Curried Red Bean Skillet

This Curried Red Bean Skillet is the ultimate vegan dinner recipe loaded with cumin, garlic, and ginger stewed together with tomatoes. These simple ingredients come together to make the most delicious and comforting meal.

Close up of the skillet red beans served with naan and rice.

I made this dish at the request of my husband. He really adores my Habichuelas Guisadas, but he was interested if I could experiment with a similar concept except with different spices, specifically seeing if a few classic Indian spices could be used instead. And honestly, sounded like an excellent idea. So why not?

Why You’ll Love This Flavorful Skillet

Comfort food made easy. Between the creaminess of the almond butter blended into the sauce and the heartiness of the potatoes, this dish is pure bliss. The best part is that it cooks in 30 minutes.

Simple ingredients. I made sure to keep the ingredients easily accessible and easy to follow along with. Please note, for any recommended substitutions, I do have them listed below in the Frequently Asked Questions area.

Nutritious. This dish is made with a number of whole food ingredients including some beans, potatoes, tomatoes and almond butter. There is no added sugar and you can absolutely control the amount of salt you choose to add to this dish. In total, this meal provides a great deal of fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates, iron, folate, and healthy fats.

Cutting board topped with diced onions, cumin seeds, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, spices and red beans.

Key Ingredients

  • Red Kidney Beans: I used canned to make this meal a fast one. Make sure to rinse and drain them well.
  • Potatoes: Helps to make this dish very hearty. I used Yukon gold, but russet also works.
  • Spices: A combination of cumin, coriander, and ginger.
  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes: I highly recommend using canned San Marzano Whole Peeled Tomatoes (I call them the yellow canned tomatoes from the grocery store) as these tomatoes have the best flavor and tend not to be very acidic.
  • Almond Butter: Helps to make this dish very rich and creamy without the use of coconut milk.

How to Flavor Your Curried Red Bean Skillet

Start by blooming your cumin and bay leaves in a large skillet with a little oil. Once fragrant, add in your onion along with a pinch of salt and allow the onion to soften and caramelize slightly.

Stir in your coriander and give it a quick sauté, then add in the garlic and ginger, adding a little more oil or a splash of water to help prevent your ingredients from sticking to the pan.

Pour in your tomatoes and with your cooking spoon, start to carefully break down the tomatoes into smaller chunks. Add in your potatoes, red beans and vegetable broth and bring your mix to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook until your potatoes are fork tender.

Remove the lid, stir in your almond butter making sure that it dissolves into the stew. Feel free to add a little splash of water if the almond butter is not blending well. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste and serve as desired.

Tips for some Flavorful Beans

  • Make sure to layer your flavors. While I could have easily just thrown everything into a pot to simmer and called it a day, this wouldn’t be the best way to flavor this dish. To really get the best flavors, focus on layering your flavors. We do this by blooming the spices in the beginning and then slowly developing the remaining aromatics. Definitely extra steps, but it helps to elevate all of the complex flavors in this dish. Don’t take the short cut.
  • Bloom your spices. If you’ve never heard of blooming your spices, it simply means allowing them to cook in some oil. Many of the compounds in spices are fat soluble, so cooking them with fat actually helps to bring out the most flavor.
  • Use whole spices and fresh garlic and ginger. Can’t recommend whole spices enough as they are more elevated in flavor while ground spices tend to lose flavor overtime. Don’t skimp on the fresh garlic and ginger in this dish either as these are flavor builders as well.
Top down view of the bowl of beans, rice and naan served with a spoon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you make this dish oil-free?

As I mentioned previously, I do recommend blooming your spices if you can as this will help bring out the most flavors in your dish. In the very least, if you do attempt this dish oil free, make sure to at least dry roast your spices to help bring out some of the flavors in the spices. As you are adding some ingredients that might stick to the pan like onions, garlic and ginger, just make sure to deglaze your pan with some vegetable broth to help avoid sticking as you cook.

How long can you store this dish for?

Allow your dish to cool down to room temperature and store leftovers of this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You can freeze this dish as well for up to 3 months.

Can you make this dish nut-free?

If you have an allergy to nuts, your best bet would be to swap the almond butter out for some sunflower butter or to leave out the nut butter entirely. The dish is still very flavorful without the nut butter. If the dish appears a little watery, just lightly mash a few of the red beans and stir into the dish to help thicken it.

What to Serve Your Curried Red Bean Skillet With

This dish can technically be served on it’s own thanks to the addition of potatoes, but I find it goes even better with some rice and flat bread or naan. If you’re a fan of cilantro, I highly recommend it as a garnish. If you’d like a little cooling factor, a dollop of plain vegan yogurt would work lovely hear as well.

More Bean Recipes to Try

Side view of red beans and potatoes in a white bowl topped with cilantro.
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Bowl of beans served with rice and naan.

Curried Red Bean Skillet

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Curried Red Bean Skillet is the ultimate vegan dinner recipe loaded with cumin, garlic, and ginger stewed together with tomatoes.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed or finely minced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1, 15 oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 cup Yukon gold potatoes, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2, 15 oz cans of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (optional, but makes this dish really rich and creamy)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Warm up some oil in a large skillet and start to bloom your cumin and bay leaves for about 45 seconds to a minute.
  2. Once your cumin is fragrant, add in your onion along with a pinch of salt and allow onion to soften and begin to caramelize.
  3. Stir in your coriander and give it a quick sauté, then add in the garlic and ginger, adding a little more oil or a splash of water to help prevent your ingredients from sticking to the pan.
  4. Pour in your tomatoes and with your cooking spoon start to carefully mash and break down the tomatoes into smaller chunks and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add in your potatoes, red beans and vegetable broth and bring your mix to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
  6. Remove the lid from the pan and stir in your almond butter making sure that it dissolves into the stew.
  7. Feel free to add a little splash of water if almond butter is not blending well then cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste then serve as desired.

Notes

To really get the best flavors, focus on layering your flavors. We do this by blooming the spices in the beginning and then slowly developing the remaining aromatics. While they are extra steps, it helps to elevate all of the complex flavors in this dish. Don’t take the short cut.

Bloom your spices. If you’ve never heard of blooming your spices, it simply means allowing them to cook in some oil. Many of the compounds in spices are fat soluble, so cooking them with fat actually helps to bring out the most flavor.

Use whole spices and fresh garlic and ginger. Can’t recommend whole spices enough as they are more elevated in flavor while ground spices tend to lose flavor overtime. Don’t skimp on the fresh garlic and ginger in this dish either as these are flavor builders as well.

INSTANTPOT INSTRUCTIONS: Want to make this in the instant pot? Use the sauté setting and follow the exact steps listed in the instructions, but add your almond butter in along with the veggie broth. Once added in, seal the pressure cooker lid and set to manual pressure for 5 minutes and then manually release the pressure. Give your beans a good stir to make sure the sauce is evenly mixed before serving.

Did You Try This Recipe?
Then let me know what you thought in the comments below! Share your creations by tagging me on Instagram with the hashtag #plantbasedrdeats

 Catherine

2 Comments

  1. This is my new favorite dish! It was sooooo good. I used fresh tomatoes (versus canned) and added some chopped kale. I will be making this often. Thank you for the recipe!






    1. Oh gosh fresh tomatoes in this sounds amazing! And so so happy you made this! This recipe has been a weekly rotation for us. 🙂

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