cannellini beans with sage

by Michelle

White bean mash –  I know – sounds disgusting. How does white bean paste sound? I think the problem is not so much the ‘mash’ but rather the ‘bean’. A lot of people think that they do not like beans. It’s that whole childhood memory of having to gag down a bowl of sickeningly sweet canned ‘beans in molasses’ for dinner on Saturday night with a couple of fried, shriveled hotdogs on the side…

I thought about changing mash to smash but that would indicate more effort than is required. I could have used puree, caviar, tapenade or mousse just so that I would be able to keep you interested enough to give this recipe a try, but the truth is that the beans are simply mashed.

I am asking you to trust me. This is one of the most versatile dishes in my repertoire. I use it as a garnish, veggie side, base for a fish stack, filling for small pastas and as a warm dip. Ignore the main ingredient and focus on the other flavours. The garlic, anchovies, chillies and sage catapult this dish into a  salty, spicy bite of perfection!


19 ounce can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

7 anchovy fillets

dried red chilli flakes, to taste

1 tablespoon dried sage leaves, crushed

1 cup water

Place oil in skillet over medium heat.

Add garlic and allow it to sizzle.

Add anchovies and chillies and saute for 2 minutes.

Add white beans, sage and water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.

Simmer mixture, stirring occasionally until beans have absorbed water and are very soft.

Using a fork, mash beans until they resemble lumpy mashed potatoes.

If this is your first bite of white bean mash, spread some on a bit of grilled baguette. I bet that you will have trouble not licking the pot clean!

Thanks for reading.