Northern African flavours transforming your midweek meal

You’ll fall in love with spicy sausages in butterbean stew with zhug, it’s a soul-warming dish.

  • SERVES: 4-6
  • PREP TIME: 10 mins
  • COOKING TIME: 40 mins
  • DIFFICULTY: easy
  • IDEAL FOR: midweek meal, easy meal, crowd-pleaser
  • BUDGET: £

Spicy sausages in butterbean stew with zhug

This recipe calls for merguez sausages.

And if I’m honest, I didn’t know a lot about them.

But I can tell you they’re very tasty.

And with the Zhug, it’s a really flavourful one-pot dish.

But I would quickly say, that I’ve made this with spicy sausages from my local butcher.

And made a version with no Zhug… so don’t get too caught up in thinking you need the exact ingredients to enjoy this recipe.

However, here’s the down low on some of the ingredients.

What are merguez sausages

It’s a long, thin traditional hot and spiced lamb sausage.

Which originates from the Middle East and North Africa.

And you will find it in a lot of the cooking of Northern Africa—including Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

It’s a spicy lamb sausage spiked with cumin, chilli pepper or harissa, garlic, sumac, and fennel.

The Maghreb region, which includes Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, is home to a large Muslim population.

Because eating pork is prohibited under Islamic law, merguez sausages are made without any pork.

Merguez is spicy with a slight sweetness of the spice mix along with the citrusy flavour of the harissa.

Spicy sausages in butterbean stew with zhug

Merguez substitutes

If you can’t find merguez sausages, don’t fret.

Just sub in chorizo or any other spicy sausage.

Or failing that, any sausage you like.

Merguez varieties

You have, merguez…

  • kibda bi’l-liyya is made with mutton liver and mutton fat, along with harissa, salt, and a Tunisian and Algerian spice mix, tabil.
  • baqri is made from finely ground veal along with harissa, tabil, aniseed, and preserved lemon and then dried in the sun.
  • dawwara is sun-dried sausage prepared with the organ meats of veal, including the liver, kidneys, tripe, heart and lung.
  • sayim is made with mutton and mutton fat and seasoned with rose petals, along with harissa, cinnamon, salt and pepper. 


I’ve never heard of this sauce but I’m glad I’ve found it.

Zhug, zhoog, sklug, zhoug, s’hug (pronounced ‘zoog), is a bright, spicy cilantro sauce that originated in Yemen.

So, if you like chilli-pepper heat, cilantro, and pesto, chances are, you’ll love this.

There are variations, I guess a bit like a salsa verde.

So, it can be a red or green sauce.

And it may have mint, jalapeno, parsley or fenugreek in it.

Zhug, is the Hebrew word for the sauce.

The beauty of this sauce, you can pretty much enjoy it with everything, from veggies to meat to bread.

So, give it a go.

And if you don’t have all these ingredients, try a simple version of a salsa verde.


Recipe: Bold Beans

The Spruce Eats

Spicy sausages in butterbean stew with zhug

Course Main Course
Keyword easy recipe, lamb stew, merguez sausages, midweek meal, sausage stew, sausages
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Cost £


  • 4 merguez sausages (or chorizo or any spicy sausage)
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tbsp Harissa paste
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 50 g black olives, halved
  • 250 ml beef stock
  • 400 g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 700 g Bold Bean Co Organic butterbeans (or 2 x 400g tins, such as haricot, or cannellini) Bold Beans are more expensive but i do like them so worth it.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 red onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated

Zhug (optinal to make)

  • handful of parsley, roughly chopped
  • handful of coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar


  • Preheat your oven to 180℃.
    Brown your sausages in an oven-safe pan with a splash of oil on high (you don't have to cook them through) Remove them from the pan and either leave whole or cut into chunks – set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium and in the same pan, add the onion, with a knob of butter. Once softened, add the garlic and chilli and cook for a minute or two, until fragrant.
    Now add the paprika, harissa, and tomato paste and cook until it begins to darken.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and tinned tomatoes with the stock. Stir and add the olives, white beans and season with salt and pepper.
    Place the sausages back into the pan and in the oven for 30 mins (or until the sausages are cooked through).


  • Add parsley, coriander, chilli, cumin, ground coriander, lemon juice, and red wine vinegar to a food processor and pulse until everything is smooth, then add olive oil to taste.
    Taste for seasoning, then set aside.
    When your sausages are cooked, remove your pan from the oven. Drizzle over your zhug, then serve with crusty bread and lemon wedges.


Recipe: Bold Beans