How To Make Plant-Based, Protein-Rich Crusty Bread With Cannellini Beans in 10 Minutes

Photo: Stocksy/Laura Adani
If the majority of musings that float around in your mind between the hours of 11am and 2pm daily dance to the tune of: What on earth shall I eat for lunch today?—Well, us too. At long last, the answer is served ahead.

Well+Good's newly-launched digital series, #WorkFromHomeLunch, aims to prevent the painstaking midday meal decision-making session—because nothing's worse than having to play a game of Tetris with leftovers to assemble an energy-boosting lunch between meetings. If simple, highly-nutritious, fuss-free recipes that come together quickly are your speed, tune in.

On the first episode of the series, Brooklyn-based, Chicago-bred chef and media personality Elena Besser shares her protein-rich recipe for cannellini beans with crusty bread that's perfect for cozy season. Ahead we delve into the nutritional perks of the dish, plus how to make it in just three simple steps.


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Experts In This Article
  • Elena Besser, Brooklyn-based, Chicago-bred chef, and TV host

The health benefits of this delicious cannellini beans on toast recipe abound

Aside from the usual suspects (salt, pepper, olive oil) all you’ll need to make this delicious dish are five simple ingredients: shallot, lemon, spinach, cannellini beans, and leafy green herbs.

For starters, lemons are rich in nutritional perks, especially antioxidants. Aside from the brightness and acidity the citrus adds to the dish, lemons are a potent source of vitamin C: one fruit contains about 50 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, and about 20 percent of the recommended daily amount in just two tablespoons of its juice. Lemons are also loaded with polyphenols, an anti-inflammatory plant compound that’s known for its ability to help boost mood and longevity, as are the anti-inflammatory herbs you'll use in the dish.

Spinach, meanwhile, is a super source of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin K. (Mic drop much?)

cannellini beans recipe overhead
Photo: W+G Creative

And lastly, the ultimate longevity-boosting allstar: beans. They’re a staple ingredient for many of the longest-living people on the planet, according to Blue Zones founder and longevity expert Dan Buettner (and living proof that good things do come in small packages). A one-cup serving of beans contains nearly 70 percent of your recommended daily intake of folate, a B-vitamin associated with long-term brain health. Cannellini beans contain roughly 15 grams of plant-based protein per cup, so pile. 'em. on.

Honestly, we could go on and on about the health benefits of this delicious bean and crusty bread dish—but we’ll let the recipe do the talking. Curative, cozy, and crunchy AF. What more could you ask for? To learn how to make the full recipe for cannellini beans on toast step-by-step, be sure to watch the full video.

cannellini beans recipe close up
Photo: W+G Creative

Cannellini beans on toast recipe

Yields 3-4 servings

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced, divided
1 lemon, juice and zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (Diamond crystal kosher salt)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups spinach, packed
1, 14-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup fresh soft-herbs (such as parsley, basil, chives, and cilantro), finely chopped
Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

1. Add half the shallot to a medium bowl with the juice and zest of one lemon. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper and set aside.

2. Add one-third cup olive oil to a skillet over medium-low heat. Then, add the remaining half of sliced shallots, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots soften, about three to four minutes. Next, add the spinach and continue to cook until the spinach has wilted, about one to two minutes. Finally, add the beans and cook until warmed through, about five minutes more. Remove from the heat, and garnish with the fresh herbs, the reserved shallots, lemon, and stir to combine.

3. Meanwhile, place two tablespoons of olive oil into a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat, add the sliced bread and cook for two minutes per side until golden and crusty, season with salt and enjoy. Serve the beans with crusty bread, and enjoy!

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Mullins AP, Arjmandi BH. Health Benefits of Plant-Based Nutrition: Focus on Beans in Cardiometabolic Diseases. Nutrients. 2021 Feb 5;13(2):519. doi: 10.3390/nu13020519. PMID: 33562498; PMCID: PMC7915747.

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