Today we are making Loubia, a Moroccan dish made with stewed white beans, tomato, onions, garlic, herbs, and a blend of warm spices. This easy to make but super satisfying vegan recipe is a popular main dish and entree across North Africa and the Middle East.
I grew up using dried beans when cooking this dish, but I'm using canned beans in this recipe to cut the cook time in half. Keep reading for instructions on how to make Loubia with both dried and canned beans.
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If you're familiar with Moroccan cuisine, you know how important beans are in our culture.
This affordable, accessible ingredient that is often considered humble, is anything but when stewed with Moroccan herbs and spices.
I grew up eating many variations of Loubia, prepared by my dad, grandma, and aunts. One of my dad's favorite ways to prepare them was slow cooked in a tagine with cow's feet.
Today we aren't using any meat, but this dish is still loaded with protein and flavor, and makes the perfect cozy meal with a crusty slice of your favorite bread.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this recipe:
- olive oil
- yellow onion, grated
- tomatoes, grated
- garlic, minced
- Cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- parsley, minced
- cilantro, minced
- tomato paste
See recipe card for quantities.
Tip: If using dried Cannellini beans: use 1 lb (about 2 cups) and soak overnight before draining. Stew as instructed for about 1 hour, or until they are fully cooked, adding water if necessary.
Sauté veggies. Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to turn translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant before tossing in grated tomatoes and spices. Sauté for a few minutes, or until the seasonings begin to bloom.
Add herbs, beans, tomato paste and water. Add the parsley, cilantro, beans (see note if using dried beans), tomato paste, and water, bring everything to a boil before lowering to a simmer and covering.
Stew for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Taste & serve. Taste to see if it needs any additional seasoning. Serve with bread and a sprinkle of fresh parsley & cilantro.
Dried vs. Canned Cannellini Beans
As mentioned above, the traditional Moroccan recipe I learned from my dad used dry Cannellini beans.
That said, using canned beans cuts both the prep and cook time significantly, making the dish come together in half the time.
Here are my tips for each kind of bean:
- Canned Cannellini Beans: drain and rinse the beans before stewing for 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Dried Cannellini Beans: add the beans to a bowl and cover with water, soak overnight before draining and using. Stew for at least 1 hour, or until fully cooked, adding water to the pot if things start to dry out.
Make sure not to overcook the Loubia if using canned beans, as they do fall apart faster than dried ones.
Here are some fun ways to add a little something extra to your Loubia:
- Lemon - add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to finish the dish, or add a teaspoon of minced preserved lemon to the pot with the herbs for a zesty touch of citrus.
- Harissa - add a dash of harissa to the pot with the beans to add a bit of Moroccan heat.
- Add meat - serve this dish with a seared steak, fillet of salmon, or add your favorite meat with the onions and make this recipe your own!
What to Eat it With
It wouldn't be a true Moroccan savory dish if we weren't talking about sides, salads, and bread to accompany it!
Here are some of my favorite traditional Moroccan recipes to enjoy with this recipe:
The only tool I find necessary in making this recipe is a good quality dutch oven or soup pot.
I love having leftovers of this dish, especially during the cold winter months. They should keep well in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Reheat individual portions in a small pot on the stovetop or in the microwave.