Butterbean and Leek Gratin

Since we started using dried pulses for cooking the tins of butterbeans and chickpeas that are stockpiled in our cupboards have been all but forgotten about. However, leaving them go to waste clearly is not an option, so I shall be trying my hardest over the next few weeks to make use of them. This is my own recipe, though it should be mentioned that the café at which I work has served up butterbean gratin on a number of occasions. Despite the fact that this wasn’t a tried and tested recipe it was absolutely delicious. The tomato sauce was deep and rich in flavour, the butterbeans were tender and the breadcrumbs were browned to perfection. If you are in search of a delicious, light and healthy meal, look no further.

Having been out of the kitchen for so long, culinary inspiration has become a little hard to find. This must be because over the past few weeks, cooking has been right at the back of my mind, so bringing it back to the forefront has proved a little difficult. For example, dreaming up this dish took rather longer than expected, whereas before, such a recipe would have taken only moments to formulate. Perhaps my gastronomic hiatus has affected my mind a little. Then again, one could say that I’ve always been a little affected. However, only time will tell. For now, I insist you all enjoy this fantastically rustic gratin.

Butterbean and Leek Gratin

Serves 3-4


• 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes

• 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

• 1 large onion, finely chopped

• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

• 400g tin of butterbeans in water

• 1 large leek, sliced thickly into medallions

• 20g butter

• 150g brown or granary bread

• A handful of parmesan

• 2 tsp of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped

• Seasoning

• Oil


1. Fry the onions in a little oil until translucent. Add the garlic, followed by the tomatoes, salt pepper and balsamic vinegar. Cook for at least 30 minutes, allowing it to reduce slightly. Pre-heat the oven to 200C five minutes before the sauce is ready. Tip the tomatoes into an oven dish and mix in the butterbeans, make sure to rinse them first. Layer the slices of leek on top and put a small knob of butter atop each medallion. Pop it all in the oven for 10-15 minutes, allow the leeks plenty of time to cook through.

2. To make the breadcrumbs simply blitz the bread, parmesan and rosemary together in a food processor. Sprinkle this on top of the cooked leeks and grill until golden brown.

Cost: This really is a rustic and cheap dish, as one might expect. Indeed, the whole dish comes in at roughly £1.20. It’s in dishes like this that one can observe the benefits of using pulses for protein, rather than meat.

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95 comments on “Butterbean and Leek Gratin

  1. Kay aka Babygirl
    November 25, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    I am not a huge fan of leeks, but you’ve made them look so incredible. This Butterbean and Leek Gratin recipe sounds amazing

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Really? I don;t understand that :D. I adore the humble leek.

  2. The Opinionated Foodie
    November 25, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Looks delicious and filling! I hope you get back in the kitchen on a regular basis soon.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      It is both of those :). I should be back on a regular basis come Tuesday 😀 All the tiling is done, finally.

  3. Savory Simple
    November 25, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    I think this is beautiful! I understand feeling uninspired, I go through phases myself. I keep an ongoing list every time I have an idea. I’m probably up to 30 recipes (well, recipes in my head). That helps me get through dry spells.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks! I’m getting a little more inspired at the moment. I have a couple of recipes up my sleeves.

  4. Mama's Gotta Bake
    November 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Love leeks, beautiful dish!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      they are one of my favourite vegetables – which is a good thing since they are our national veg.

  5. k.m.
    November 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Funny, I have some dried butterbeans and no canned ones! I shall have to soak my beans and then proceed :)

    It looks really tasty, and should go well with the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Well, they’ll be fine :D. It would indeed!

  6. zoe@myfoodintranslation
    November 25, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    First thing I thought upon seeing it was that it’s such a great idea. Beans are an almost daily staple of my diet so I’m always on the lookout for interesting ways to prepare them. Hope you get your inspiration back soon, and in the meantime, just keep coming up with dishes like this one :)

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

      Thanks. I’ve not bean able too eat many beans recently, due to the kitchen problems, but I can;t wait to get back to them. I’ve bean missing them.

