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white beans



When I was growing up, the only beans were ever ate were from a metal can. We canned them ourselves in a local coop and for the first few months, they were okay. Not fresh, but edible. As time passed, as one year approached, opening a can was an exercise in self-destruction. Eating them was impossible. I always sat at the corner of the dinner table with a carpet corner just to my left. By an act of God, or for self-deliverance, I was left handed.

Decades later, if you say “beans” to me, be prepared for a violent reaction.  Sorry, time cannot erase some traumas.

However, Suzen keeps trying and I must say that she’s found a great, and yet simple way, to erase bean nightmares. True, when you open a can of white beans, it’s not an exciting event. But, in a short time, through the miracle of onion, carrot and certainly roasted garlic, those white beans can become an addictive puree.

The puree is wonderful as a simple side dish for roasted chicken. Or, if you can’t wait for the main dish, spreading this on toasted bread and sharing a crisp white wine is a fine appetizer.

You can top off the puree with a dash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, perhaps some crushed red pepper, or a garnish of herbs. This quick dish will make you believe in magic. True, you do start with something canned at the start. But you work with it, add fresh ingredients, cook to amplify flavors and concoct joy.


White Bean Puree with Roasted Garlic

Yield: 3 ½ cups


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup carrot, finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, roasted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 15 ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), drained
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock


Heat oil in heavy saucepan over medium heat, add carrots and onion then sauté until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add cannellini and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Puree mixture in food processor with the roasted garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Return to saucepan to keep warm or place in microwavable bowl.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine