Trust me on these Mashed White Beans. Please, please trust me on this.
Would you like to see my normally-highly-classified notes on this recipe? Are you sure you’re ready for such long-winded, scintillating reading? Okay then. Here goes. My notes on Mashed White Beans with Spinach, Garlic, and Lemon:
So, back to the trust. You see a green-speckled beige sort of pile, right? I know, I know … but please look beyond this. Think of my recipe notes. Err, note. Just trust me.
Nigella Lawson introduced me to the concept of mashed white beans as a side (or, for me, a main), via one of her TV shows several years ago. It was a brilliant discovery. I could take a can of cannellini beans from plain to perfection within a matter of minutes. All it took was a skillet, a fork, a little olive oil, some garlic, a bit of lemon, and a sprinkling of coarse salt.
Like, seriously. Totes. (I had to use “totes” just once in my life). This here pile of mashed beans is pure bliss.
Spinach adds a bit of nutrition and color; lemon zest brightens. Garlic does its garlic thing, olive oil creates blissful magic. You mash it all together with a fork, scoop it into a bowl, and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top. Drizzle with some more olive oil. Sprinkle with a tad more salt. Maybe butter a piece of crusty bread to go alongside.
Nigella served her version alongside steak. And, indeed, this is an ideal side for a steak dinner. But for this-here vegetarian, this cannellini beans and spinach recipe is also the perfect main dish. So on the rare (no pun intended) occasion that my resident carnivore hubby craves a steak, this ends up being a great accompaniment for his meal – and surprisingly incredible meal-in-itself for moi.
Garlicky Mashed White Beans with Spinach
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling over the top
- 2 cups packed baby spinach (roughly chopped)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 medium garlic cloves)
- 1 lemon (medium size will do, zested and halved)
- 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 1 15-ounce can, drained)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt (plus more for sprinkling on top)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into In a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, garlic, and lemon zest. Saute, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute.
- Add the beans, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and a couple turns of freshly ground black pepper. Mash beans with a fork until the consistency of (very) lumpy mashed potatoes.
- Divide between two bowls (or just pile them into one bowl and keep them all to yourself). Squeeze a lemon half over each serving, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper to taste. Serve at once.