pantry. 

The easiest place to start is the tinned and dry foods that can stay in the pantry for several months. Tinned foods like tomatoes, beans and coconut milk have been useful for many dishes. Dry staples like pasta, rice and pulses are helpful to have in the house. 

We normally prefer buying our pulses dry but working from home considerations (i.e. having to prepare lunch in 2 minutes) has led us to stock up a few tins of borlotti beans, beluga lentils, and chickpeas. 

Traditional Barbunya Pilaki is quite a plain meal, mainly prepared by just the beans, onions and tomatoes. We like adding carrots as their sweetness and texture goes well with barbunya. You can add a celery stick or half a bulb of fennel both finely chopped. Most Turkish recipes will also add one potato. This dish can be served warm or cold. As the flavors settle, tastes even better the next day. You can serve as part of a mezze platter or as a delicious vegan course. 


Total Time: 1 h  I Prep: 15 m I Cook: 45 m I Difficulty: Easy

Serves 2



  • 400gr Borlotti Beans (soaked overnight if dry) 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste  
  • 4 tbsp olive oil  
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • pinch of ground cinnamon 
  • Handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste



  • Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook until they are richly browned. Add tomato paste and stir well. 
  • If you are using dry beans, boil them in a separate pot, filled with plenty of cold water for at least 30 – 35 minutes. Make sure the beans are tender, but not soft or mushy. 
  • Drain the beans, rinse and transfer to the saucepan. Give it a good mix. 
  • Add your spices. Be careful with the cinnamon as it will overpower the dish. A small pinch will be more than enough. You can get creatives with your spices to suit your taste. You can swap mint with oregano or add a bay leaf. 
  • Then pour in the water, until your beans are covered with. 
  • Bring it to the boil and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes with the saucepan partially covered, until the beans are cooked (but not mushy). 
  • Check the seasoning and add a little more salt or black pepper if needed.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley and wedges of lemon by the side