White Bean Mash (vegan option)

‘Why would you bother?’ I hear you ask…’nothing is cheaper than a potato! Just make proper mash!’

Valid point. However if you don’t happen to have any potatoes and there is a meal you’re keen to have that simply wont be the same without it, i’d argue that having to go (especially if driving) and hunt some down somewhere would be less cost effective in time terms as a minimum, than using some tinned white beans or previously cooked from dried ones stashed in the freezer. There’s also little energy costs in reheating a few beans!

This is a Nigella Lawson recipe and she uses olive oil rather than any dairy products and adds flavourings that could pair very well with a Mediterranean stew of some description. If you prefer something a little more ‘traditional’ and creamier you could use a butter of your choice and a splash of milk of choice in place of some of the olive oil. Also the herbs could be varied-thyme would be nice or (cook in the same way as the rosemary) or just add a handful of chopped soft herbs such as chives or parsley at the end.

If given a choice i’d probably use cannelini beans. They mush up easier than butter beans (which also have a thicker skin) and have a fluffy texture. Fundamentally though, if it was all that was keeping me from a sausage and mash tea i’d happily use any!

Approx serves 4 depending on what you serve it with 

  • 60 millilitres olive oil (plus 2 teaspoons)
  • most of 1 clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)
  • grated zest 1 lemon
  • 3 x 400 grams cans of white beans (cannelini, haricot or butter bean)
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)


  1. Put the 60ml / ¼ cup of olive oil in a saucepan, and mix in the garlic. Add the whole rosemary sprig, if using, and the lemon zest and warm through.
  2. Remove the rosemary, but do not throw away.
  3. Drain the beans and rinse under a tap to get rid of the gloop and then add to the pan and warm through, stirring and squishing with a wide, flat spoon so that the beans go into a nobbly mush. Season to taste; some beans come saltier than others.
  4. Serve the bean mash adorned with the reserved rosemary sprig.