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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Rukmini Iyer

Rukmini Iyer’s budget recipes with tinned beans

Rukmini Iyer’s lime-spiked black bean, avocado and rice taco bowl.
Rukmini Iyer’s lime-spiked black bean, avocado and rice taco bowl. Photograph: Ola O Smit/The Guardian. Food stylist: Sam Dixon. Prop stylist: Anna Wilkins. Food styling assistant: Louise Cassidy.

Tinned butter beans and black beans are among my favourites, with both being the perfect base for salads as well as more substantial dishes. Paired with brown rice, avocado and indecent amounts of lime, black beans work splendidly in a balanced, almost five-ingredient lunch. And for warmer days, take inspiration from Niki Segnit’s new book, The Flavour Thesaurus: More Flavours, and make a Spanish-inspired butter bean salad with oranges and olives – I add walnuts for crunch and spinach for a hit of green.

Lime-spiked black bean, avocado and rice taco bowl (pictured above)

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

200g brown rice
Flaky sea salt
tbsp olive oil
2 x 400g tins black beans
, drained and rinsed
½ tsp ground cumin
Zest and juice of 2 limes
10g fresh coriander, leaves and stems chopped
2 avocados, halved, stoned, peeled and sliced

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, add the brown rice and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Drain, then stir in a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil.

While the rice is cooking, mix the drained beans with two tablespoons of olive oil, the ground cumin, the zest and juice of one and a half of the limes, the chopped coriander and a teaspoon of sea salt flakes. Taste and adjust the salt as required.

When the rice is cooked and dressed, divide it between four bowls and top each portion with a quarter of the beans and half a sliced avocado. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the avocado, scatter with a little salt and serve hot.

Orange, butter bean, spinach and olive salad

Rukmini Iyer’s orange, butter bean, spinach and olive salad.
Rukmini Iyer’s orange, butter bean, spinach and olive salad. Photograph: Ola O Smit/Food stylist: Sam Dixon. Prop stylist: Anna Wilkins.

Prep 15 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil
Zest from 1 orange
50g shelled walnuts
, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coriander seeds
garlic clove, peeled and grated
2 x 400g tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
Flaky sea salt
2 oranges, peeled
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
200g baby leaf spinach
50g pitted black olives, halved

Put two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, add the orange zest, walnuts, coriander seeds and garlic, then turn down the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until the walnuts are toasted.

Add the butter beans and a teaspoon of flaky sea salt, stir gently, and heat for a further five minutes. Take off the heat. Segment the orange over a bowl to collect the inevitable juice. Stir in the orange juice and leave to marinate for 15 minutes, or chill in the fridge until needed.

When you’re ready to eat, whisk the remaining olive oil with the lemon juice, zest and sea salt to taste, and use this to dress the spinach. Arrange the spinach on a large platter, top with the marinated beans, orange segments and olives, and serve immediately.

  • Rukmini Iyer is the author of The Roasting Tin series. Her latest book is India Express: Fresh and Delicious Recipes for Every Day, published by Square Peg at £22. To order a copy for £19.36, go to

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