Prebranac is a traditional Serbian baked beans stew cooked with caramelised onions and loads of paprika. It's a naturally vegan recipe that's perfect for a high-protein lunch or light dinner and pairs great with a chunk of crusty bread.
If you've been on Vegan Cocotte before, you've probably noticed how much I love beans.
I have dozens of recipes with beans on the blog, and I'm always on the hunt for the next recipe featuring these small balls of goodness.
Prebranac is a recipe that I've loved from the first bite. It's a rich and comforting Serbian baked beans recipe made with just a handful of ingredients.
While beans are obviously the star of the show, onions are almost equally as important in prebranac.
That's because this is technically a recipe for baked beans with caramelised onions, and it tastes as delicious as it sounds.
Prebranac is traditionally made with beans cooked from scratch, but you can definitely cut some corners and used canned beans instead.
This way, you can have these amazing Serbian baked beans on the table in just over an hour.
Why you'll love prebranac
- It's a slow-cooked delight that's also very good for you.
- It's naturally vegan and perfect for lunch or a light dinner.
- Prebranac tastes even better the next days because the flavours have more time to set, so it's a great recipe for meal prep.
Ingredients and substitutions
Olive oil — You'll need about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil to caramelise the onions for prebranac. Sunflower oil also works here.
Onions — You'll need about 6 medium onions for this recipe. That's the equivalent of 600 g (1 ½ lb). You can slice or dice them — I personally prefer them sliced.
Garlic — Freshly chopped garlic is a must for prebranac.
Butter beans — If using canned beans, drain and rinse them before adding them to the pot.
For dried beans, you'll need to presoak and cook them separately until tender before using them in prebranac.
This recipe can also be made with other types of white beans, too.
How to make prebranac
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep pan (preferably oven-proof) and add the onions. Cook over low-medium heat for 15 minutes or until the onions are slightly caramelised. Stir the onions occasionally and add a splash of water if needed.
While the onion is cooking, preheat the oven to 200 °C (390 °F).
Next, add the butter beans and stir to combine.
Cover the beans with water, give it a good stir and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the beans are golden-brown on the top.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the dish to cool slightly before serving.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- It's best to reheat them in the microwave or in the oven.
- You can freeze prebranac for up to 3 months in a fridge-friendly container. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
Recipe notes and tips
- Sprinkle some freshly chopped parsley on the beans before serving.
- Make sure you check the beans a couple of times while they're in the oven. Add a splash of hot water if it looks like it's too dry.
- You can add some tomato sauce or tomato paste if you like.
If you liked this prebranac recipe, you might also like some of my other easy vegan recipes with beans:
- Easy Three Bean Soup
- Adzuki Beans Soup with Pearl Barley and Kale
- Easy Pinto Bean Soup
- Fava Bean Chickpea Salad
- Fasolada (Greek Bean Soup)