Borlotti bean stew with carrot top pesto

  • Prep time 10 mins
  • Cook time 15 mins
  • Serves 4
borlotti bean stew


For the borlotti bean stew

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed in their skins
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 carrots with tops (carrots finely diced, tops to be kept for the pesto)
  • 200g tomatoes, cut into 1-2 cm pieces (or 200g of tinned tomatoes in winter)
  • 1 tbsp vinegar (red wine, cider or other)
  • 240g cooked borlotti beans, plus the cooking liquid (alternatively, any cooked or canned beans will work)

For the pesto

  • 25g carrot tops, well cleaned, finely chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 25g basil, parsley or oregano
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts or breadcrumbs toasted
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan or nutritional yeast
  • 110ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Bread to serve, optional
  • To serve: breadcrumbs, lemon zest, chopped herbs, olive oil

Recipe developed by eco-chef Tom Hunt

I’m a lover of legumes for all the nutrients they provide to us and the soil. Cooking your own beans, pulses or grains from scratch is one of the easiest, rewarding, cost effective, and nutritious things that you can do for yourself and for your diet. I soak and batch-cook several varieties on a lazy Sunday, creating a fridge full of ready-to-go ingredients that can be converted into meals in minutes.

Carrot top pesto boosts the flavour of this recipe whilst saving waste. Keep carrot tops fresh by removing them from the bunch of carrots and storing them upright in a jar of water like a bunch of flowers, or, in the fridge sealed in a container or wrapped in a plastic bag with a piece of paper or a cloth to absorb excess moisture.


Borlotti bean stew

  1. Heat a heavy based pan with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over a medium-low heat.
  2. Add the garlic cloves, sprig of rosemary, bay leaf and carrots – gently sauté for five minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and vinegar and bring to the boil.
  4. Add the cooked beans with 150ml of cooking liquid.
  5. Bring to the boil with a lid on top and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid begins to thicken.
  7. Season and serve topped with the pesto and carrot tops.


  1. Add the carrot tops, basil (or other herbs), garlic, pine nuts or breadcrumbs, parmesan or nutritional yeast and 110ml of olive oil, to a food processor.
  2. Blend until you have a rough but even texture.
  3. Use immediately or store in a clean, sealed jar in the fridge for up to a week.