White Beans with Lemon and Greens

We adore white cannellini beans — a mild, creamy-soft source of delicious, low-fat protein. They pair nicely with lemon and any green leaf.  This dish works in its chunky form — or you can chop the greens finely and mash the beans as they cook, for a smoother spread. A super quick turn with the immersion blender does the job.

Serves 6


  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  •  One large leek (white and light green parts) or small onion, well rinsed and finely chopped
  • One pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups chopped spinach or arugula
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • One lemon
  • Toasted baguette slices


  1. Heat two tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic, leek (onion) and pepper flakes.  Cook onions until very soft (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add beans, one cup water, ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper.  If using greens that are more substantial than spinach, add to the pan.  Stir and cook until beans are soft and have developed a creamy consistency (about 5-10 minutes).  Mash with a wooden spoon, or purée partially with an immersion blender.  You want a mixture of puréed beans with some whole beans and large bits and pieces — the ratio of smooth to chunky is up to you.  Add spinach or arugula and stir with the pan on the heat until greens are wilted.
  3. Zest the lemon.  Cut in half and juice.  Add one tablespoon of juice and the zest to the pan.  Stir.  Add more salt or pepper as needed.
  4. Spread over toasted bread and serve.


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