Best White Bean Recipes

Best White Bean Recipes

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Top Rated White Bean Recipes

Clear away those winter sniffles with this hearty yet healthy soup that highlights the rich and nutty flavor of acorn squash. A touch of cayenne gives it an extra kick that will be sure to clear up any congestion the winter months may bring.

Some people put carrots in their escarole soup. Some put celery. Some rice. They're probably all fine and good recipes. I wouldn't know, I've been trying to replicate Mom's for about 10 years and hers doesn't have any of that fancy stuff — doesn't need it.Its main components are escarole, onion, garlic, chicken stock, and cannellini beans. That makes it a very easy soup to make. It's kind of the ideal soup because it's heartwarming but thin — so it works year-round. It will fill you up, but you don't feel heavy after eating it — just satisfied. The beans kind of leak out their starchiness, thickening it a little once the soup has had a chance to sit.A tablespoon of red pepper flakes while it's cooking gives it a little edge, and sprinkle of Parmesan to finish once you've ladled it out is the perfect finish. It's almost always better the second day.Click here for Recipe SWAT Team: Healthy Greens.

Though packed with nutrients, kale often tastes bland, thick or chewy if not cooked correctly so it isn't a vegetable that most people usually go for. But in this easy recipe, they are soft, tender and packed with flavor. You can leave out the white beans and cook the kale by itself, or use this recipe as a base for experimenting with different ingredients like onions, bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, or apples. You could also try tossing it with cooked pasta and sliced cherry tomatoes for a quick meal.Try the kale with the Easy Pan-Roasted Pork Chops recipe pictured.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to homemade hummus. This chickpea-based spread is simple to make and can easily be customized to fit your taste or the ingredients you have on hand. Once you have the basic method down, substitute your favorite beans, spices, and flavorings. Try this hummus recipe drizzled with olive oil, topped with wedges of hard-boiled egg, and sprinkled with a pinch of smoked paprika.Click here for more of our best dip recipes.

For a super light and refreshing snack, put together this simple white bean salad made with red and yellow peppers, onions and cubed tomatoes.Courtesy of BeanInstitute.com

Whether as an appetizer for a group or as a light solo snack, this Mediterranean white bean bruschetta recipe will surely brighten anyone's day.Courtesy of McCormick

Ancho chile pepper, cumin and garlic powder are just some of the ways this bright white bean chili gains some heat. Courtesy of McCormick

Mezze is the casual appetizer course that begins many Middle Eastern meals. This roasted beet and white bean dip will make a vibrant addition to any mezze-style spread. Courtesy of McCormick

I love sweet potato soup, or anything sweet potato for that matter, because it bears resemblance to the lovely potato, but is slightly sweet and softer. Combined with carrots, white beans, and aromatic spices such as cardamom, cumin, and coriander, the final product is a satisfying soup that is at once light, creamy, and wonderful for your health. Especially when it comes to dairy-free soups, I am a firm believer of making a big batch, mainly because it holds well in the fridge for up to one week, and can remain in the freezer for even longer, about a month.

This dip will make a delicious and hearty addition to any party spread. With a food processor, this recipe comes together in minutes and packs a lot of fresh flavor. A dash of cider vinegar adds an unexpected kick and rounds out the dip with a touch of sweetness. Feel free to play around with the proportions of seasonings if you prefer a bit more salt or heat. Click here to see Recipe SWAT Team: Dips

Kale is one of those vegetables that gets a bad rap. Many people claim it’s bitter and hard to cook, but give kale a chance. While it’s a bit more toothsome than many of its leafy green counterparts, kale has a great spinach-like flavor. Kale is also a vitamin powerhouse packed with Vitamins K, A, and C as well as loads of fiber. Kale may even lend a hand in lowering cholesterol and preventing some cancers. When shopping for kale, look for smaller, dark green bunches that are firm to the touch.If you don’t eat bacon, add two tablespoons of olive oil in its stead and salt to taste. This recipe also works very well with Swiss chard, turnip greens, and other hardier leafy vegetables. Serve as a wintry side or even as a meal on its own with a piece of crusty bread.

