Pesto Cannellini Beans

If you haven’t bought a good mortar and pestle yet, now’s the time. This dish is as delicious as it is easy. The idea of making a fresh pesto may seem daunting, but it’s actually only about 3-5 minutes of elbow grease. Then bring out the can opener for some Cannellini beans and boom, you’re halfway home.

This makes it an awesome side for when you have to pay attention to the grill, or even a pretty kick ass make ahead lunch salad (with limitless customizations). And if you’re cooking with fresh herbs frequently, there’s a good chance you already have all these ingredients in your fridge and pantry.

Serves 2


  • 1 15 oz. can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 10-15 leaves fresh basil, chopped roughly
  • Handful of other green herbs like flat parsley or cilantro thin stems still attached (you could also use arugula).
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 TBSP olive oil
  • 3-4 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP pine nuts
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Toasted breadcrumbs and lemon slices for serving



  1. Combine sea salt, 2 garlic cloves in a mortar and pestle and mash for a few seconds to break up garlic. Add pine nuts and mash into a paste, then add the basil, grinding in until the leaves are slightly broken down. Add the other herbs and parmesan, and continue grinding until a smooth green paste exists. Drizzle in 1-2 TBP olive oil to loosen up the mixture so it can stir relatively easily.
  2. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a medium skillet. Mince 1-2 cloves garlic and add to pan, along with shallot, for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Add drained Cannellini beans and toss to combine. Cook gently over low-medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in pesto until well-combined.
  5. Transfer to a bowl, squeeze with lemon (the little kick of acidity makes a huge difference) and top with breadcrumbs (as does the texture from the breadcrumbs).

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