White Bean Salad with Celery and Olives

We create lots of salads with cannellini beans — they’re ultra-creamy and marry well with a variety of flavors. In summer we toss juicy, sweet tomato chunks and fresh basil into the mix. This wintery version features the citrus, crunchy celery and peppery arugula. Let the produce of the season guide this versatile dish in one delicious way or another. You can’t go wrong. Continue reading

Classic Minestrone

This is nothing more comforting on a rainy, mid-February Monday than a bowl of steamy Minestrone. It’s the vegetarian’s chicken soup.

From the cook’s perspective this soup is made for a kitchen clean-out. You can vary the ingredient list depending on what you fine languishing in the crisper: kale, cabbage, chard, parsnips, turnips, celery root — you name it, practically anything will land happily in the pot.

Continue reading

White Beans and Collard Greens

This recipe traces roots in many directions: the Boston-style baked beans of my youth (who knows how that got imbedded in my mid-western heritage); Southern slow-braised greens and black-eyed peas; and spicy Indian stews are among the inspirational muses. The sauce has a mildly spicy, sweet-sour tang that permeates the creamy beans. Collards are the perfect leaf for this dish since their substance loves a slow braise — they don’t go all mushy on you, but hold their character even as they become tender.

Continue reading

White Bean Spread with Leeks

This is a favorite in our household (especially with the head cook when she’s had a hectic day and needs a truly simple menu). We often enjoy this spread on toasted crusty bread accompanied by a bowl of hot soup.


  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large leek (2 medium), white and lightest green parts, carefully rinsed to remove any grit, and thinly sliced cross-wise
  • 3-4 generous cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans white beans, well rinsed and drained
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste


  1. Warm oil in a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat. Add leek and garlic and sauté until leek is very soft (about 5 minutes). Stir frequently to prevent the leek from turning brown or crisp.
  2. Add beans and about ¼ cup (or more) water. Stir and simmer gently over low heat until beans become soft and a bit squishy. Add some salt and pepper to taste after about 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from heat and mash the beans with a wooden spoon until partially smooth, or use a handheld immersion blender and partially blend. Leave some beans whole or partially intact so the spread has texture.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice on top, to taste and stir to mix. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

Panzanella (Italian Bread and Tomato Salad)

This salad is full of robust flavor and texture—built from the seasonal bounty of summer.  There is ample opportunity to improvise, too. Try adding or substituting any of the following: roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, celery, fennel, fresh herbs like parsley or chives, arugula, green beans, garbanzo beans, feta or fresh mozzarella cubes. Use your imagination—fueled by pantry, fridge and garden surplus.

Continue reading