Cannellini Beans with Savoy Spinach

Sauteed white beans and spinach are a classic Italian side dish, but this version with garlicky and lemony cannellini beans, crunchy savoy spinach, fried breadcrumbs and pieces of sweet black garlic is a great vegan main in its own right. While you could also use ordinary spinach, savoy spinach has more crunch and texture and doesn’t wilt as quickly either, which makes it ideal for stir-frying. 


Ingredients (for 2 as a main):

300 g wild spinach, stalks included

2 cans of cannellini beans

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

black pepper


6 cloves of black garlic

for the pangrattato:

1 slice of toasted or old bread

olive oil



A heap of organic and local, savoy spinach: the leaves are large and irregular and they grow on edible, juicy stalks that remind me a little of baby bok choy.

  • Start with the pangrattato, use a pestle and mortar or food processor to turn your bread into crumbs. Fry with olive oil and salt and set aside.
  • Cut off the base where the stalks of the spinach are attached to each other, then thoroughly wash the spinach and pat it dry with a clean towel or dry it using a salad spinner.
  • Cut the leaves and stalks into strips.


  • Drain the beans in a sieve and rinse them in cold water.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan and add the crushed white garlic.
  • After a minute add the beans and fry for a couple of minutes before adding the spinach.
  • When the leaves start to wilt, add black pepper, a bit of sea salt and the lemon zest.
  • Divide onto two plates and top off with the pangrattato and little pieces of black garlic.
  • To incorporate the black garlic a little better into the dish, you could also boil the cloves in a little bit of water until they turn soft and then puree them and drizzle the sauce over the beans like a dressing.


29 thoughts on “Cannellini Beans with Savoy Spinach

  1. Hey! I’ve been experimenting with veganism for the last 4 days, and have started to run out of ideas! Thank you for sharing and providing some inspiration. Your photography is gorgeous! This recipe is a true stunner.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! Garlic and lemon are always a winning combination, but I was pleasantly surprised by the wild spinach. I bought it because it was local and organic, but it also stayed a little crunchy so it balanced the soft beans perfectly!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, I’ve looked it up and it seems to be surrounded by a bit of linguistic confusion. It’s called wild spinach here in the Netherlands, but it’s actually a more mature version of ordinary spinach and also sometimes called Italian spinach. Not to be confused with another plant called lamb’s quarter that’s also sometimes referred to as wild spinach.


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