Cinnamon-Scented White Beans with Tomatoes

These white beans here are simmered with whole cloves and cinnamon sticks, two spices that reflect the North African influence on Israeli cuisine. The slightly lemony dish is perfect with rich braised meats like veal shoulder.


Slideshow: Delicious, Quick Side Dishes


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  • Servings: 4
KEY: Summer, Dinner Party, Father's Day, Mother's Day, Middle Eastern, Beans, Grains & Legumes, Side Dishes, Basic/Easy, Make Ahead, Vegetarian, Web Exclusive

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  • 1/2 pound dried white beans, such as Great Northern or cannellini
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large bowl, cover the beans with 2 inches of water and stir in the baking soda. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and rinse them under cold water. In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with 2 inches of fresh water. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Drain the beans, discarding the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and their juices and simmer over low heat until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes. Stir in the beans and simmer until the beans have absorbed the flavors of the sauce, about 10 minutes. Add the lemon juice, parsley and mint and season with salt and pepper. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Make Ahead

The beans can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Published March 2012

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