I have a newfound love for kale. These days, I'm baking it into chips, adding it to pasta dishes, and even eating it in salads. But this was my first attempt at a kale soup — and it's delicious! The broth is simple and comforting, the kale is packed with nutrients, and the white beans add a richness and heartiness to the soup. Serve it with a piece of toasted bread and you have a perfect winter meal.Click here to see The Best Kale Recipes You've Ever Tried.

Instant Pot White Beans Recipe This easy Instant Pot White Beans Recipe takes dried beans to fully cooked in only 30 minutes with no pre-soaking required! An economical and healthy alternative to canned beans that's ready to use in any recipe. 1. White Bean and Walnut Cookies

These vegan White Bean and Walnut Cookies by Yana Chistyakova do not have any added fats (no oil, no margarine), since we are going to substitute them with white beans. It is an excellent and different way of incorporating legumes into your diet and also of masking them.

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Recipe Summary

  • 7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 canned chipotle chile in adobo, minced (about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons very finely chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thickly sliced ham, coarsely chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans white beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 dozen large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • Sour cream, for serving

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and half of the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook over low heat, stirring, until the tomatoes have broken down but are still slightly chunky, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add the remaining onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and water, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, mashing, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Spoon the bean mixture into 6 ovenproof shallow bowls and top with 2 folded tortillas. Set the bowls on a sturdy baking sheet.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottoms are just set, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 eggs to each bowl. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining oil and eggs.

Sprinkle the queso fresco over the eggs. Broil the eggs 6 inches from the heat for about 1 minute, until the cheese is lightly browned and the egg yolks are just set. Spoon the warm tomato salsa on top and serve with sour cream.


  • 1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 celery ribs, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
  • 1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
  • 10 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

  • 1 pound great northern beans
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • kosher salt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leftover ham bone
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) low-sodium chicken broth
  • black pepper, to taste
  1. Sort through 1 pound dry great norther beans, discarding any debris or broken beans. Pour 6 cups of cool water over top and let them soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight. They should double in size.
  1. Drain beans, rinse and set off to the side.
  2. Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add in olive oil and onion with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add in garlic, thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Stir and cook 1 minute.
  4. Next add in the ham bone and broth. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add in the beans and simmer, with the lid cracked for 1 hour and 30 minutes to 2 hours or until beans are soft and tender.
  6. Remove ham bone, bay leaf and thyme stems. Use a potato masher and smash some of the beans to thicken the soup.
  7. Pick ham from bone (if it didn't come off already) and add the ham to the soup.
  8. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. For me it was 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

White Bean Chili isn’t actually Southern but we perfected it

Where would you say white chicken chili was created if you had to guess? In this edition of her Taste of a Place column, Anne Byrn discovers the truth and gives soul-warming tips to make it slow or fast.

Unlike heirloom Southern recipes your family has made for generations, there are some whose origins are not so easy to pinpoint. Take white bean chili: It's popular, seems like it's been simmering in the South forever and is loved by Southerners from Texas to the Carolinas.

But it's not really Southern.

Don’t tell that to any of us who make it by the gallons each winter, right on time for the Super Bowl. We use great northern or navy beans. We use chicken or turkey. We keep the ingredients all white, or make it colorful from the avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro and cheese piled on top.

I remember the first batch of white bean chili that I made. It was all-white from the great northerns to the chopped chicken breast, to the cream I poured in to thicken things up late in the recipe. And it was rich, filling and divine.

As the years have passed, my chili recipe tinkering has continued. The cream exited, chicken broth entered the picture and I took a whole lotta license with the recipe. I added peppers for color, snuck in green chilies for heat, and when too lazy to cook, I’ve simmered the chili all day in a slow cooker.

