Sweet & Smoky White Beans | 7 Ingredients

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeNFNut FreeOFOil FreeVVegan
5 from 7 votes
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These Sweet & Smoky White Beans are simmered in a homemade tomato and roasted red pepper sauce for a comforting side or hearty main dish. Vegan and Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Option.

This Vegan White Beans Recipe will forever change how you look at a can of white beans. Simmered in a sweet and smoky tomato and roasted red pepper sauce, the protein-packed beans soak up the wonderful flavors and are served with cashew cream on top. All you need are simple, plant-based ingredients for this nutritious side or main dish!

Table of Contents
  1. Your New Favorite Way to Eat White Beans
  2. Ingredients for Vegetarian White Beans
  3. How to Make Sweet & Smoky White Beans
  4. Serving Suggestions
  5. How to Store Saucy White Beans
  6. Substitutions and Variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Sweet & Smoky White Beans Recipe
sweet and smoky white beans served in a wide plate topped with cashew cream, parsley

Your New Favorite Way to Eat White Beans

Can we give it up for white beans, please? 👏 They’re finally getting the attention they deserve and I couldn’t be happier! Lately, it seems like everyone is tossing these wonderfully versatile and creamy beans into hearty vegan stews and boldly flavored chilis, blending them into creamy dips, and so much more.

This recipe for Sweet & Smoky White Beans turns everyday canned white beans into the star ingredient, and the recipe really couldn’t be easier.

The beans are simmered in a rich and smoky-sweet tomato and roasted red pepper sauce until they’re soft and bursting with flavor. Dress ‘em up with fresh herbs and cashew cream on top and enjoy with fresh crusty bread or keep it simple when pairing them with your favorite vegan mains. One taste and you’ll be craving this deeply flavorful and nourishing dish for years to come.

Ingredients for Vegetarian White Beans

These wholesome white beans come together with everyday budget-friendly ingredients:

ingredients for sweet and smoky white beans laid out on a dark green backdrop
  • White beans: Use Navy, Cannellini, Great Northern, or Broad beans—they all work well! I used canned Cannellini beans with salt. If you prefer to cook the beans from scratch, keep in mind that you will likely need to add more salt to the recipe.
  • Roasted red peppers: You can roast the red bell peppers at the same time as the onion and garlic or go the store-bought route to speed up the process. Whatever you do, do not skip them! Roasted red peppers are the secret behind the white bean sauce, giving it tang, more depth, and a silky smooth texture.
  • Onion and garlic: They’re roasted with the bell peppers to reveal their wonderful hidden flavors before being blended in the sauce. Use a red onion to bring more sweetness to the sauce or a yellow onion for a more savory flavor.
  • Spices: Smoked paprika and cumin add the signature smokiness to the sauce, while coriander and kosher salt round everything out.
  • Canned tomatoes: Fire-roasted tomatoes, to be exact. They’re super convenient and add a nice smokiness and acidic punch to the sauce. 

How to Make Sweet & Smoky White Beans

a grid of six images showing the below-described preparation process of beans
  1. Toss the bell pepper, onion, and garlic in olive oil until coated. Broil the vegetables until the edges are slightly charred.
  2. Blend the sauce ingredients together until smooth.
  3. Add the white beans to a large pot and pour the sauce over top. Simmer until it’s thickened to your liking.
  4. Serve the saucy white beans in bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and cashew cream
a zoomed in image of sweet and smoky beans

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Broil on the middle rack of the oven. When broiled on the middle rack, the veggies become nice and tender without charring too quickly.
  • Get it done in just 20 minutes! Whip up this recipe even faster by skipping the broiling altogether and blending the raw veggies and oil with the sauce. The flavor won’t be as complex or nuanced but the raw onion and garlic will still cook out while the beans simmer!
  • If the sauce is splattering on the stove, cover the pot with a splatter screen or cover it loosely with a lid.
  • To make homemade cashew cream, blend 1 cup of soaked cashews with 3/4 cup of water and a pinch of salt until smooth. Pour a drizzle over top of the cooked beans and sauce for a creamy element, then enjoy.

Serving Suggestions

When I can resist eating the braised white beans straight out of the pot, I like to serve them on top of toasted slices of sourdough or use the bread to scoop up every bite. A generous drizzle of homemade cashew cream on top is always welcome when they’re served this way, as it takes the comforting creaminess to another level.

For a more well-rounded meal, serve the beans as a side dish paired with light vegan main dishes, such as these Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Roll Ups and this Roasted Broccoli Quinoa Salad. You can also enjoy them as an unconventional (though hearty) pasta sauce, wrapped in wraps or burritos, or piled on top of roasted sweet potatoes.

The beans are hearty enough to serve as a main dish as well. Just like in these Smoky White Bean Bowls, I recommend serving them over a bed of cooked rice or quinoa or sautéed spinach or kale topped with roasted vegetables.

If you’re looking for more easy recipes starring canned beans, you’ll also love this Dilly White Bean & Cucumber Salad, this Instant Pot Black Bean Soup, and this Mediterranean Chickpea Pasta Salad!

