Bean Curry (Lubya Afghan Curry)

by | Nov 18, 2022

Time to cozy up to the most delicious Afghan style curry known as Lubya! This bean curry includes kidney beans or other beans of your choice as the star! It takes only 30 minutes to make and requires just one pan. Plus, it’s packed with satiating fiber and plant-based protein.

Kidney beans and black beans in a curry stew

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This post was first published on October 18, 2021. It was updated on November 18, 2022.

What is Lubya?

In light of the recent events going on in Afghanistan, we were inspired to do some further research into Afghan cuisine. For us, food feels like a common point of connection and perhaps can allow for common ground with someone met from this background. 

During my research and education, I came across Lubya, also sometimes referred to as Lubia or Lobia. It’s a type of curry filled with fresh spices, tomatoes, and beans.

After rounds of recipe testing, we perfected this recipe which is absolutely delicious and has become a weekly staple in our household. If you’re in need of an easy and cozy kidney bean recipe, give this curry a try!

How can I support Afghanistan? 

Although cooking this Lubya curry may not have a direct impact, food always seems to be a common piece of joy to connect over. 

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help Afghanistan and refugees, here are a few ways you can take action. We would also urge you to do more research on your own to see if you are aligned with other types of resources!

Grabbing a spoonful of Lubya

What beans are used for this bean curry? 

Red kidney beans are traditional to Lubya but with Cheerful Choices being all about customizable recipes, you can customize this one too. Try using any beans of your choice like…

  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas)
  • Pinto beans

Since it calls for 2 cans of beans, you could even mix and match with two different types of beans. My favorite combination is one can of red kidney beans and one can of black beans as pictured. 

Is bean curry healthy?

Absolutely! Beans are a great addition to your diet because they are high in soluble fiber and plant-based protein. Among many other benefits, research shows that soluble fiber may help decrease fat around the waist. This bean curry is also filled with 12 grams of protein per serving, allowing us to feel fuller longer.

This curry is brimming with tons of spices and aromatics which pack in bright flavor without added calories. If you’re watching your sodium intake, feel free to swap the beans and broth with their low-sodium versions. 

If you’re craving more of a coconut milk curry, check out this other curry recipe.

How do you make Lubya?

This recipe is super simple to make–let’s break it down.

1. First, toast your spices.

This step is optional but we find it adds more flavor. To toast whole spices, add them to a dry pan and heat until they are slightly golden and start smelling aromatic. Then transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind until broken down.

If you don’t have whole spices or the tools to break down whole spices–no worries. Just throw in the same amount of the ground spice later on. For example, when the recipe calls for “1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds”, you can swap for 1 tablespoon ground coriander.

2. Then, caramelize your onion.

Breaking down the onions like this will add a sweet flavor that’s perfect in this curry. Feel free to use a red, yellow, or white onion.

3. Next, add your tomatoes.

To make things simple, we’re using a can of diced tomatoes but you can also chop up whole tomatoes. If you’re chopping it yourself, aim to add about 2 cups of tomatoes.

4. Finally, add over your beans.

You can use red kidney beans (which are traditional to this Afghan curry) or another type of bean. It’s totally customizable! Feel free to swap for another type of bean such as black beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, or a mixture. We are using 2 cans of beans, which would be around 3 cups of cooked beans.

What should I serve with this bean curry? 

Try serving this bean curry over basmati rice or naan bread. You can even make Lavash, an Afghan/Middle Eastern bread, to serve it with. We also love adding over a dollop of plain yogurt for some extra tanginess. If you’re wanting to add in extra veggies, try serving with a mixed green salad, steamed broccoli, or air fried green beans.

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Bean curry in a large white bowl
Bean Curry (Lubya Afghan Curry)

Bean Curry (Lubya Afghan Curry)

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This bean curry includes kidney beans or other beans of your choice as the star! Packed with toasted spices, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.


  • 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds (*see note if you don’t have whole spices)
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion of your choice, diced (red, yellow, or white)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1-inch knob of ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 - 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 - 15 ounce cans beans of your choice, drained and rinsed (Red kidney beans are traditional to this Afghan curry but you could use another type of bean such as black beans, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, or a mixture)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Naan bread and/or basmati rice, to serve


  1. Add spices to a large pan and toast over medium heat until slightly browned and aromatic, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind until finely ground. Set aside for later. 
  2. To same pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until caramelized, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add garlic and ginger and stir until onions are coated.
  4. Add over diced tomatoes as well as spices: ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Stir to combine and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add over beans and broth and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer then reduce to low heat. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with naan bread and/or basmati rice.
  7. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.


*A note on whole spices: If you don’t have whole coriander or cumin seeds, feel free to skip step #1 and use the same amount of ground coriander and cumin later on in step #4.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 260Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 770mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 10gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g

Did you make this recipe?

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Want more Afghan cuisine inspo? Try these other recipes:

save this kidney bean curry recipe on pinterest:

Quick & cozy bean curry placed on a grey towel

Hi, I'm Mackenzie...

nice to meet you!

I’m a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and recipe developer. I create simple recipes with customizable ingredients “of your choice.” I also help busy people gain kitchen confidence through my hands-on program.

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In my coaching + cooking program, I help busy people with beginner cooking knowledge become confident in the kitchen. Click here to learn more about this virtual program with a dietitian.

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