Do Texans Eat White Bean Chili?
This question doesn't keep me up at night, but I have wondered when this neutral canvas chili came onto the stage. So I did a little snooping through my Texas cookbooks, Southern regional cookbooks, and old newspapers. And I discovered white bean chili is a relatively recent addition to our kitchen.

The late Mary Faulk Koock, longtime caterer and author of the legendary 1965 The Texas Cookbook, shares two chili recipes in her book, and both contain beef. Lyndon Johnson suggested chili become the state food of Texas — beef chili, that is — and the first chili cook-off took place in remote Terlingua, Texas, in 1967.

Chili was a Texas food, not Mexican, first sold on the square of San Antonio in the late 1800s. The word comes from the Spanish chile con carne, meaning "pepper with meat."

Breaking these hard and fast chili-making rules would take time. The first white chili surfaced out West in the late 1980s, where it was seen as an example of a new brand of Southwestern cooking.

The late Michael Roberts, the adventuresome chef of a Los Angeles restaurant called Trumps [ed. note: no relation] made headlines when he combined duck with white bean chili for a Southwestern take on French cassoulet. And as the 80s ended, food writers saw this new white chili as a fresh and much-needed departure from the heavy red meat version.

While bean chili was new. It turned heads and was a sophisticated way to make chili for guests. It has been embraced by Southern cooks because everyone loves chili, and who didn't like the idea of adding chicken? And it was a huge hit in Texas, just like it was everywhere else.

The first recipes — and probably the best — were the ones in which you cooked your own whole chicken or bone-in chicken breasts in seasoned water until done. You used that broth to cook your white beans, but only after you had soaked the beans overnight in cold water or did a quick soak by pouring boiling water over the dried beans and let them plump up for an hour, before draining, rinsing, and then cooking to doneness.

Nowadays there are all sorts of short-cuts to make white bean chili. Begin with cooked chicken from a supermarket-roasted bird and use canned white beans and you slash the prep time by hours. Pull the recipe together and pour the ingredients into a slow cooker, and you can let the chili simmer most of the day while you clean the house and get ready for the party. Or, for weekdays while you are at work, white bean chili in a slow cooker allows you to come home to a kitchen perfumed with the zesty aromas of the Southwest.

My White Bean Chili Isn't Your White Bean Chili
What I love about cooking and repeating recipes through the years is that you can adapt them to suit your changing tastes and family dynamics. That's how I cook, especially when I’m cooking white chili.

When my children were young and running mad through the kitchen, I relied on the last-minute ease of canned white beans and pre-cooked chicken. But these days, as an empty-nester, I have more time to cook the beans from scratch, and I often stash the cooked beans in the freezer, read to thaw for soups and chilis. Then I'll cook my own bone-in chicken breasts, and use the broth in the chili recipe. And if I find some exotic new pepper I’ll toss it in the pot.

I've seen while chili garnished with slivers of fresh radishes for crunch. I've topped it with shredded cheddar or crumbled queso fresco. And I'd be happy to pile a salad of garnish on top: arugula, cilantro, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil — that kind of magic. That way I can eat that bowl of chili and be guilt-free.

And honestly, who cares if white bean chili was born in Los Angeles and isn't a Southern native? I adopted it a long time ago.

This favorite quick recipe comes from my Nashville friend Missy Myers. Enjoy!

Anne Byrn's White Bean Chili

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies with its juices or 1/2 cup finely chopped red, yellow or green bell peppers
4 cups chopped, cooked chicken (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans great northern or navy beans, drained
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or crumbled queso fresco
Sour cream
Fresh cilantro leaves
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped avocado or guacamole
Tortilla chips

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, celery, garlic and bell peppers, if using. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken and green chilies, if using.

In a large pot, combine the beans, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, cayenne and enough water to fill an empty can of beans. Stir in the onion and chicken mixture and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer until the chili thickens, 35 to 40 minutes.

Season to taste with salt, pepper, cumin and cayenne. Ladle into bowls and serve with toppings.