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!
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!
Saucy White Beans with Spinach
- 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)
- 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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How to Make Saucy White Beans – Step by Step Photos
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.
Add one pint of grape tomatoes (sliced in half) to the skillet and stir to combine.
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.
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.
Simmer the beans, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down and the liquid has reduced into a light sauce.
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.
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.
Once the spinach is wilted, give the beans a taste and add salt, pepper, or other seasonings to taste.
Serve immediately with garlic bread, pasta, or a bowl of rice to sop up all that delicious sauciness!