Afghan Lubya (Kidney Bean Curry)

Lubya, also known as Afghan kidney bean curry, is a traditional vegan recipe. You can have a flavorful and hearty plant-based dinner using a few ingredients in only 30 minutes! Serve over rice, or enjoy as a hearty stew that is also gluten-free!

Garnished lubya in a cast iron skillet with a wooden spoon in it.

Afghan kidney bean curry, also known as lubya, is a popular dish from Afghanistan made with kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, and a blend of aromatic spices. This simple dish is hearty and bursting with flavor.

The flavor of Afghan kidney bean curry is soft and warm. The combination of aromatic seasonings of cumin, coriander, and garlic gives the dish a warm and earthy flavor.

The tomato base adds a tangy and slightly sweet element to the dish, while the kidney beans provide a hearty and satisfying texture. I recommend serving with rice and garnishing with cilantro, green onions, and lime. Yogurt is also a popular garnish.

I love that lubya is vegan, plant-based, and gluten-free! Which allows me to make a large batch for my family and meet every dietary preference!

Ingredients

  • Red Kidney Beans – These are the heart of this recipe. I prefer to use canned kidney beans for convenience. However, you can also use dried.
  • Tomatoes – I use canned tomatoes. They are easy, convenient, and always in my pantry. However, you can substitute fresh tomatoes at a 1:1 ratio. You will need to cook them longer to break them down.
  • Onion—Red onion has a strong flavor that enhances this dish. Substitutions include white or yellow onions.
  • Garlic—Minced garlic brings out the best flavor in this recipe. In a pinch, you can substitute garlic paste or even garlic salt. Instead of a 1:1 ratio, I recommend using a smaller quantity and seasoning to taste.
  • Coriander and Cumin – provide seasoning and flavor.
Lubya in a skillet with yogurt.

Step by Step Instructions

Step One: Bloom the Spices

Warm a tablespoon of oil over low-medium heat in a heavy bottom pot. Stir in coriander, cumin, and a pinch of salt—Cook for one minute. The spices should bloom and become aromatic.

Spices bloomed.

Step Two: Cook Tomatoes

Add the canned tomatoes and their juices to the spices. Cook until the tomatoes have softened, about seven minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Tomatoes and spices simmering.

Step Three: Saute Onions and Garlic

Warm the other tablespoon of oil using the same skillet over low to medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes. Limit stirring the onions so that they caramelize. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Onions sautéed in the same pan as the tomatoes.

Step Four: Combine Ingredients

Add the vegetable broth, blended tomatoes, and kidney beans to the sauteed onion mix. Mix well. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to the desired taste.

All ingredients combined.

Step Five: Cook Rice

Cook brown rice or white rice according to the directions in the package.

Step Six: Assemble and Garnish

Scoop a serving of rice into a plate or bowl. Top with curry. Garnish as desired.

Hand dipping nann into lubya.

Additions and Variations

Indian Curry-ish – This recipe can be modified with classic Indian seasonings. Do this by adding two teaspoons of garam masala and one teaspoon of paprika when blooming the coriander and cumin. I also recommend topping each bowl with fresh ginger.

Garbanzo Beans – Out of kidney beans? No problem; garbanzo beans work well with this recipe.

Spicy – Add jalapeno or Aleppo pepper to spice this dish up a notch.

Coconut Milk – Substitute half of the vegetable broth with half a can of full-fat coconut milk for a rich and creamy curry.

FAQs

What can I serve with Lubya?

Lubya is simple, and I prefer to serve it with an easy side salad and bread.

Storage Instructions

Refrigerator instructions – Let the curry cool to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Freezer instructions: Transfer the curry to room temperature in an airtight container or freezer bag. Lubya can be stored this way for up to three months. Transfer the container to the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to thaw. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove or the microwave, occasionally stirring. Add a splash of water or broth to loosen up the curry if needed.

Lubya in a skillet with garnishes.

Afghan Kidney Bean Curry (Lubya)

A flavorful vegan Afghan curry made with kidney beans and a simmered tomato sauce. This curry is mild, soft, and buttery.
5 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: afghan
Servings: 6 people
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Equipment

  • Medium-heavy bottom pot
  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided into 2
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (8g)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin (2g)
  • 1 15 ounce canned diced tomatoes (28g)
  • 1 medium onion, red, yellow, or white (110g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15 ounce canned kidney beans (57g) drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (235g)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup basmati rice (185g)

Instructions

Lubya

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a deep skillet over low-medium heat.
  • Add the coriander, cumin, and salt to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and their juices to the skillet and cook until softened and easily split with a spatula, about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent the tomatoes from burning.
  • Transfer the tomato mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet over low-medium heat.
  • Add the onion to the skillet and cook until softened and caramelized, about 7 minutes.
  • Add the garlic to the skillet and cook for 1 additional minute.
  • Add the blended tomato sauce, kidney beans, broth, salt, and pepper to the skillet.
  • Simmer uncovered over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the beans are heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Basmati Rice

  • Cook the rice according to the package directions.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

How to make ahead, store, and freeze Afghan kidney bean curry
Make-Ahead instructions– You can make this dish up to three days ahead. It tastes better on day two. I recommend storing the rice and garnishes separately.
Refrigerator instructions – Let the curry cool to room temperature and transfer it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer instructions: Transfer the curry to room temperature in an airtight container or freezer bag. Lubya can be stored this way for up to three months. To thaw, transfer the container to the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove or the microwave, occasionally stirring. Add a splash of water or broth to loosen up the curry if needed.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Afghan Kidney Bean Curry (Lubya)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
165
Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
5
g
8
%
Sodium
 
161
mg
7
%
Carbohydrates
 
27
g
9
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
3
g
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Love a good bean curry and this looks wholesome and hearty. Lovely to get an Afghan recipe. I’ve not read that book, but I loved The Kite Runner.

    1. Thank you Choclette. I highly recommend A Thousand Splendid Suns. I have read it three times now. Khaled Hosseini is a beautiful writer.

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