Oct 022009

Everyone needs a recipe that can answer a host of dietary and culinary questions single-handedly. These questions might be along the lines of “How am I going to use this vat of spinach before it goes bad?” or “How can I make canned beans interesting?” or “What can I make that is attractive, delicious, very nutritious, and quick?”

Cannellinis star alongside tomatoes and wilted spinach
Nikon D50

For me, this recipe answers all those questions, plus a few more nagging ones about lean proteins and just how, exactly, one can get all the benefits of spinach without smothering it in salad dressing. It also answers the call when it hears the stomach thinking “Oh my god I am so hungry but I don’t wanna cook anything involved and I don’t want any meat today” but the tastebuds are all like “Dude, don’t forget about us!”

This recipe seriously comes together in a matter of minutes, tastes and feels like genuine comfort food, but packs in a lot of nutrition when you’re looking the other way. Serve it alongside some whole-grain pasta tossed with a fruity olive oil and couple of tomatoes you didn’t use in this dish, some brown rice, or a whole-grain bread, and you’ve got a complete lean protein and a satisfying well-balanced meal.

Cannellinis star alongside tomatoes and wilted spinach
Nikon D50

Cannellini beans with wilted spinach
Adapted from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
Serves 8

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled or 3 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
4 cups cooked cannellini beans (from 1 1/3 cups dried) or two 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
8-10 ounces baby spinach
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When the skillet is warm, add the onions and saute until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano and cook until the tomatoes are softened and are beginning to break down, about 4 minutes.
Add the spinach and beans to the skillet and cook, constantly turning the mixture with tongs, until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Serve immediately.
Try this with a different and heartier green, like chopped lacinto kale.
If the tomato selection is abysmal, you can use a 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped.

  One Response to “Cannellini beans with wilted spinach”

  1. Your blog is gorgeous… I’m scratching my head as to why you don’t have zillions of comments on every post!
    I have a blog directory that is arranged geographically, and I don’t have any listed for Alaska, so if you don’t mind I’ll go ahead and add you.
    This recipe looks delicious. It’s the sort of thing that I’d be perfectly happy with for dinner. My husband- on the other hand- would be asking for meat 😉

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