Saucy White Beans with Spinach

by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.94 from 33 votes
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When I need dinner quickly, I often turn to canned beans. They’re inexpensive (still, thankfully), shelf-stable so I can keep them on hand, and they can be easily transformed into a simple but delicious meal using ingredients in my pantry. These Saucy White Beans with Spinach are one of those quick canned bean concoctions that I made one night when I was hungry. They’re easy, cozy, filling, and inexpensive!

Overhead view of a skillet full of saucy white beans with garlic bread on the side.

What’s in Saucy White Beans?

This is a SUPER easy skillet meal made simply with some canned white beans, garlic, tomatoes, a few herbs, and fresh spinach. Boom. That’s it. Simple, delicious food, just the way I like it! That being said, you can always add more things if you want to make it a little fancier. ;)

What Else Can I Add?

If you have the time and energy to make your meal a little more complex, here are a few things you can add to take your saucy white beans up a notch:

  • Bacon, salt pork, Italian sausage, or pancetta: sauté the bacon in the skillet first and use the rendered fat in place of the olive oil.
  • Burrata or ricotta: after the beans are finished cooking, dot on a few dollops of fresh cheese for a nice creamy contrast.
  • Fresh basil: if you’re lucky enough to have a basil plant, toss a few fresh leaves on top for some bold, fresh flavor!
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: if you don’t have access to fresh grape tomatoes, these beans would also be great with a few chopped sun dried tomatoes.
  • Toasted bread crumbs: Add a crunchy topping by mixing some melted butter with bread crumbs and briefly toasting them in a skillet or in a hot oven, then sprinkle them over the skillet.
  • A pinch or two of crushed red pepper will add a nice spicy kick!

How to Serve Saucy White Beans

My preferred way to enjoy these beans is with a side of garlic bread for dipping up that saucy goodness. But if you’re not into garlic bread, you can add some cooked pasta to the skillet and toss until everything is mixed together for a quick bowl of pasta. OR, spoon your saucy white beans over a bed of rice.

And I’m all about adding a quick and easy side salad to every meal just to add a dose of freshness!

Overhead view of a bowl of saucy white beans with garlic bread on the side.
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Saucy White Beans with Spinach

4.94 from 33 votes
Saucy white beans with spinach is an easy and filling meal made with canned beans that you can throw together on busy weeknight.
Finished white beans in the skillet with garlic bread in the side.
Servings 4 1 cup
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.26)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved ($2.29)
  • 2 15oz. cans cannellini beans, drained ($1.78)
  • 1/2 cup water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.36)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach ($0.60)
  • 1/8 tsp salt ($0.01)

Instructions 

  • Mince the garlic and slice the tomatoes in half. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute, or just until the garlic becomes very fragrant.
  • Add the tomatoes to the skillet and stir to combine.
  • Add the drained canned white beans to the skillet (do not rinse the beans, the residual starchy liquid helps create the sauce), along with the water, oregano, and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Allow the beans to come up to a simmer. Simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and the liquid reduces to a light sauce (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the Parmesan cheese to the skillet and stir until it has melted into the sauce. If the sauce becomes too thick or dry, you can add a splash of water to loosen it up.
  • Add the fresh spinach to the skillet and stir to combine. Allow the spinach to wilt.
  • Taste the beans and adjust the salt, pepper, or other seasonings to your liking. Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 361kcalCarbohydrates: 52gProtein: 19gFat: 10gSodium: 213mgFiber: 12g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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Close up side view of saucy white beans in the skillet.

How to Make Saucy White Beans – Step by Step Photos

Garlic and oil in the skillet.

Mince four cloves of garlic. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about one minute, or just until the garlic becomes really fragrant.

Tomatoes added to the skillet.

Add one pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half) to the skillet and stir to combine.

White beans being poured into the skillet.

Drain two 15oz. cans of white beans, then add them to the skillet. I do not rinse the beans because the little bit of residual starchy liquid (called aquafaba) helps create the sauce.

Herbs and water added to the skillet.

Also add ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine, then allow the beans to come up to a simmer.

Simmered beans and tomatoes.

Simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and the liquid has reduced into a light sauce.

Grated Parmesan being sprinkled into the skillet.

Add ¼ cup grated Parmesan to the skillet. Stir the Parmesan into the beans until it has melted in. If the sauce becomes too dry, you can add a little more water to loosen it up a bit.

Fresh spinach added to the skillet.

Add two big handfuls (about two cups, loosely packed) of fresh spinach to the skillet. Stir the spinach into the beans and allow the spinach to wilt.

Finished saucy white beans with spinach.

Once the spinach is wilted, give the beans a taste and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.

Finished white beans in the skillet with garlic bread in the side.

Serve immediately with garlic bread, pasta, or a bowl of rice to sop up all that delicious sauciness!

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Comments

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  1. super tasty, easy and quick! Saved me some money when I moved into my first apartment :) Thanks, Beth!!

  2. To save a few more nickels. I cooked up dried white beans then used for the recipe. Your recipe was delicious! Quick and easy. Thank you!

  3. Tasty & quick recipe to make for 4 meals over the weekend. I added onion and habenero pepper and double the recipe love it too easy to customize!!!

  4. Tasty and filling recipe. Even better the next day. I didn’t have any fresh tomatoes, so I used 1/2 of a 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes that I crushed by hand. It created a lovely sauce. I also added one filet of anchovy to the sauce to give some umami and mezzi rigatoni pasta at the end and mixed it all together. Great flavor and easily customizable recipe. Thank you!

  5. Perfect recipe! Could not believe this recipe was so delicious and I actually had ingredients on hand!
    I used a can of cannellini beans and a can of great northern beans (trying to clean out the pantry) i didn’t have fresh spinach but did have half a bag of spring mix (which does have spinach in it). Fantastic meal for a frigid day. :)

  6. Delicious and so easy to make. I just eliminated the oil and used vegan cheese. So good.

  7. I just think its funny that I got here by looking for gluten free recipes and then the recipe tells me to eat it with bread haha.

    It was tasty all on its own :)

  8. Yummy! I cheated and used frozen spinach. It was delicious. Only modification: I did add some broth instead of water.

    1. Hoping to try this soon with your suggestion. So many recipes call for pasta water and then they have no taste. I think the chicken broth will be perfect. Thanks! 😊

    2. This came out amazing. I did add the dollops of ricotta at the end. I also added some lemon zest to it as well. It really adds a great flavor to this dish. My husband loved it!