A classic hit: white bean sauce

This has been a big hit with the entire family every time I’ve made it… not an easy feat! A variation on a recipe from Steven Raichlen’s High Flavor, Low Fat Vegetarian Cooking. Not bad over brown rice or polenta either. And much of the time, I just throw some cooked white beans into a pot with nothing more than fresh or dried herbs, a little salt and pepper, and almost enough water to cover.  After simmering a few minutes, its ready to mash up and serve. Takes less time than it takes to bring the pasta pot to a boil, and unfailingly delicious!


I most recently accompanied this dish with a salad I gleaned from a few techniques and recipes in Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food II. Diced cabbage, dates, orange half-moons and “carrot curls” (carrot strips made with a vegetable peeler, then soaked for a few hours in ice water) over salad greens. Ruined by too much of too vinegary a dressing, but otherwise it was attractive and seemed promising, though perhaps a bit more trouble than it was worth.

White-bean Sauce

1 tbsp. oil

Chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

Red pepper, chopped small (optional)

Fresh Italian herbs, or about 2 tablespoons dried

A can of cannelli beans

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Salt and pepper

Sauté onions until soft over medium heat in a medium saucepan, then add garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, and herbs. Stir in white beans, cook one minute. Add water, cayenne, salt or pepper, and simmer uncovered until the beans are very soft. Coarsely mash half of the beans. Serve over pasta or brown rice… great topped with shredded cheese, with a big green salad on the side! Also works well as a side (just skip the mashing) or a soup (add more water)!

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