Summer White Bean Ragout

Summer White Bean Ragout

This might be my favorite recipe of the summer. It’s a quick ragout of hearty white beans and sweet summer tomatoes in a robustly flavored broth. I love how the tomatoes — just barely cooked — burst in your mouth when you bite into them, and how fresh basil, mint and a splash of balsamic vinegar liven the dish up. Serve it as a meatless main course, ideally with toasted garlic bread for sopping up the broth, or as a side dish to grilled meat.

I suggest using dried beans if you can (it’s hardly any more work than putting them on the stove and forgetting about them) but canned will work fine in a pinch. Just be sure to use a brand you’re familiar with. I’ve had good results with Goya, but others — particularly the organic brands — can be downright mushy because they don’t contain any firming agents. Basically, if you want beans with a nice bite to them and wish to avoid the additives, the only way is to soak and cook the beans yourself.

Begin by cooking the onions in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic (I always use my garlic press) and cook for a minute more.

Stir in the cherry tomatoes.

Then add the beans, chicken broth, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar.

Simmer for a few minutes to warm the beans and tomatoes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh herbs right before serving so they keep their pretty green color.

Enjoy!

Summer White Bean Ragout

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Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound dried cannellini beans, soaked and cooked (or two 15-ounce cans, drained and well-rinsed, preferably Goya)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped yellow onions, from about one large or two small onions
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Do not brown. Add the garlic and cook one minute more.
  2. Add the tomatoes, beans, chicken broth, tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, but it depends on what type of beans you use; canned will have some salt already.) Bring to a simmer and cook until tomatoes are slightly softened but still hold their shape, 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Note that the sauce may have a strong vinegar flavor at first, but it will mellow out. Right before serving, stir in the fresh basil and mint. Transfer to serving dish, garnish with more fresh herbs if desired, and serve hot.
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  • Patti Mays

    OMGOSH I just can’t wait to try this! How perfect for garden-grown tomatoes, mint and basil. And I happen to have grown them all! Yahoo!! Thanks so much for this terrific recipe!

  • Karen

    Can’t wait to try this one and will make corned bread or muffins to go with. Yum!!!!

  • barbara

    Will definitely try this. Sounds great. I’ll just use a sprinkling of olive oil in the pan. You don’t say how much and I’m sure it doesn’t really matter

    • Jenn

      Oops! It’s a 1/4 cup. I’ll fix that…sorry!

  • DD

    Sounds great. Do you know if this would freeze well? Would be great to have some in individual containers for lunches.
    Thanks

    • Jenn

      I do think it’d freeze well. Hope you enjoy!

  • I bet the combination of flavors in this are out of this world. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Anne Freedman

    Please remember NOT to call a dish vegetarian if it has chicken broth in it. Chicken is not a vegetable.

    Otherwise, sounds delish and will try it with vegetable broth or even water and seasonings.

    • Jenn

      My fault, Anne. I meant to write chicken or vegetable broth in the ingredient list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Anne Freedman

        No problem, I’m married to a strict vegetarian so I’m hyper aware. A local restaurant waiter once greeted us (at a carefully pre-arranged birthday feast) by saying…”oh, you’re the vegetarian…would you prefer the fish or chicken?”

        I, on the other hand, am an omnivore.

  • Carol Bumpas

    I just found your website, and I love the recipes I have tried so far. This one looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Jenn

      So nice to hear, Carol. Please let me know how it turns out!

  • Berit

    I’m new here too. Recipe sounds great. I may try rosemary instead of mint since that’s what I have on hand

    • Jenn

      Welcome! Rosemary will be delicious.

  • Tracy

    Quick question – what is the best way to cook the dried beans. Haven’t done it before and when I looked online, I have found varying cook times – I don’t want them to get too mushy.

    Thanks for putting this recipe together!! :)

    • Jenn

      Hi Tracy, This is a good article on how to cook them: link to marthastewart.com

      In my experience, cannellini beans take about an hour to cook (after being soaked overnight). Keep the heat as low as possible so they don’t split and get mushy.

  • Andea

    I am not familiar with cannellini beans. Suggestions please?

    • Jenn

      Hi Andrea, Cannellini beans look like white kidney beans. They should be easy to find, but if not you can substitute Great Northern Beans.

  • Debi K.

    It’s 9:45am here in New Jersey. I showed my husband the picture of this recipe and he said…”That look delicious….go make it now!”
    I will make it for dinner tonight!

  • Candi

    What can I substitute for the vinegar…my husband would love this…but he hates all vinegar :(

    • Jenn

      Hi Candi, You can just leave it out…it will still be delicious. But if you think it needs a little zing, try a squeeze of lemon.

  • lindsey

    DELICIOUS!!!!!!

  • NonaLidia

    I too grow my own tomatoes, basil and mint. I did it and it is wonderful! Simply DELICIOUS! Thank you for such a great recipe. A great Vegetarian meal. All in one pot.

  • Just finished making this…added mushrooms and sweet red peppers…and it is amazing! My spice of choice were fresh basil and parsley…yum yum Have tried a few of your recipes and am always pleased with the results!
    Thanks for helping me out in the kitchen..will keep watching for your emails :)

  • Martha

    I just fixed this for lunch about a half hour ago. Didn’t realize how long the dried beans would take to cook so I fixed it with canned beans while the dried ones were simmering. That was a good idea because every single drop of this ragout is gone already. I’ll make more for lunches this week.

