Cannellini Bean Bruschetta are earthy, flavorful, easy to prepare and beautiful on the plate. Grilled (or broiled) slices of ciabatta bread are spread with a rustic purée of cannellini beans, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, then topped with chopped toasted walnuts and a drizzle of truffle oil. Yum!
White Bean Bruschetta Recipe
Cannellini are my favorite type of white bean to cook with. Their nutty, earthy flavor adds subtle depth to most dishes. I was first exposed to the numerous ways in which they can be added to various recipes while traveling in Italy. The options are endless – in soups, stews, salads, dips, spreads and purées to name a few.
So, one evening when I was looking for a creative vegetarian appetizer, I started thinking about doing something with cannellini beans – and bruschetta came to mind. A few years earlier, I was served something similar as part of a farmhouse dinner in the Umbrian region of Italy. The memory of that simple yet satisfying dish stayed with me.
What qualifies as bruschetta?
The two main Italian toasted breads, bruschetta and crostini, are very similar. The main differences are in the type of bread used and the cooking method:
– Bruschetta is typically made with bread slices cut from a larger loaf, like ciabatta or a round rustic bread. Crostini, on the other hand, are usually made with bread sliced from a smaller loaf, similar to a baguette. (For this recipe, I like to cut the larger bruschetta slices into small pieces, making it easier to eat.)
– In addition, bruschetta is usually grilled or broiled, whereas crostini are toasted.
Cannellini Bruschetta Ingredients
After experimenting with different ingredients and methods, I decided the best approach for my bruschetta was a garlic and lemon-flavored bean purée spread on toasted ciabatta bread, topped with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of truffle oil. Puréeing the beans made it easier to eat (when left whole, the beans kept rolling off the bruschetta!). Walnuts complement the nutty flavor of the beans, the truffle oil brings out their earthiness. Garlic adds a bit of bite, and the lemon brightens it all up.
How to Make Cannellini Bean Bruschetta
I serve this appetizer often because it’s so easy to prepare, and I typically have all the ingredients on hand. Here are the steps:
- Prep grill/oven.
Preheat the broiler or grill to high.
- Grill/broil bread.
Brush bread slices with olive oil, using around 3 tablespoons. Place, oiled side down on grill or on a cookie sheet 3 to 4 inches from the broiler. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until toasted and light golden brown. Remove from grill/oven; turn pieces from grill over so oiled side is up. Set on a large cookie sheet. Cut into smaller (1 to 2-inch) pieces if desired.
- Prepare purée.
In a food processor, mix together beans, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and purée until creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Assemble bruschetta.
Spread purée on toast pieces and sprinkle walnuts on top. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with chopped parsley.
When serving these delectable bruschetta, I like to stick with an Italian theme and serve them with an antipasti platter of Italian cheeses, cured meats and olives. Offer Prosecco and a few Italian wines for sipping alongside!
If making ahead, store the cannellini bean purée and toasts separately. Place the purée in a covered container in the refrigerator; store the toasts in a ziptop baggie at room temperature. They will keep for 3 days.
You can freeze the cannellini bean purée and grilled/broiled bread slices separately. Place each in a separate airtight container. They will last up to 2 months in the freezer. Bring to room temperature before assembling.
Can I substitute another white bean for Cannellini beans in this recipe?
Yes you can. Great Northern Beans would be the closest in flavor and texture to Cannellini.
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[Note: this post is an update to one I shared in August 2010.]
Slices of toasted ciabatta bread are spread with a rustic purée of cannellini beans, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, then topped with chopped toasted walnuts and a drizzle of truffle oil.
- 1/2 loaf sliced Ciabatta (or other Italian) bread
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 can (15 ounce) cannellini (white) beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons white truffle oil (or more to taste)
- Chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the broiler or grill to high.
- Brush bread slices with olive oil, using around 3 tablespoons. Place, oiled side down on grill or up under broiler. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until toasted and light golden brown. Remove from oven; turn pieces from grill over so oiled side is up. Set on a large cookie sheet.
- In a food processor, mix together the beans, lemon juice, garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and purée until creamy and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Spread purée on toast pieces and sprinkle walnuts on the top. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with chopped parsley. Move from baking sheet to a pretty platter and serve.
Make ahead: Bean purée can be made up to 1 day ahead, covered and stored in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using. Bread can be toasted earlier in the day and stored in a Ziploc baggie, at room temperature.
Keywords: cannellini beans, two bite appetizer