Make Ahead

Garlicky Smothered White Beans on Toast

September 14, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

This dish is creamy, garlicky, and super filling: Think mashed potatoes, but with a little more nutrition and a nice dose of dried herbs. It's also a perfect recipe to pull out of your pantry when you're low on ingredients, and the leftovers will last for days (unless you're cooking for friends, in which case you shouldn't expect them to last for long!). —Gena Hamshaw

What You'll Need
  • 1 pound great Northern or cannellini beans, picked over
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling, divided
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 dry bay leaves
  • 1 whole head garlic, top sliced off horizontally to expose the cloves beneath
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
  • 8 to 16 slices grainy toast (1 to 2 per person)
  1. Place the beans in a large, deep bowl and cover them with enough water to submerge them by 3 to 4 inches. Allow them to soak overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the beans. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven or a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the garlic, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the garlic is sweetly fragrant, adding a few tablespoons of water as needed to prevent everything from sticking.
  3. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  4. Add the beans and the bay leaves to the pot. Add enough water to cover the beans by about 1 1/2 inches. Cover and simmer for a total of about 50 minutes, or until the beans are absolutely tender and creamy. Fifteen minutes before you remove the beans from heat, remove the lid and allow the beans to finish cooking uncovered.
  5. While your beans cook, drizzle the whole garlic head with enough olive oil to coat the cloves. Wrap it in foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cloves are golden and very soft when you unwrap the garlic. Set it aside.
  6. When the beans have finished simmering, skim off any extra liquid, so that they're not too soupy (keep in mind that they will thicken up quite a bit as they sit, and especially as you store the leftovers). Stir in the salt, pepper, thyme, and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Check the seasonings and add a little more salt if needed. Then, one by one, pop the roasted garlic cloves into the beans, using as much of the whole head of garlic as you can. Use a potato masher or the back of a heavy spoon to mash the beans up a bit—you want many of them to retain their shape but for the mixture to be spreadable.
  7. Scoop the beans onto toast and drizzle them with extra olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper, if desired. Leftover beans can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days, and frozen for up to one month in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Amanda Scheer
    Amanda Scheer
  • Valerie Gutchen Arnade
    Valerie Gutchen Arnade
  • Jacque
  • Erica

5 Reviews

Jacque January 29, 2018
These beans were good, especially if you are a cannellini bean fan, but this seems like a great base recipe to build on and make your own. Adding some finely chopped kale as a veggie boost or serving with a nice Italian sausage seem like good options to start. Also saved the excess liquid in case I need extra moisture when reheating.
Erica December 18, 2017
I followed the recipe exactly but its takes a almost 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the oven and another hour on top of the stove before the beans become creamy and soft. After soaking for 30 hours and cooking for only 50 min, the beans were still crunchy and uncooked.
Jacque January 29, 2018
The beans weren't supposed to go in the oven - just the garlic for roasting. I had fresh beans that I soaked overnight and after 50 minutes of simmering they were cooked, although not quite creamy
Amanda S. February 1, 2016
could you use cranberry beans for this?
Valerie G. January 7, 2016
One pound uncooked beans = how many cups cooked. Or--if I substituted canned beans (I like them) how much would I use? Thanks!