Tuscan white beans and broccoli rabe

Morning!  I’ve been posting a lot in the afternoons/evenings recently, and I forgot how nice it feels to post in the morning.  I have a new recipe to share today; my mom and sister came over last night so I made dinner for everyone.  You can thank my friend (and NMA-reader since day 1) Pete for reminding me that I have “sold out” because I haven’t posted many recipes recently, and he has a good point.  Not only do recipes make good blog posts, they also help convince people that vegetarian — or in this case, vegan — food doesn’t suck!

But first, three things:

  • I wrote a new Running Shorts piece with my thoughts on people relying on GPS devices for running; read it so I get PAID!
  • When I announced that all my per-pageview ad revenue this year will be donated to the Humane Society, Katie from Life Discombobulated asked me to remind people of that fact in my posts, so that those who read in Google Reader would remember to actually view the page a few times.  Here you go, Katie.
  • Congratulations to my blogger-friends Caitlin and Rachel for running each of their first marathons at Disney World on Sunday!  Caitlin’s awesome mantra: Pain is temporary, quitting is forever. Will 2010 be the year you run your first marathon?

Tuscan White Beans and Broccoli Rabe

[white bean and broccoli rabe pasta photo]Of all the types of cooking I’ve played around with, my favorite by far is SIMPLE Italian.  To me, there is something sublimely alchemistical (a word, I checked) about turning a few plain ingredients into something warm and comforting.  Not to mention fast!  This recipe definitely fits the bill.  Broccoli rabe is the star, a bitter cousin of broccoli that so few people ever cook with.  In my grocery store, it’s sold in bunches near the kale, mustard greens, etc.  To use it, you just need to remove the thickest bottoms of the stems; the rest of the leaves and stems go into the pot.  The broccoli rabe accents white beans, a staple of simple Italian food that turns the meal into a main dish for vegetarians by adding some substance and a decent helping of that protein thing.

The recipe, from 1,000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson (Wiley & Sons), is for just the white beans and broccoli rabe.  To serve it with pasta, I cooked a pound of whole wheat spaghetti and added the cooked spaghetti and about a half-cup of the pasta cooking water to the cooked (coarsely-mashed) beans and broccoli rabe, and tossed everything to coat the pasta.  I served it with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice and some fresh ground pepper and it was “simply” perfect!

Here’s the recipe, exactly as it appears in the book:

Ingredients (for 4 servings):

  • 1 medium bunch broccoli rabe (rapini), tough stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups cooked or 2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli rabe until tender, about 5 minutes.  Drain and run under cold water, then coarsely chop.  Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in the beans and the rosemary, then add the cooked broccoli rabe and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Cook, stirring, until the flavors are well blended and the mixture is hot, about 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Before I made this meal, I was envisioning more whole, wilted leaves and large pieces of broccoli rabe with the white beans, but the greens broke down enough that it formed a pesto-like sauce.  If you want it the other way, you could probably cook the broccoli rabe a little less at the beginning.

Nuun winner!

I, by nature, am tricky, and I was careful not to say “randomly” in describing how I would select the winner of the Nuun prize pack.  I decided to choose the winner based on the comment that I found most interesting, and that winner is Naveen!  Naveen asked about the differences between Nuun, coconut water, and Vega Sport, and I had never really thought about comparing the three.

Congrats Naveen, send me your info and I’ll mail out your Nuun stuff!  Thanks to everyone who entered the contest; look for a REALLY GOOD one coming soon.



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  1. There we go! It is already printed off and will be cooked this week. So, not only will I be cooking a vegan meal, but I will force my entire family to eat it too. I also believe I used the words, “you have forgetten the little guy” in your rise to the top.

  2. Broccoli rabe rocks! I just bought some and planned on making almost the same dinner! YUM!
    .-= Marisa (Loser for Life)´s last blog ..I Am Fat =-.

