A Spoonful of Spice

Recipes for low-sugar living + treats for special occasions

Italian white beans

With a little spice or herb added, beans are so satisfying. Beans and rice so often conjures up images of poverty, with good reason. In just about every culture, there is a version of beans and rice--some use lentils, others garbanzo beans, or red beans, or black beans, or in this case white beans--that provides a simple nutritious meal for those scraping by on very little. But this simple combination can also be delicious and unique depending on what kind of spices or herbs are used. Since it is now the season of lent, I wanted to share a couple recipes from practicing a rice and bean fast--a way to show solidarity with the poor by eating on $2/day. 

Cannellini beans are popular in central and southern Italy, and can be cooked in tomatoes or combined with carrots, garlic, and rosemary, or added to soups or salads.

One combination that I recently put together, pictured here, is white beans with slow-cooked, or caramelized, onions, smoked chili salt, and breadcrumbs such as panko. 

Another great combination is thyme and lavender--both happen to grow really well in San Francisco--and I've included the recipe for this combination below. 

Soak the cannellini beans overnight and then rinse. Add the beans to a deep pot and cover with water. Add salt, lavender sprigs, and thyme sprigs to the water, and bring to a boil over medium heat-high. Once the water begins to boil, lower the heat to a comfortable simmer. Cover and simmer for an hour or until the beans are soft.  

After the beans have been simmering for 45 minutes, sauté the red onion and carrots in olive oil, lavender salt, and thyme, and set aside. Once the beans are soft, combine all the ingredients and enjoy over rice. 

Share and enjoy!