A black cast iron pot next to a bowl of Beans Marbella

Beans Marbella

Inspired by a Beans Marbella recipe in The New York Times, this vegetarian take on the classic Chicken Marbella combines sweet California prunes, briny ripe green olives, red wine, marinated bell pepper and creamy white beans–all produced in the Golden State.

Person holding a bowl full of Beans Marbella

What is Beans Marbella?

Beans Marbella is a vegetarian riff on the classic dish, Chicken Marbella. Like the original recipe, it is cooked with wine, olives and prunes – giving the dish a very distinctive and appealing flavor.

Why is it called Chicken (or Beans) Marbella?

Despite the name, Chicken Marbella is NOT from Marbella, Spain. The recipe was created in the late 1970s in New York, and was first published in The Silver Palate cookbook! So why the name Chicken Marbella? Marbella is a coastal town in southern Spain, and the creator of the recipe was inspired by Spanish and North African cuisine.

What is The Silver Palate?

Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso started a wildly successful gourmet take out shop on the Upper East Side called The Silver Palate. During the 70s and 80s, people were obsessed with Julia Child and French cuisine. The Silver Palate introduced their customers to various internationally-inspired ingredients and recipes. In 1982, they published The Silver Palate Cookbook – and the recipe for Chicken Marbella became a staple at chic dinner parties and fine dining restaurants across the Nation.

a black pot full of Beans Marbella with a bowl of the dish in front of it
a pot full of Beans Marbella - a vegetarian take on Chicken Marbella

What does Beans Marbella taste like?

This dish checks all the right boxes. Creamy Marcella beans (if you can get your hands on the Rancho Gordo cult favorite), sweet prunes, briny olives, tangy garlic and capers are cooked in a wine and olive oil broth. The flavors meld together to create a dish that is perfectly balanced, and utterly irresistible.

We used Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans to make Beans marbella, but you can use any white bean

What type of beans are best for Beans Marbella?

We highly recommend ordering a bag (or two!) of Rancho Gordo‘s Marcella Beans. This heirloom Italian variety was named after Marcella Hazan, a famous Italian chef and cookbook author. They’re thin-skinned and incredibly creamy.

If you can’t get your hands on a bag of Marcella beans, you can use Cannellini or Great Northern beans.

a black pot with a bowl of Beans Marbella

Beans Marbella

James Collier
Inspired by a Beans Marbella recipe in The New York Times, this vegetarian take on the classic Chicken Marbella combines sweet California prunes, briny ripe green olives, red wine, marinated bell pepper and creamy white beans–all produced in the Golden State.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Servings 10 servings
Calories 218 kcal


  • 1 lb dried white beans Rancho Gordo Marcella, cannellini, great Northerns
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup divided, plus 4 TBSP, divided, California extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 orange or red bell pepper
  • 1 large shallot diced
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 TBSP chopped capers
  • 2 TBSP roughly chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cup dry California red wine
  • ½ cup halved California green olives
  • ½ cup roughly chopped California prunes
  • Sourdough or country loaf for serving


  • Rinse and drain the beans. Cover them with water in a large pot or Dutch oven, season heavily with salt, then stir in the oregano, bay leaves, and ¼ cup (60ml) of the olive oil. Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until very tender, 1.5 – 2 hours.
  • While the beans cook, prep the marinated vegetables. In a small bowl, combine the sliced bell pepper, shallot, capers, chopped parsley, and red wine vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Set aside.
    ingredients needed to make Bean Marbella
  • Once the beans are tender, heat another 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a separate pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the oil until fragrant and starting to color, then stir in the red wine. Simmer 5-10 minutes, until the wine has reduced by half. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beans to the pot with the reduced wine, then add in two cups of the bean broth. Next, stir in the olives, prunes, and the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) of olive oil. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the flavors blend together and the sauce starts to thicken.
    We used Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans to make Beans marbella, but you can use any white bean
  • Season the beans again with salt and black pepper, as needed. Serve in bowls with a garnish of the marinated peppers, a drizzle of olive oil, and a slice of hearty sourdough or country bread!
    Person holding a bowl full of Beans Marbella



Once you’ve tried our Beans Marbella recipe, you’ll definitely be hungry for more! We also love this Beans Marbella from our friends at CA GROWN. For an easier weeknight take, try Sheet Pan Chicken Marbella from This Mess is Ours.


Calories: 218kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 11gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0.04mgSodium: 167mgPotassium: 960mgFiber: 8gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 543IUVitamin C: 17mgCalcium: 130mgIron: 5mg
Keyword baked beans, james collier, marbella, marcella beans, rancho gordo, Vegetarian
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You tried our Beans Marbella…and now you’re obsessed?

We’re sure you’re going to fall in love with this vegetarian take- so we’re sharing all of our favorite riffs on the classic recipe.

California Grown's recipe for Beans Marbella in a white bowl topped with roasted potatoes

California Grown’s Beans Marbella

Our friends at California Grown describe this recipe as “hearty, rich, and soul-satisfying”. They’re not wrong. Their take on Beans Marbella is topped with roasted fingerling potatoes and a tangy olive oil, vinegar and herb drizzle. Yum!

Three plates of Sheet pan Chicken Marbella from This Mess is Ours with two glasses of white wine

Sheet Pan Chicken Marbella

All the flavors of the classic Chicken Marbella recipe in a fraction of the time. We’re absolutely obsessed with this recipe from our friend Meg at This Mess is Ours.

a plate full of Chicken Marbella from the New York Times, recipe from Silver Palate Cookbook

The Silver Palate’s Chicken Marbella

The New York Times shared the recipe that started it all – the classic Chicken Marbella recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook. Prepare to be obsessed.

Looking for more delicious vegetarian recipes?

If you loved this dreamy bean stew, then you should definitely try these vegetarian recipes!

three flatbreads with Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, California Prune, and Thyme

Flatbread with Caramelized Onions, Mozzarella and Prunes

Sweet caramelized onions and gooey mozzarella pair beautifully with the earthy, rich flavor of California prunes in this fabulous flatbread recipe.

a white plate with Pan Roasted Cauliflower with chickpeas next to a cutting board with chopped prunes

Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas and Prunes

If you’re Iooking to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, then try this savory veggie + quinoa dish by Michelle Dudash, RDN.

If you tried this recipe, then let us know! Or, maybe you’ve got a favorite recipe using California Prunes that you’d like to share with us? Snap a pic and share it on social using #caprunes.

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