How to Store Saucy White Beans

Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the stewed white beans to an airtight container. The leftovers will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.

Reheat the leftover beans in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through. The sauce may thicken as it cools, so stir in a splash of water or vegetable broth until it has loosened slightly.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Oil-Free: Use the 20-Minute Mode instructions in the Cooking Tips but omit the oil.
  • Vegetable Add-Ins: Stir finely chopped baby kale or spinach into the sauce while it simmers for a boost of nutrition.
sweet and smoky white beans served in a wide plate topped with cashew cream, parsley and toasted slices of sourdough

Recipe FAQs

Can you make this recipe with dry white beans instead?

Yes, you can cook your own beans from scratch if you want. Dry white beans should be soaked overnight and boiled in fresh water the next day until tender (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to add extra salt to the recipe when using dried beans.

Should you use salted or unsalted canned white beans?

You can use either! If your beans are unsalted, simply add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the sauce.

Does this recipe work with chickpeas?

Chickpeas don’t soften as much when they’re simmered in a sauce but you can still use them if you don’t mind a firmer texture.

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊

Sweet & Smoky White Beans

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
These Sweet & Smoky White Beans are simmered in a homemade tomato and roasted red pepper sauce for a comforting side or hearty main dish. Vegan and Gluten-Free, Oil-Free Option.


  • 1 red bell pepper quartered,
  • 1 small red onion quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander optional
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted and diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup filtered water (or use vegetable broth for more flavor)
  • 4 cups cooked white beans; about 3 cans
  • Chopped parsley for ganish (optional)
  • Cashew cream for garnish (optional; see notes)
  • Serving suggestions: rice toasted bread, etc.


  • Prep: Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic to the tray and drizzle with olive oil; massage the oil into the veggies until they are evenly coated. Place the tray in the middle rack of the oven and broil the veggies for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly charred and the onion is cooked.
  • Make the Sauce: Transfer the roasted veggies to a large blender with a venting lid. Add the smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, tomatoes, and water to the blender and blend on high until smooth, 45 to 60 seconds. Set aside.
  • Combine: Rinse the beans and drain well. Add the beans to a large pot or sauté pan and pour the sauce on top; mix well and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Simmer: Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, until the sauce has thickened to your liking. If the sauce starts to splatter I recommend covering the pan with a splatter screen, or loosely covering the pot with the lid.
  • Serve: Remove from the heat and top with fresh parsley and cashew cream, if using. Serve warm, and as desired. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes

  • 20-Minute Option: Skip the broiling and simply add all of the raw veggies and oil to the blender in step two. The flavor of the sauce won’t be as complex, but the raw onion and garlic flavors will still cook out while the beans simmer!
  • Oil-Free: Follow 20-Minute option and omit the oil.
  • Cashew Cream: To make your own cashew cream, blend 1 cup soaked cashews with 3/4 cup water and a pinch of salt together until smooth.


Calories: 1192kcalCarbohydrates: 209gProtein: 63gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gSodium: 3427mgPotassium: 5094mgFiber: 49gSugar: 33gVitamin A: 6421IUVitamin C: 204mgCalcium: 752mgIron: 30mg
Keyword: beans in tomato sauce, oil free beans, smoky beans, smoky beans recipe vegan, tomato beans, vegan white beans, white bean recipe, white beans
Course: Side
Method: Stovetop
Cuisine: American

About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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  1. 5 stars
    I want to thank you for this recipe. It is so delicious and as you accurately described sweet and smoky!. I wasn’t sure how the flavors would come out because their were not, in my opinion, alot of seasonings. So I was not sure about the flavors. Still, I was pleasantly surprised at the burst flavors after I blended everything. My beans are currently simmering on the stove but I did taste the sauce and I give it the Chefs 💋

    1. Hi Jamie! The vegetables are roasted in the oven under the “Broil” setting. If your oven does not have one this usually ranges between 500-550F, so you could try roasting at that temp too

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy to make! I opted to cooking the veggies by pan frying them in order to not have to turn on my oven on and it worked really well! Super flavorful and great accompanied with rice!

  3. 5 stars
    I have made this very tasty soup before and without oil. The veggies brown well in the oven without oil. Then I proceed with the rest of the recipe. No oil needed and it tastes very good. I love your recipes, but I never use oil

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was perfect to use what I have on hand for shelter in place! I had to make some changes to use what I had on hand, but the spice combination is really what makes this dish. I used plain diced tomatoes, no roasted peppers, and used vegetable broth instead of water. I ended up letting it cook in the oven for a bit to get more of a roasted flavor.

    1. Happy to hear you were able to use what you had on hand! Improvising is definitely a required skill right now!

  5. 5 stars
    These were amazing – even my (non-vegan) family loved it!
    Made these with a mix of beans since I only had a can of each and mashed some in the pot just to get a thicker consistency. Besides that, I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks for sharing this!