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15-Minute Creamy White Beans with Lemon & Garlic

This gorgeous creamy white beans recipe is the perfect quick and easy one-pan recipe, excellent served with lots of crusty bread to mop everything up. This recipe is ready in just 15 minutes and is one of my favorite ways to cook with cannellini beans.

overhead shot of creamy white beans topped with soft cheese, basil, and lemon zest

This recipe is similar to my ultra-popular viral creamy butter beans recipe, but uses cannellini beans instead – a smaller, creamier white bean variety!

I love serving these creamy white beans in the summer with a serving of crusty bread, perfect for a light lunch or dinner. You could also serve them as a flavorful side dish if you prefer! For more beany-goodness, try these red pesto butter beans, these harissa beans, or this delicious Greek baked beans recipe.

Ingredient Notes

The exact quantities of the ingredients you need for this recipe are included in the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Here, I’ve added a few notes on the ingredients you need, plus a few potential substitutions you could make if you can’t eat/find a certain ingredient.

creamy white beans ingredient shot: veg stock, seasonings, white beans, cherry tomatoes, lemon, basil, garlic, cheese, and soft cheese
  • Cannellini beans: This recipe uses cannellini beans, which are a medium-sized white bean between navy beans and butter beans. They’re mild in flavor and incredibly creamy, so perfect for this recipe. I used canned cannellini beans for this recipe as it’s so much quicker! You could soak and cook dried cannellini beans if you prefer though.
  • Olive oil: A good quality olive oil makes a big difference in this recipe! If you can’t use olive oil, any neutral oil will also work.
  • Garlic: I used three cloves of fresh garlic for this recipe, which pairs perfectly with the creamy, lemony sauce. Use less if you prefer!
  • Cherry tomatoes: Fresh cherry tomatoes, simmered until bursting, add a delicious summery addition to this recipe.
  • Vegetable stock: Vegetable stock helps to add heaps of flavor to this recipe. If you’re not vegetarian, you could also use chicken stock.
  • Seasonings: This creamy white beans recipe has a simple seasoning blend of thyme, rosemary, basil, salt, and black pepper.
  • Pecorino cheese: Pecorino cheese is very similar to Parmesan cheese, but it’s often far easier to find a brand that’s suitable for vegetarians!
  • Lemon: I use the zest and juice for this recipe.
  • Toppings: This recipe is finished with fresh basil and a scoop of soft cheese. Both are optional, but highly recommended!!

Variations & Substitutions

If you can’t find certain ingredients or need to substitute something, here are a few options available to you:

  • If you don’t have cannellini beans, use butter beans (like in this creamy butter bean recipe), or navy beans.
  • If you can’t use cherry tomatoes, use fresh diced plum tomatoes. Don’t use canned tomatoes.
  • To make this recipe vegan, omit the pecorino cheese and use vegan cream cheese instead of the cream cheese. 
close up shot of creamy white beans topped with basil, soft cheese, and lemon zest

How To Make This Creamy White Beans Recipe

Again, the exact step-by-step instructions and ingredient quantities will be in the recipe card at the bottom of this page. 

Below is an overview of making this recipe, plus some process shots to help you visualize how this recipe should turn out.

Step 1) Assemble Your Ingredients

This quick and easy recipe comes together quite quickly, so I find it helps to prepare all of your ingredients ahead of time!

Step 2) Saute Your Garlic & Tomatoes

Heat your oil in your pan, then saute your minced garlic for a minute or two before adding the cherry tomatoes, followed by the herbs, then the vegetable stock.

Cover the pan and leave the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and you can gently crush them with the back of your spoon. 

Step 3) Add The Cannellini Beans

Tip in your drained canned cannellini beans, and stir them into the sauce. Leave the beans to simmer until the sauce thickens (5 – 8 minutes!).

Step 4) Add Lemon & Cheese

Turn off the heat, and grate in the Pecorino cheese, lemon zest, and squeeze over the juice. Taste your beans and adjust the seasonings based on your preferences. Scatter over the fresh basil and add a scoop of the soft cheese to finish.

Top Tips \ Chef’s Notes

  • Cannellini beans can break apart quite easily, so make sure you’ve allowed the sauce to simmer and thicken slightly before adding the beans – otherwise, they’ll end up quite mushy!
  • Make sure you drain your canned cannellini beans before adding them to the pan, or your dish will end up far too liquid-y! If you would prefer to use the stock from your beans, omit or reduce the vegetable stock.
  • For an extra zingy flavor, add another lemon – zest and juice. Add the zest over the top of the beans so you get some zingy with every bite.
  • This dish is great eaten with a spoon, but best mopped up with crusty bread!

Storage

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 – 5 days. You could also freeze this recipe for up to three months (but be aware that the texture of the sauce may change slightly).

Defrost your beans in the fridge, and make sure you’ve used any defrosted food within 24 hours.

close up of creamy white beans with basil, soft cheese, and lemon zest topping

How To Serve

I think these creamy white beans are best served with a few slices of crusty bread, toasted and drizzled with olive oil!

You could also serve them on top of a baked potato (check out this cheesy stuffed Turkish baked potato recipe!), on toast, or as a side dish with other main dishes.

FAQs

Can I use dried beans?

Yes, you could use dried white beans for this recipe, although be aware that this will increase the overall cooking time significantly. You’ll need to soak and cook the beans before using them in this recipe.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Yes, this recipe will be suitable for a vegan diet if you omit the hard cheese and use a vegan cream cheese instead of the soft cheese to finish.

15-Minute Creamy White Beans with Lemon & Garlic

15-Minute Creamy White Beans with Lemon & Garlic

Yield: 4 portions
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This delicious creamy white beans recipe is ready in just 15 minutes and the perfect quick and easy one pan meal served with crusty bread on the side.

Ingredients

  • 2 x 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 20g pecorino cheese
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 20g fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp soft cheese

Instructions

  1. Heat your oil in a pan and add the minced garlic, sauteing for 1 minute.
  2. Tip in the cherry tomatoes and herbs, and stir together.
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and cover the pan, leaving it to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and use the back of your spoon to gently crush the tomatoes.
  4. Tip in the cannellini beans, stir, then add the lemon zest and juice, and grate in the pecorino cheese.
  5. Stir everything together and leave to simmer for 5 - 8 minutes until the sauce has thickened. 
  6. Top with the fresh basil and a large scoop of soft cheese. Add more cheese and lemon zest according to your tastes.
  7. Serve with some slices of crusty bread and enjoy!

Notes

  • Cannellini beans can break apart quite easily, so make sure you’ve allowed the sauce to simmer and thicken slightly before adding the beans - otherwise, they’ll end up quite mushy!
  • Make sure you drain your canned cannellini beans before adding them to the pan, or your dish will end up far too liquid-y! If you would prefer to use the stock from your beans, omit or reduce the vegetable stock.
  • For an extra zingy flavor, add another lemon - zest and juice. Add the zest over the top of the beans so you get some zingy with every bite.
  • This dish is great eaten with a spoon, but best mopped up with crusty bread!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 423Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 1010mgCarbohydrates: 62gFiber: 14gSugar: 9gProtein: 23g

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