Sautéed White Beans with Greens

Source: COOK 1.0: A Fresh Approach to the Vegetarian Kitchen and Heidi Swanson, author of the cookbook Super Natural Cooking.

Recipe Type: | Seasons: , , ,

Serves 6


1 pound medium to large dried white beans (I love to make this recipe with giant Corona beans or Rancho Gordo white cannellini)
3 tablespoons salt for the bean water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, loosely chopped
7 handfuls greens (spinach, loosely chopped chard, etc)
Freshly shaved Parmesan (optional)
Salt to taste


  1. Rinse and soak beans in a large pot of water overnight (or for a few hours minimum). You want enough water to cover the beans by a couple of inches.

  2. Simmer the pot of beans over low-medium heat until very tender but not fall-apart mushy. This usually takes 1½ -2 hours for the larger beans. Roughly 10 or 15 minutes before the beans are done cooking add the 3 tablespoons of salt to the pot to get some of the salt flavor to permeate the inside of the bean. When the beans are finished cooking, drain them.
  3. Get out your biggest skillet. Heat the olive oil over med-high heat and add the beans in a single layer to the skillet. Toss a bit to coat the beans with the olive oil. Let the beans sit there and get brown on one side before tossing to brown the other sides. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outsides and soft and creamy on the insides. Salt to taste at this point.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to the pan, toss it up a bit, and cook for a minute or two, or until the onions soften up. Add the greens, and stir for a minute or two – until they begin to wilt. Remove from heat and season again to taste with a generous dose of salt and pepper. Drizzle with a bit of top quality extra-virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of freshly grated Parmesan.


Note: If you don’t have a big enough skillet – just make the recipe in two batches. Or save ½ the beans for another use.

Other Ideas:
– Serve over grilled, sliced rustic bread rubbed with a clove of garlic and drizzled with good olive oil. Top the bread with a scoop of the beans for a twist on bruscetta.
– For more of a cold weather option, stir in deeply caramelized onions towards the end in place of the lightly sautéed garlic/onions.


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