White Beans and Fresh Herbs

July 17, 2013

White Beans with Fresh Herbs

This simple combination of ingredients has become my saving grace. I make Pan-Fried White Beans and Greens at least once or twice a month. It’s an absolute weeknight staple in our house and we devour it. But as many times as I’ve made that dish, I always soak and cook too many beans and am left with a giant pile. I’ve found that cooked beans don’t last especially well and so I’ve wasted them more times than I’m really happy to admit.

White Beans with Fresh Herbs

Molly Katzen has single-handedly saved me and my beans from that fate with this little recipe. It’s so simple as to be a fantastic reminder that smaller – lighter – less – are often the best things to focus on when it comes to food. There are no bells and whistles to this salad – no other vegetables at all in fact – just a jumble of fresh herbs and some olive oil and acid. It makes a really great lunch salad and I imagine a buttered hunk of crusty bread would go well but it’s quite filling alone.

I typically throw in some lemon zest and chopped walnuts because (you guessed it) I have them left over from the¬†Pan-Fried White Beans and Greens. You don’t have to include them but they certainly add a nice touch.

White Beans and Fresh Herbs

White Beans and Fresh Herbs
adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook by Molly Katzen


  • 1.5 cups dry white beans
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Small handful walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • Lemon zest from about 1/2 ¬†lemon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Large pinch of salt
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper


  1. Soak beans: place dried beans in a large pot and cover with about 3 inches of cold water. Set aside to soak for at least eight hours or overnight.
  2. Drain soaked beans and return to pot. Cover generously with water and bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 1 – 1.5 hours, adding water as necessary and stirring occasionally, until tender.
  3. Once beans are done, drain and place them in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to the beans and mix gently. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  5. Cover tightly and chill until cold.
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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda Paa July 17, 2013 at 8:56 am

This post could not have come at a better time. I love simple meals like this and it’s so amazing what fresh herbs can do to food. My question is around cooking the beans. I just can’t seem to get it right. Either my beans are falling apart mushy or they are too hard and some of them split. I always buy fresh beans from the bulk bin at the coop as I know old beans can cause a lot of problems. I’m just torn…. I want them to be the right texture!


Angharad July 17, 2013 at 9:10 am

Amanda, thank you for reminding me I forgot to include instructions to soak! I’ve updated the recipe now to include that. I have had a hard time with getting beans right before myself and don’t find “quick” cooking methods very effective. I get more consistent results if I soak the beans overnight first. Once the beans are simmering, I just keep a close-ish eye on them to make sure they don’t turn to mush, which can happen all too fast. I also find that if I soak them I don’t run into the splitting problem.


Amanda Paa July 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

Gosh, I always soak them overnight. I’ve only tried the quick method once. Maybe I just need to keep a closer eye on them. I also might try simmering on a lower temp – slow and low. I WILL get this right! ;) If not, you may have to give me a lesson in person ;) have a great day lovely.

John F July 17, 2013 at 9:13 am

My wife will love this one.


Holly July 17, 2013 at 10:30 am

this looks absolutely lovely!


dana July 17, 2013 at 11:00 am

gorgeous! love the new blog design, too. Holly is a star.


Kathryn July 17, 2013 at 11:35 am

Such a lovely summer meal. I can definitely see this making a perfect lunch.


Eileen July 17, 2013 at 6:51 pm

I’ve been making 101cookbooks-inspired white bean fries for a while now–they are so good! I think switching it up with big handfuls of fresh herbs and nuts sounds just about perfect. Yay!


Stephanie July 18, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Angharad, you’re back! I’m so pleased! And how delightful to come back to three gorgeous posts and a lovely redesign. (:

I have some little white navy beans that have been looking for a home, so I’ll definitely whip this up soon. Also, I learned a good trick if you forget to soak your beans:

Put your beans in a pot with lots of water. Bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let sit for one hour. I find this works just as well as soaking the beans and is very handy for those (many) times I don’t plan ahead.

So glad you’re back!


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