      (disclaimer: I spelt been incorrectly on purpose, just in case…)

  7. Cathy
    November 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Absolutely! Vegetarian food is healthy AND inexpensive! I like the sound of this combination… it has inspired me. Thank you!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      That’s what I love about veggie food – I’m a very open minded meat eater.

  8. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide
    November 25, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Wow, this is so tasty looking. Love this combo.

  9. When Harry Met Celery
    November 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Thank just looks so good! Lovely post there. When you have the time, do drop by to read my new post. I’d love to hear from you.

  10. Dan McCullough
    November 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    That looks outstanding. I cannot wait to try it.

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you. Please let me know how it goes, if it goes.

  11. veghotpot
    November 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Ooooh yum!! This literally looks amazing, I love butter beans…and leeks. Fantastic idea!

  12. Bluejellybeans
    November 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Wow! This sounds like a very good recipe FF. Congratulations 😉
    I think I’m going to give it a try with broad beans from “La Granja de San Ildefonso” because I can’t find the equivalent to the butterbeans in Spanish, but they look alike…
    Thanks for sharing, have a very nice weekend!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      Haha, I don’t know whether congratulations are in order. That sounds like a great idea – I hope it turns out well.

  13. cookinginsens
    November 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    What a wonderful casserole!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks, Sens. Was one of my better dishes I think.

  14. ceciliag
    November 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    oo this does look good.. c

  15. kat #2
    November 26, 2011 at 1:10 am

    Lovely and my favourite to date. We all experience the wax and wane of cooking. I tend to feel comfortable with old standbys as the season changes, and by mid-season am looking for inspiration.
    Big like for this one

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      One of my faves too. I very rarely cook the same thing more than twice at the moment. Always having to cook new things for this blog 😀

  16. Just A Smidgen
    November 26, 2011 at 6:56 am

    I’m not sure what butterbeans are? But this dish looks very unique, healthy and delicious all at once. I have the same problem with finding tins of things I need to use up… how did they get in my pantry in the first place?

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Beans… white beans… It is all of those things :D. I know how they got there… but they refuse to leave :(

  17. thecompletecookbook
    November 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Lovely – a meal all on it’s own – great use of ingredients.
    :-) Mandy

  18. Arturo Féliz-Camilo
    November 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    yum yum yummy!

  19. peterandros
    November 26, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    That looks really good!

  20. glutenfreezen
    November 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Gorgeous! Rustic and comforting too. I’ve never seen leeks done like that around here. I am definitely going to add this to my winter cooking list. :)

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      Thanks! that’s exactly what I was going for 😀

  21. Food, Flowers, Herbs and Life!
    November 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    I love your flavor combinations! As the days grow cooler we long for dishes like this! Thank you for an excellent recipe!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      It work very well, one of my favourite. Give it a go :)

  22. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    November 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Beautiful and simple! We have a yard full of leeks, so this becomes an even more economical option for us! Thank you…

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Oh, well now you’ve told me that… you have to make it 😀

  23. coeliacsisters
    November 26, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I shall definitely be making it for tea this week, substituting the bread for gluten free though, Love the blog!!!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      Oh, jolly good 😀 I;m so glad you like my blog.

  24. Karina
    November 27, 2011 at 8:05 am

    The Canadian in me had to look up what butter beans were :) This looks great and can’t beat the cost!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:26 pm

      They are really nice – I don’t know a different name from them. Cannellini beans are very similar.

      • Karina
        December 1, 2011 at 8:08 am

        From my google research, it says they are lima beans

  25. alternative eating
    November 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

    This looks amazingly good:) Love the combination of flavors. Excellent for a cold winter day:)

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks! It worked really well – I was very happy.

  26. sanyaliving
    November 27, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Wow! That looks great.
    I love beans and leeks!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Me too! Two of my favourite types of ingredient.

  27. KuZina
    November 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Thank you for “liking” my blog post because it led me to your wonderful blog! My first thought was “finally!” — someone writing about eating well without spending a fortune in a way that emphasizes the “eating well, enjoyably and deliciously” rather than the “sticking to a tight budget” part of the equation. Well done!

