Monday, December 3, 2012

Pureed White Beans with Tons of Fresh Herbs

First week of December, last month of the year, 2012 coming to a close. WHAT, already?!? I cannot believe how time just flew by… what have I been doing for the past eleven months? Ummm… too many things and not enough things.

There’s a lot of contemplating that I would like to do, but I should just leave that as a project for the last week of December. You know, when we bust out our pens and papers and write down those New Year’s Resolutions that we quickly forget by the time February comes around or finally get around to doing by the time October comes around. Funny how those things happen!

Welcome to another Food Matters Project Monday! This week’s recipe, Pureed White Beans with Tons of Fresh Herbs, was chosen by Lexi of Lexi’s Kitchen.

To be honest, I wasn’t very thrilled when I looked up the recipe and just considered doing something else, like maybe an herby lentil soup. But, as fate would have it, I had some white beans sitting in the back of the pantry and TONS of fresh herbs in the fridge. So, without any big expectations, I proceeded to make it.

Oh, how I underestimated this recipe! It turned out wonderful. I loved this dish’s refreshingly herby and savory pure bean flavor. There’s goodness in every spoonful. This white bean puree reminded me of a textured mashed potato with lovely hints of herby-peppery bites.  

I stuck close to the original Mark Bittman recipe, which you can find in Lexi’s blog, but decided that it needed a little something to make it more special. A clove of garlic and a bay leaf did the trick!

When I made this on Saturday night, it was served warm as a main dish with this delicious Cranberry-Maple Skillet Cornbread (from Cookie and Kate) on the side. After a yoga class yesterday, I served this cold on top of warm skillet-fried radish slices. It was so good and hit the spot! I highly recommend that you use this as a topping on radish slices. Frying the radish slices is really simple. All I did was slice a huge radish into 1/8 to ¼ inch thick slices, then cooked them in a little bit of butter and olive oil for 4 minutes or so on each side, just until the edges turned brown.


Pureed White Beans with Tons of Fresh Herbs
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe in The Food Matters Cookbook

1 1/3 cups dry white beans
3 1/3 cups water
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped mild herbs (3/4 cup fresh parsley leaves, 1/8 cup fresh basil, 1/8 cup fresh mint)
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove of garlic
1 bay leaf
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the beans, water, and a pinch of salt in a medium sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water is boiling, partially cover the pot and continue to cook until the beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Taste 4 beans and if all of them are tender all throughout the middle, then the beans are done. The total cooking time takes a little over an hour.

While the beans are cooking, prepare the onion and herbs. Heat the butter in a medium size skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted, cook the onions until soft and translucent, 6-8 minutes. Stir in the herbs and cook until they wilt, about 2 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

When the beans are done, turn off the heat and add the onion-herb mixture to the bean pot. Pour in a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add only a pinch of salt at a time and taste as you go because you don’t want to add too much salt. Move the pot away from the heat but keep the cover on and let the flavors blend together for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the cover and mash the beans with a potato masher until it’s as pureed as it can get or until your wrists start to hurt. If needed, add more salt to taste, one small pinch at a time. Pour in another tablespoon of olive oil, add the minced garlic clove, and the bay leaf. Stir everything thoroughly.

Move the pot back to the burner and turn the heat on to medium low. Cover the pot and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and serve immediately.

This can be a great main dish or dip and can be served warm or cold. Serve it warm with some cornbread or buttered slices of sourdough. Or serve it cold on top of fried radish slices. YUM!

Have a great week everyone and make sure to visit The Food Matters Project website to see what recipe spins the other members came up with!


  1. Glad you tried it, Margarita! I made it close to original, adding garlic, lemon, and celery root but I loved it. I ate mine with radishes but I have never thought to fry them! Very interesting...I love getting new ideas every week :)

  2. I'm so glad you gave it a shot! I thought it was really good. Thanks for making it.

  3. I'm glad you liked it too! It's fun when we go into the kitchen with low expectations and are pleasantly surprised by the outcome :)

  4. This sure make a nice the idea of lots of herbs...yum!
    Thanks for the recipe and have a wonderful week Margie :)

  5. I love these pureed beans Margarita and they are sure stuffed with herbs!


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