  3. Sometimes the more simples recipes turn out the best. This one sounds superb!

    I’d love for this year to be my 1st 1/2 marathon, but I’ll have to wait and see how my 1st 1/2 going in 2 weeks.
    .-= Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather´s last blog ..7-7-7 =-.

  4. This sounds absolutely fantastic. I did a white bean (Tuscan style) and chopped or diced tomato dish like this that was then tossed with pasta. It was a huge hit here.
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..God Is A … =-.

  5. I just bought that same cookbook and I think I’ll be making your dinner sometime this week…yumm! AND…I just signed up for my first marathon…Rock-n-Roll Denver…woohoo!
    Also, I read your running shorts article. When I first got my Garmin I loved it and would wear it every time I went for a run. It is awesome and I still love it. But, sometimes I feel the need to “unplug” and run without my Garmin and Ipod. I think using a Garmin has its place, but sometimes you just have to run for the joy of it and not worry about pace/time/distance!
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..Slushy…but perfect! =-.

  6. That looks like the perfect quick weeknight meal. I am going to have to pick up that book!
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Brussels Sprouts with Orange Miso Sauce =-.

  7. I’m a fan of simple italian meals- I probably make one a week! I will have to add this into the next rotation. Hows the wife feeling?
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Liberty Tap Room & Body Pump Launch =-.

  8. This recipe sounds great! I have been wondering if it was okay to post a recipe from a cookbook. I’m guessing it is if I quote it like you have here?
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..My new yoga challenge =-.

    • Sarah, really you should check with the author and publisher. For 1,000 Vegan recipes, they gave me permission to post a limited number of exact recipes. Otherwise, I believe you can post (without permission) your own adaptations of recipes from any book, but really the adaptation should be significant and it should be for a specific reason, not just so that you could post the recipe!

  9. So, so, so, so true with the whole Garmin thing! Through November and December, I didn’t run with my garmin except for less than a handful of times. I was sick of all the numbers, and I just wanted to run to run, and just go how fast my body felt. It was amazing!
    .-= Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete´s last blog ..Sidelined =-.

  10. That looks delicious! I’ve never really cooked with broccoli rabe and love trying new things.
    .-= chrissy´s last blog ..keep it like a secret =-.

  11. After reading everyone’s Disney marathon recaps I’m definitely considering running a marathon! I may reevaluate after my first half in March though 🙂
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..A fresh start =-.

  12. Thanks for the reminder for those of us in Google Reader! 🙂 I read your trueslant article, and I agree with you. I think it’s INSANE that a Garmin’s dead battery would cause someone to cut their run from 7 miles to 2 miles, but it also helps the other way around.
    I used to always run a 2.5 mile loop. I got a Garmin, and now I am totally pushing myself to run longer and farther. Yes, I could do that without a Garmin, but I’m a numbers person, so tracking my progress is really motivating. It also allows me to try new routes (which keeps my running fresh and my pace faster), so I’m not chained to a route of which I know the distance.
    I agree with the negatives of a Garmin, but there are positives too! (Don’t worry, I’m not missing the point of your article. I get it!!!!!!!!! :))

  13. Mm, thanks for the recipe! I like making a “pesto” with broccoli raab, using it for a bruschetta of sorts.
    .-= Christina´s last blog ..Barefoot and COLD. =-.

  14. Wow that looks SO simple yet amazing! You have the best new pasta recipes!!
    .-= Rachel @ Shedding It´s last blog ..The Transition! =-.

  15. I love broccoli rabe and will try it in anything! I tried to share the love with my family and made some in garlic and oil for them over Christmas. Their reaction: “tastes like nail polish remover.” Oh well, more for me….

    I’ve seen variations of this recipe with tomato in them, but this looks just as lovely and fresh.
    .-= Laura Georgina´s last blog ..Work, Work, and Derek Walcott =-.

  16. Sounds delicious. If I can’t find Broccoli rabe ( I have never seen it in my grocery store) is there an alternative green you could suggest? Thank you:)

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