    The fresh basil and mint combo is brilliant. And I don’t really like mint all that much.

    Also, I used the No Chicken Broth made by Imagine. No one ever can tell I use fake chicken broth. It is delicious and in soups I prefer it to vegetable broth.

    My kids are not vegetarians and they loved it.

  • barbara

    Made this tonight as a side dish. It was fantastic!!! I agree…the combination of mint and basil (fresh from my garden) make it. Used dried beans. Will make a salad with the rest of the beans adding some peppers and of course my favorite…spicy Italian dressing.

  • I made this a few days ago, to rave reviews. I used canned Goya beans, and our garden ready tomatoes, basil, and mint. The family swooned. I polished my halo. Thanks so much for this lovely recipe.

    The only change I made was to add the basil and mint well before I served the dish. It doesn’t appear to have affected the flavor or the eating experience. Aesthetically, the fresher those herbs, the better, but flavor-wise, not sure it makes a difference.

  • Liesel

    Made this for family supper tonight. My oldest son said “this is rockin’ my socks” as he helped himself to seconds. I used dried northern beans, since I could not find dried cannellini. Also, served the ragout along with small pasta shells for the younger set. Before adding the herbs, the stew was GOOD, but after adding the basil and mint, it was GREAT. This combination of herbs really brightens up the ragout. So glad I decided to put mint in the garden this past spring! Thanks for another easy and delicious family recipe.

  • Mary

    I made this dish for dinner tonight and used fresh October beans, which I bought at our local farmers’ market. (I’ve never cooked October beans so I had no idea how they would work in this recipe. No worries since they were very tasty.) An added plus regarding fresh beans, cooking time was only about 10 minutes. All ingredients were local except for the chicken broth and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious. My daughter and I loved it. I plan on making it again.

  • Jenny

    This was delicous! It was somewhat similar to a sauce I’ve used to serve over pasta so I added slightly more broth, and added a bag of spinach to it so that it wilted and then served it over penne. I would have been happy paying for that in a restaurant! So yummy and healthy. Definitely a new addition to our rotation of dishes.

  • Nicole

    This was absolutely heavenly! I’ve never used dried beans before, but I followed Martha’s method that you posted, & they came out great. I didn’t have any mint, so I used a little fresh thyme & parsley – I also had some celery leaves & half of a red bell pepper that I needed to use up, so that was tossed in as well. Hubby went back for seconds & took the leftovers to work today, so I guess it was a hit all around! :)

  • Priscilla

    Looks yummy! Can’t wait to try it out, always looking for more vegetarian dishes! Thank you!

  • Louise

    Hi Jen,

    My lunch today was you’re Zucchini Fritters with Feta and Dill and Summer White Bean Ragout which I’m eating right now. Both recipes are very delicious. I always enjoy new ways to use the veggie’s out of my garden. I will be making these again. I look forward reading your previous posts.

    Cheers,
    Louise

  • I made this ragout for dinner this evening. It was fabulous. Although I do have fresh herbs in my garden, I chose not to add them. Used vegetable broth and it was delicious. Next time I’ll add some basil and mint. Thank you for this healthful quick and easy meal.

  • Mel

    This looks amazing, I’m going to make this today!!

  • Sharon

    Amazing! Love the fresh flavors. This will be a family favorite for sure! Thanks for sharing.

  • I made this yesterday and it turned out delicious in spite of me forgetting to throw the basil in at the end! I used canned cannelini beans. I will add some roast turkey to it tonight for my dinner.

  • Tracy

    I love the white bean ragout at Cava restaurant and was so excited to try this recipe. I have made it twice, once with dried beans and once with canned. I have to say, I preferred the taste of the dish with the canned beans (plus it was a time saver!) I served it with chicken kebabs and the fabulous tzatziki recipe on the site.

  • Pam

    I was worried that this dish would be too heavy, too wintery. Boy, was I wrong! It was perfect and light for a yummy summer or early fall day!

  • Mary Thompson

    delish, there were no leftovers!

  • Jennifer Smith

    I loved this. Simple to make, very tasty. I made no changes except that I omitted the mint. Also, this is a healthy recipe so I feel great eating it and making it again.

  • Anne

    I threw in a few handfuls of fresh babay spinach.YUM!!!!

  • Berit

    This is another soup that turned out beautifully. As noted previously-I used Rosemary instead of mint, but was still delicious and easy to make.

  • Jessica

    This sounds so good! If I hadn’t already eaten, I’d be making this for dinner! Can’t wait to try, thanks so much! :)

  • David

    When I first saw this recipe, I thought it would be heavy, but the herbs selected do make this a light and refreshing. I tried it with rosemary instead of the mint and it was a perfect fall side dish.

  • Louise

    I have been making your Summer White Bean Ragout since I found your site. I’ve added dill, rosemary or thyme instead of mint depending what is plentiful in the garden. Please count me in on the cookware giveaway.
    Cheers
    Louise
    To plant a garden is to believe in the future

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