Weeknight Cooking

An Ultra-Satisfying Vegetarian Dinner That's on the Table in 30 Minutes

My new favorite weeknight meal takes a cue from the South of France.

February  7, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

Stuck in a weeknight dinner rut? We've partnered with The Spice Hunter to bring you never-boring, any-night recipes using flavors we love from around the world.

I love to cook. I love cooking so much that I made it my career. But when you cook for a living, sometimes the last thing you want to do after a long day of work is go home and cook more. Especially when you’re a mother and partner to people with very different diets. Finding a meal that will satisfy everyone—ideally one that’s quick, can be made with things already in my fridge or pantry, and also is a little healthy—can feel difficult or sometimes impossible.

So when I come up with a new weeknight dish that checks all our boxes (and won’t have me stuck in the kitchen for more than 30 minutes!), I get a little excited. This white bean and kale toast is one of those magical dishes where you turn basic staple ingredients into a delicious, comforting meal that can be enjoyed no matter the season.

Photo by Rocky Luten

In my house, we’re big fans of beans. I regularly cook up a big pot for us to eat throughout the week, and I also almost always have canned beans in my pantry. They’re a fast source of protein, and as a working mom, let’s face it, I don’t always have the time to soak and cook dried beans—definitely not on a weeknight! Creamy white beans just so happen to be a perfect canvas for the bright and woodsy flavors of herbes de Provence, a spice blend from the South of France containing thyme, rosemary, basil, marjoram, sage, fennel, and lavender.

It couldn’t be simpler to pull together: I sauté a little shallot, garlic, and herbes de Provence in some olive oil and butter, add white wine, and let it reduce, allowing all those delicious aromas to release into the beans. Then, I mash up the beans a bit and add in some hearty kale for a little extra nutrition. I serve the bean mixture on a fried piece of sourdough and top with a squeeze of lemon, good olive oil, flaky salt, and voilà! Dinner.

The real triumph is the fact that I’ve got a quick, delicious meal everyone in my house loves—including a picky seven-year-old and a sometimes vegan/vegetarian. It’s got a balanced mix of textures, flavors, and food groups. It’s vegetarian while still packing plenty of protein. It’s soulful and satisfying, thanks to fried sourdough bread and creamy white beans. And best of all, it cooks up super quickly, meaning dinner is served in 30 minutes.

What's your favorite weeknight dinner? Tell us in the comments below!

With help from our partner, The Spice Hunter, you can take any meal from dull to delicious with just a sprinkle or pinch. Here, a few basic ingredients plus a dash of The Spice Hunter's fragrant Herbes de Provence create a comforting, supremely tasty dinner, which is on the table in just 30 minutes—and with very little work behind the stove.

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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