Great Northern Beans with Rice

This was my father’s favourite dish, so it was cooked quite often in our house.

The best thing about these beans is that they are wonderful hot or cold.

My father’s favourite version was the hot one with rice where as my mother and I preferred the cold version with a squeeze of lemon juice on top.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 500g great northern beans (also known as baked beans, white beans or navy beans)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut thinly into 1/2 circles
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped


  1. Place beans in a large bowl, cover with cold water and soak for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain the beans, place them into a saucepan, cover with water and bring to boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold running water and leave aside to drain.
  3. Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan. Add onions and cook for a few minutes, until onions are transparent but not brown.
  4. Add beans, carrots, garlic, sugar and water. Bring to boil.
  5. Stir in tomato paste, salt and pepper, reduce heat and simmer gently until beans are tender and most of the water is absorbed. This would take about 45 minutes. The beans should not be crunchy and the consistency about the same as baked beans.
  6. Serve the beans on a bed of rice with chopped parsley on top.