When I first made this dish, I called it “Fancy Beans” but then upon further recollection I realized that didn’t really describe the dish at all. It’s kind of like when you are trying to buy gum and come across that random Bubblicious flavor called “Radical Red” which doesn’t describe the actual flavor whatsoever. Hence the new name for this dish. I should leave dish naming to the pros.
For some reason, when I think about white beans I think elegance. Call me crazy but I consider cannellini beans to be fancy. But of course my pantry decided to be all out of cannellini beans so I grabbed a can of the good ol’ trusty stand-in – great northern beans – which are a little smaller but no less delicious in my opinion. Turns out most white beans are quite similar so feel free to use whatever legume you prefer. Great northern beans are not hard to find, I think I got mine at Wal-Mart. Fancy!
Tomato, Spinach, and White Bean Sauté (makes 2 main or 4 side-dish servings)
- 1 1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pushed through garlic press
- sea salt (still obsessed with Maldon’s flakes)
- 1 can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves
- 1 cup pear (or cherry) tomatoes
- zest from 1 lemon, and juice from half
Start by adding the olive oil, red pepper and garlic to a cold skillet. Over medium low heat, gently cook the garlic until you can smell it and it softens but doesn’t brown. Next, add the tomatoes and about 1/2 tsp salt and cook these until they just start to pop (maybe 5-8 minutes.) Add in the beans and let them warm through and combine with the tomatoes. Then add the spinach and cook for only a minute or two just to wilt the leaves. Turn off the heat and finish with a squeeze of half a lemon and the lemon zest. Taste for seasoning and if necessary, top it with an extra sprinkle of sea salt.
I hope you enjoy this really easy and not really so fancy recipe!