    • frugalfeeding
      November 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      No problem! I’m glad you like my blog. Thank you, finally someone who understand EXACTLY what I’m trying to do :D. Of course I could eat for 50p a meal, but I don’t want to. What I want to do is eat economically – which doesn’t necessarily mean cheaply, it means good value.

  28. jennyp777
    November 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Thanks for always liking my posts, frugalfeeding. Led me to viewing your site which I love! Seriously I just spent like and hour looking at all your recipes!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      No problem :d. I enjoy them. So glad you like my site so much!

  29. Lesh Karan
    November 27, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    Hi, funny you made truffles last week (like I did just a couple of days ago), and I made something similar to this gratin just a week ago too. I’m yet to post about it. :-) Gratins make a cheap, but nourishing dish. I should make them more often!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:49 pm

      Haha, coincidence I hope :D. I adore a good gratin and should make them more myself.

  30. Juls
    November 28, 2011 at 7:51 am

    You say it may have taken you a while to think up but it looksd and sounds fantastic!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      Thanks! Everything works out in the end 😀

  31. Kristina
    November 28, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Hmmm that looks absolutely delicious! Hearty food for winter! Will definitely have a go!

  32. naturallyhealthyandgorgeous
    November 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I love butterbeans especially after doing a post on how healthy beans are to eat! I am going to have to try that recipe soon!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2011 at 4:43 pm

      Oh yes, they really are. They always make me feel good.

  33. Karen
    November 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I make butter beans with buttered breadcrumbs. I’m going to give your recipe a try.

  34. leduesorelle
    November 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I’ve been looking for ways to use our huge harvest of leeks, this looks perfect!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      Well, it would seem so 😀 I’m jealous of your leek harvest!

  35. toosoxy
    November 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    i have actually never cooked butter beans before. maybe this is the recipe that will get me started!

  36. Grace@ FoodFitnessFreshair
    November 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    That looks amazing. Butter beans are my new favorite. I’ve never tried making them dried, have you?

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks! Mine too. I’ve never tried them dried, though I am sure they are even better.

  37. peterandros
    November 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I am definitely going to give this a try. Looks delicious.

  38. Joanne
    November 29, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I LOVE everything in here. I’ve been meaning to do a leek gratin but haven’t gotten around to it. Sounds great with the butterbeans!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2011 at 4:39 pm

      thanks very much :D. I adore butterbeans, so I think so 😀

  39. Kaitlyn
    November 30, 2011 at 3:17 am

    Wow, great! I’ve been on a leek kick recently.. and this might just keep me going! :)

  40. Susan
    November 30, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Comfort food! I love it. Leeks and butter beans are a lovely combination.

  41. Aimee@clevermuffin
    November 30, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Ooo… that looks good. And I tell you what as well, you have an amazing way of turning a phrase. My new phrase for the week is “gastronomic hiatus” and I’ll be damned if I can’t work it into conversation at least once or twice!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 2, 2011 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks, Clever. I do try to turn a good phrase :)

  42. Raquel
    November 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    This looks absolutely delish! Perfect for winter, must try.

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

      It was! One of my favourite wintry dishes.

  43. Cinnamin
    November 30, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Oh this looks so wholesome and comforting! I feel like making some right now. I like butter beans; they are so versatile and would make for a great au gratin. So soft and velvety…I’ll bet this tasted really good!

    • frugalfeeding
      December 10, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Exactly, that was just what I was going for. I adore butterbeans also.

  44. Stacey
    December 3, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    I love butterbeans and leeks. What a genius dish. I’m in love.

  45. Juls
    January 3, 2012 at 6:02 am

    After six months of diligent military-like strategy, I now have my fussy boyfriend eating leeks (and other things that are coloured green) and so made this dish for dinner last night and it was lovely! The fussy boy even ate all the leeks (he did comment that it would be improved with bacon but, to him, everything would be improved with the addition of bacon).

    • frugalfeeding
      January 4, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Ah! jolly good :D. Saw your post – glad you liked it 😀

  46. Juls (Pepper and Sherry)
    January 3, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Oh, and now it seems he has sneaked down this morning and eaten the remains for breakfast when there was bacon in the fridge. He chose leeks over bacon – celebration time!

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