Smoky and creamy white beans are a simple and hearty plant-based main course. Made very quickly with just 10 ingredients!
These creamy white beans and greens from Amy Chaplin’s newest cookbook, Whole Food Cooking Every Day, are cozy, quick, incredibly satisfying, and flavourful. Regardless of individual dietary choices, I think we’re all seeking some version of this combination on weeknights. People write to me all the time about their efforts to eat more plant-based meals and some of the struggles that they face in doing so. Dishes like this, and so many others in Amy’s book, hold a promise of ease and encouragement.
This is my favourite cookbook of the year. The chapters/divisions are unusual–rather than the typical soup/salad/main course breakdowns, you get mini sections on beans, nut and seed milk beverages/butters, whole grain porridge, baked tempeh, muffins, etc. and a bunch of different ways to spin each. There’s an authoritative and complete chart devoted entirely to roasting vegetables. The unlocking of possibilities in the sauce and dressing sections alone makes this book worth every penny.
Amy has an intuition and mastery of plant-based ingredients that you can feel as you examine this book. I still love this kabocha squash and chestnut soup from her first book. There’s a sense of trust and authority in these recipes, which inspires a lot of confidence in the kitchen. Sometimes this is the extra push that we all need to cook more. It’s probably obvious that I cook at home a lot, but in a less obvious way, I am definitely prone to creative ruts and a sense of apathy. Books like this inspire me to get back to it and try something different. That inspiration alone is worth so much.
These creamy white beans with greens are exactly the kind of thing I crave when the temperatures dip. I actually just love the flavour of beans cooked from scratch with a bit of salt. The recipe is based on a core “bean sauce” recipe in the book. Onions, thyme, and garlic form the flavour base. The beans are lightly mashed into a saucy and thick consistency, and then finished with greens and a bright splash of apple cider vinegar. I loved these beans with a toasty piece of whole grain bread, but I could also see myself eating them with some fluffy grains and roasted vegetables, or even as the base of a pasta sauce. This would be an excellent plant-based protein option to meal prep for the week ahead.
Hope you love this simple and delicious recipe, and that you’ll check out Amy’s book. It’s a real game changer.
Smoky and Creamy White Beans with Greens
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
- 1 medium onion, diced
- sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 3 cups cooked navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup vegetable stock or filtered water
- 4 cups chopped mixed greens (such as chard, spinach or kale)
- 4-5 drops liquid smoke (optional)
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- This recipe is from Amy Chaplin’s Whole Food Cooking Every Day.
- I feel like I say this every week, but liquid smoke is an amazing ingredient in the plant-based world! Adding a few drops of it was the only addition I made to Amy’s recipe.
- Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the skillet and swirl it around. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is slightly golden. Cover the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and cook the onion for another 5 minutes, or until soft and beginning to brown. Stir in the garlic and cook, uncovered, until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the thyme and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the beans to the skillet, along with the vegetable stock/water. Raise the heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are very soft. You can crush some of the beans with the back of your spoon or a potato masher if you’re looking for an even creamier texture. Add the liquid smoke, if using.
- Add the greens to the skillet and continue to cook until they have wilted slightly.
- Stir in the apple cider vinegar and more salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately with crusty bread. Fully cooled and covered leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.