Warm white beans tossed with a homemade lemon parmesan vinaigrette is a simple dish with flavors that bring back memories from my travels in Italy. White Beans / Lemon / Parmesan / Anchovies / Garlic / Olive Oil / Herbs…simple ingredients that season the beans so well that they almost outshine whatever you happen to serve them with.
I have to thank my very best friend for introducing me to these delicious beans. She served them as a first course at a summer dinner party in Nantucket. Over the course of the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe depending on what I’m serving the beans with but most of the time I tend to serve them with chicken. I’ve pan sautéed chicken thighs and served them on a bed of the white beans along with oven roasted tomatoes. I have also served the beans as a warm salad with cherry tomatoes from our local market. On a busy weeknight, the bean and tomato salad and a store bought rotisserie chicken topped with a quickly made fresh green herb sauce makes for quick and flavorful Tuscan inspired dinner.
When you have time, you can create this dish using dried cannellini beans that you cook with fresh herbs much like a cook in Tuscany would do. I’ve included the recipe if that is what you prefer. If you are short on time as many of us are, you can use canned cannellini, great northern or whatever white beans you might have in your pantry. Either way you decide to prepare the beans, I think you will find them to be a delicious side dish.
White Beans With A Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette
Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup of vinaigrette, adjust the recipe accordingly.
- juice of one small lemon, about 1/4 cup
- grated zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tsp.
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. anchovy paste or 2 to 3 anchovy filets, finely minced
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan or Locatelli Romano cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper, mustard and anchovy until well blended. Slowly drizzle in the oil, whisking until emulsified then stir in the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust for seasoning…it should be very flavorful. The vinaigrette can be made ahead and refrigerated up to a week. Bring to room temperature and whisk to recombine before using.
Serves 4 – 6 as a side dish, adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 2 19oz. cans cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed or 4 c. cooked white beans of your choice* (recipe below)
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1/2 c. chopped onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1/4 c. chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved (If you are making a warm bean salad)
- 1/4 c. chopped basil or parsley (If you are making a warm bean salad)
Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan then add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme then cook for another minute. Add the stock and cook for an additional minute. Add the beans to the pan and simmer until warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the beans into a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the warm beans and gently fold until the beans are well coated. Let sit for a few minutes as the beans gradually absorb the vinaigrette. Toss several more times, being careful not to mash the beans when tossing. If the beans appear too dry, drizzle in a little extra olive oil. If you wish to make a warm bean salad, add the tomatoes and the basil or parsley and carefully mix together. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, and then serve.
*Cooked White Beans: Place 1 cup of dried cannellini beans in large pot and cover with cold water by 3 to 4 inches (about 6 cups) and let soak overnight. Wash and drain beans. Place in a large pot and cover with water again by about an inch or two. Add a half onion and couple sprigs of rosemary, thyme and parsley tied together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally. Season the beans with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until beans are tender, about 30 minutes to an hour longer. Add more water, if necessary, to keep beans covered with liquid. Cool beans in liquid for about 15 minutes then remove the onion and herbs. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a large bowl and keep warm. If you are not using the beans right away, reserve some of the cooking liquid in case the beans appear dry when continuing the recipe.
The homemade vinaigrette is light yet very flavorful and is what gives the beans such a terrific taste. It is so good that you might want to double or triple the recipe and serve it on salads made with fresh ingredients from your seasonal vegetable garden or from your local farmer’s market. Pour what you are not immediately using for the bean recipe into a jar and refrigerate up to a week. For the best flavor, bring what you need to room temperature and whisk or shake to recombine.
My girlfriend shared her recipe with me (which of course I’ve changed a little over the years) and now I’m sharing it with you. I hope you will enjoy the white beans with the homemade lemon parmesan vinaigrette as much as my husband and I do and perhaps you will end up sharing the recipe with one of your friends.