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Hill o’Beans: Cannellini

2012 October 25
by taiyyaba

I have a life. So, cooking a good meal can be a challenge sometimes. But, in the “ace up my sleeve” category, I’ve got a few super-fast recipes using one can of beans and a few other things I usually have in my pantry. They make a light meal for one or substantial side dish for two and are quite healthy!

Grilled romaine topped with these delicious canellini beans

Canellini beans with caramelized onions and basil

1 onion, sliced in slivers
1 can canellini beans (or any white bean)
White sugar
Fresh basil leaves, basil pesto, or basil-in-a-tube (basil is my favorite here, but sage or rosemary are great substitutes).
Red pepper flakes
Just a bit of broth
Salt and black pepper

1. Warm some olive oil in a pan and get ready to quick-caramelize the onions.

Start at medium high heat (you can go higher if you’re attentive) and get a quick sear on them. Staying at medium-high, let them get a little brown on the edges and sprinkle with a light teaspoon of sugar. Turn it down and let them cook for about 7 or 8 more minutes.

Real caramelized onions take a long time, and don’t need any sugar. But when you’re tired, you can get an approximation in 10 minutes this way. Do try to leave them to cook on the lower heat as long as possible because they really provide great flavor to this dish.

2. While the onions are caramelizing, add in a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Adding them now helps the heat permeate through the whole dish.

3. Drain and rinse the canellini beans. Shake out the water, but it’s okay if they’re still a little moist. Add them to the pan and toss with the onions. Add salt and just a little bit of black pepper – not enough to overwhelm the light beans.

4. Add in a little bit of broth – about two or three tablespoons – and cover the pan to let the beans soften. (if you don’t have broth, it’s okay, but the beans might get a bit dry, so watch them. you can add a bit of chopped tomato instead).

5. The beans are done when you can mush one with a fork and when they’ve absorbed all the broth. At the last minute, stir in the basil (in pesto, fresh, or in-a-tube form).

I’ve served these in so many different ways as a side dish or as a meal, and each is delicious. Pick one!

As a side dish: They’re great just like this as a side dish to grilled meat.

White Bean Crostini: Puree with a little more broth and spread over crostini. Top with a little more caramelized onion, shredded fresh basil, or sundried tomato.

White Beans with Couscous: Serve over couscous, which takes maximum 10 min to make, so it’s perfect for this quick-cooking meal. Toss some mint or parsley into the couscous if you have it.

Stuffed butternut squash: Hollow out the round part of a butternut squash (unpeeled), drizzle with oil, salt and pepper. Roast it at 450F until it’s soft. Fill the hollow with these canellini beans. Serve with a green salad for an amazing vegetarian supper. (this obviously takes longer. i added tomato since i didn’t have broth).

(My favorite way! This is the main picture at the top of the post) Grilled Romaine and White Bean Salad: Heat a grill pan. Cut some romaine lettuce in half, lengthwise (leave the core in) and drizzle it with olive oil. When the grill pan is quite hot, put the romaine on it cut side down and leave it there until you get some delish grill marks on it. Turn and grill the other sides. Plate the romaine and pour the hot basil canellini beans on top. (wait, it gets better!) Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar (aged, if you have it). Oh. My. God. My mouth is watering right now just writing about this.

So many options from just one little can o’beans! Enjoy!

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