Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuscan White Beans

In general, sidekicks tend to get kind of a bad rap. They are usually just there to support the hero and provide comic relief.

But how can you even have a hero without a sidekick? It's time for the Robins, Pepas, Stimpys, Mini Mes, and Ron Weasleys of the world to stand up for themselves!

The same goes for food. Side dishes are usually an afterthought, relegated to mere soggy microwaved vegetables or greasy french fries. Why not make your side dishes spectacular? My Tuscan White Beans are super easy, healthy, and full of flavor. They are the perfect complement to pretty much any meat, especially chicken or fish.

Make a side dish that stands up for itself, instead of riding alongside the main course in a humorous and slightly pathetic sidecar.

  • 1 can of cannelini beans, mostly drained. Also known as white beans. Leave a bit of the starchy liquid in the can, as it will help thicken the dish.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, mostly drained. Leave some of the liquid in the can. Feel free to use regular or Italian style tomatoes.
  • 1 big ole handful of spinach leaves. Tear them into smaller pieces.
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 splash of white wine. You can just sort of eyeball it. Italian cooking is all about playing around with your ingredients (while expressively waving your hands in the air). If that makes you uncomfortable, I would estimate roughly 1/4 cup or so.
  • 1 splash of balsamic vinegar. See above.
  • 1 small splash of lemon juice. I dunno...maybe about a tablespoon?
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese. Optional, but who doesn't love parmesan cheese?
This hearty side dish could even make for a nice lunch by itself with a nice hunk of bread. Enjoy!


Heat a saucepan to medium high and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Chop up your onion and throw it in.

Once the onion has softened, add your minced garlic and stir to cook for a minute. Pour your splash of wine into the saucepan to let it soak into the onion and garlic for another minute.

Then add your partially drained tomatoes and Italian seasoning.

Add your balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and spinach to the mix. Let the spinach leaves wilt down in the saucepan.

Finally, add your can of mostly drained beans. Any remaining starchy liquid from the can will help thicken the mixture. Stir and cook until the beans are heated through. The longer you let it simmer, the better (I would recommend about fifteen minutes, but you can serve immediately if you are in a hurry).

Pour into a bowl, top with parmesan cheese, and serve!

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