This creamy white beans, lemon, and dill recipe is the perfect warm side dish to a big salad. It also goes well on the side of roasted or grilled meats. Made with garlic and cream, there’s a dairy-free modification as well.
Vegetarian | Mediterranean Diet | Cooking Time About 15 Minutes
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Cooking With Lemon And Dill
We started making this dish because I had leftover dill. Believe it or not, dill is not easy to find where we live in Spain. I can find it at a handful of shops, but not all the time.
When I can find it, I often end up trying to find recipes to make with dill to use it up. That’s how a lot of our recipes come to life – leftover ingredients.
So, I had leftover dill. We always have lemons in the house. I use them in a lot of my hummus recipes. Eric also uses lemon peel for garnish for our gin tonics. (In Spain, we say gin tonic, without the and).
These two ingredients, though, go so well together. The citrus from the lemon pairs well with the earthy, almost grassy aroma of the dill. Pair all of this with creamy cannellini beans, and you have an easy-to-make, protein-rich side dish.
How To Serve White Beans With Lemon And Dill
Because this recipe is super easy to make, it goes really well with roasted or grilled meats. I often make this with marinated rabbit, but I know that’s not common in the US. This white bean dish also pairs with roasted chicken and even grilled steak.
For a healthy mid-week dinner, serve it alongside a light salad. By serving beans on the side of a salad, you get the healthiness and the fiber from the salad along with the protein of the beans. This helps you stay full longer without eating meat.
Cooking one can of white beans for this recipe is enough for a side dish for two or three people. It’s easy, though, to use two cans for more side-dish servings. Just add an extra tablespoon of heavy cream and use two lemons instead of one. Easy!
Check out these other recipes with beans that make great side dishes:
Ingredients For This White Beans Side Dish
The main flavor of this dish comes from the lemon and dill. First, use a cheese grater or zester (or microplane) to zest a bit of lemon peel. The lemon zest is used as a garnish to add a little color and citrusy aroma to the dish. I love my OXO lemon zester, which is super easy to use.
Then, use a sharp knife or vegetable peeler to peel 4 or 5 long strips of lemon peel. The lemon peel is used to infuse the olive oil with citrus flavors and aromas.
The olive oil is also infused with minced or pressed garlic. I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the beans. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
I use a garlic press for most of my white bean recipes. Here it’s a little more important because chunks of garlic can be a little stronger.
Freshly chopped dill is the other main flavoring for this dish. Add the dill at the same time as the white beans. Not only does the dill add an earthy flavor, but it also adds some fabulous color to the white beans dish.
The white beans should be drained in a colander and rinsed with cool water. I prefer this recipe with canned white beans because it makes the dish so easy to make. Because the beans are already cooked, it only takes a few minutes for them to heat up. Super easy.
The last ingredient is a touch of heavy cream, whipping cream, or half and half. This makes the dish super creamy. It is possible to skip this step. See the modification below for a dairy-free variation.
How To Make White Beans, Lemon, And Dill
Add the olive oil, garlic, and lemon peel into a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Stir the ingredients and cook 3-5 minutes until the garlic and lemon infuse the olive oil.
Before the garlic turns brown, add the white beans, fresh dill, lemon juice, and stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and warm.
Serve warm with a touch of lemon zest for garnish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4-5 strips of lemon peel
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tablespoon of heavy cream
- Lemon zest for garnish
- Add the olive oil, garlic, and lemon peel into a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir the ingredients and cook 3-5 minutes until the garlic and lemon infuse the olive oil.
- Before the garlic turns brown, add the white beans, fresh dill, lemon juice, and stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and warm.
- Serve warm with a touch of lemon zest for garnish.
This recipe makes 2-3 servings as a side dish
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 206Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 300mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 8gSugar: 1gProtein: 10g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
This recipe calls for only a little bit of cream to make the dish super creamy. It’s not required, though. For people keeping to a dairy-free diet, there’s an alternative.
Take one tablespoon of white beans and mashed them with a fork in a small bowl. After cooking the garlic and lemon peel in the olive oil, but before adding the bulk of the white beans, add the small amount of mashed white beans.
Blend the white beans into the olive oil until there is a thick paste. Then, add the rest of the ingredients. The mashed white beans will add a bit of creaminess to the dish without the use of heavy cream or dairy.
White Beans, Lemon & Dill – FAQs
I’ve tried using cheese graters in the past to zest lemon but recently started using a purpose-built lemon zester. I love this OXO lemon zester because it has tiny holes that help to zest the lemon easily. It’s also got that classic OXO grip, making it easy to use – way easier than trying to use a cheese grater for zesting lemon.
Dill comes in weed form, like an herb, and as dill seed. Dill is commonly used in appetizers and starters because it is believe to help open up the digestive track. It has a fresh, almost grassy aroma, and also has hints of lemon and anise. That’s why dill goes so well with lemon.