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Baked fiery Nduja butterbeans with Gremlinata

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

This is a seriously simple but effective weeknight dinner, perfect with a rocket salad and some lemon juice. The sauce around the butterbeans can be pulled together whenever you have a spare ten minutes in the day and then you can bung everything in the oven whenever suits. I like to make the sauce and then leave it to sit for the flavours to mingle, so it’s a good lunchbreak task. If you have any leftover sauce, it’s great to dip things in: arancini, fish fingers, chips, Doritos…

This is also delicious the next day hashed in a frying pan with a cracked egg and some chilli flakes on top for a true WfH lunch.

“Gremlinata” is simply a slapdash gremolata (traditionally with breadcrumbs, garlic and lemon zest) that I pulled together when I had spare toasted almonds from a Roast Chicken, Lemon Risotto and Posh Salad. It takes three seconds in a blender or food processor. You can also use breadcrumbs for the non-gremlin variety, of course.

I had a packet of nduja lying around for ages and was looking for ways to use it. If you don’t have nduja, you can substitute this for finely chopped and sautéed chorizo, chorizo peeled from its skin, chilli flakes, fresh chilli or sundried tomatoes. I also add tabasco as I like spice to bash me around the head, but feel free to leave this out for more subtlety.


  • A can of butterbeans, drained

  • 50g nduja (or see alternatives above and adjust as appropriate – 50g of chilli would be a lot, even for me)

  • Half a can of chopped tomatoes (or the whole can if you’re a fan)

  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • Half a finely chopped onion or shallot

  • Paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, tabasco (if using)

  • Toasted almonds if gremlin, breadcrumbs if not

  • The zest of one lemon

  1. In a medium saucepan, sauté the onion or shallot until translucent, then add two cloves of garlic. Season with paprika.

  2. Tip in the nduja or substitute, and give it a good stir to dissolve the meat. Add the chopped tomatoes and season to taste. Slug in the tabasco here if your tastebuds are like mine. Add water if you want this to be saucier.

  3. Let this all mingle for as long as you like. 10 mins can suffice – I like to simmer this for 15 minutes and then let it sit until I need to use it.

  4. Pre-heat the oven to around 200 degrees Celsius (180 fan).

  5. Blitz the other two cloves of garlic, lemon zest and toasted almonds if using. If using breadcrumbs, quickly toast them in a frying pan and blitz these with the garlic and zest.

  6. Tip the butterbeans into the sauce and stir everything to coat them.

  7. Pour the butterbeans and their sauce into a small baking dish, sprinkle with the gremlinata and bake for around 15 minutes, or until the gremlinata looks golden and crunchy.

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