Peanut Butter Beans

The big success of our family’s summer was getting out on spontaneous camping trips. Before kids, this was easy, but with babies it felt nearly impossible. Now that my kiddos are getting older (almost 4!), it’s once again pretty easy to get out on these last minute trips. When it was over 100 degrees outside, we would head out to the mountains or the beach, and our weekend would be saved.



I’ve talked before about how one of my favorite camping tips is to prep a meal at home and freeze it. That frozen meal acts as a big ice block in your cooler, and you have a meal all prepped and ready to heat at camp. Whenever I make a pot of beans or soup, I’ll freeze it for this reason (if I have enough leftover). These Peanut Butter Beans are in our regular rotation at home and I took a frozen container of them on a trip to our local mountains this summer. Along with some flatbread and a quick salad, they were a satisfying and delicious dinner. The small amount of peanut butter makes these beans surprisingly creamy and savory.


I strongly suggest making these from dried beans, but the recipe includes instructions for making them with canned beans if you’re short on time. If you wanted to make these at camp, I’d suggest cooking them in a dutch oven on your campfire.

This recipe is adapted from a recipe in the fabulous Madhur Jaffrey’s book, World Vegetarian.


Peanut Butter Beans


4 large servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Car Camping


  • 1 1/2 cups dried kidney beans OR 4 cups canned kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • Fork or whisk


  1. Rinse the beans and soak them overnight. Drain and discard the soaking liquid.
  2. Combine the beans and 6 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and cook until the beans are tender. This will take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Add the salt once the beans are tender and set aside. If you’re using canned beans, combine the drained beans with 3 cups of water in a large pot.
  3. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and pepper. Saute until the onions are slightly browned and softened. Add the cumin and stir until fragrant. Next add the tomato sauce, cayenne, lemon juice and 1/2 cup water. Stir and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the peanut butter and about 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid from the beans in a small bowl. Stir with a fork or whisk until the peanut butter is dissolved.
  5. Add the peanut butter mixture and the tomato sauce mixture into the pot of beans. Stir and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve!

One thought on “Peanut Butter Beans

  1. This was great. I chose the recipe because I have a kid that loves peanut butter but hates beans. I thought I’d give it a try. He loved it. Although it didn’t have the flavor I was expecting. I thought it would taste like peanut butter, but instead it was just smooth and creamy in texture. Very delicious.

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