a healthy choice (braised white beans with potatoes and vegetables)


You know those days after you’ve eaten nothing but crap when you just feel heavy and unpleasant? Usually they happen after a vacation or maybe just a particularly decadent weekend. This is my go-to meal for those days.

My parents recently visited, and it was four days of mostly eating out. Waffles for breakfast, pizza for lunch, a big plate of sausage and potatoes for dinner. Yikes. I may not generally be a vegetable-lover, but days like that make me crave something healthy.

And this meal is perfect for that. It has lots of tomatoes, garlic, and zucchini, plenty of beans, and just a bit of starch in the form of red potatoes.

Not only is it healthy, but it’s quick and forgiving as well. After a bit of chopping, there isn’t much to do except give the occasional stir while everything simmers together into deliciousness. At the end, the flavors of garlic and crushed red pepper permeate the sauce, the zucchini is softened but not mushy, and the beans and potatoes have soaked up the tomato-ey juices. This is one of my favorite ways to be healthy!

Braised White Beans with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Garlic
(adapted from Vegetarian Classics, by Jeanne Lemlin)
Serves 2 (plus leftovers)

I’ve taken to drizzling a bit of extra-virgin olive oil over everything right before serving.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can ready-cut diced tomatoes
¼ cup water
1 medium boiling potato (red or Yukon gold), cut into ¼-inch dice
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch slices (the size I buy depends on how healthy I want to be)
1 (14-ounce) cans small white beans, such as Great Northern or navy, rinsed well in a strainer
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Heat the oil, garlic, and red pepper in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook for about 30 seconds after the garlic begins to sizzle. (It should not become at all colored). Stir in the tomatoes, water, and potatoes, and cover the pan. Cook at a lively simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked through.

2. Mix in the zucchini, beans, rosemary, and salt. Cover the pan again and cook, stirring often, 10 minutes more, or until the zucchini and potatoes are tender. At this point check the consistency of the sauce; it should be thick and soupy, not dry or watery. Add a bit of water if the mixture doesn’t have much sauce; cook it uncovered if the juices seem watery. Serve in large pasta bowls, preferably, or on plates.


  1. This looks soooo yummy! Veggies and beans can never go wrong. It would be perfect on a cold day like this!

  2. Jessica says:

    Yum! This was delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
    I used a medium large zucchini and potato, so I had to up the herbs a bit. I added more rosemary and some herbs de provence. I will be making this again very soon. So easy, healthy, and delicious!

  3. The Husband says:

    If you’ve read my other posts you’ll know that I am not a foodie like Bridget. But I do enjoy good food and I’m usually not very picky. This dish however, is one of my favorites (next to Salmon Pesto Pasta!!). It’s hot, it’s healthy, it tastes super good, and B usually doesn’t end up swearing too much in the kitchen while she’s preparing it. Although it’s good anytime, I think that it’s piping hotness and bright colors make it that much more enjoyable in the winter time. Or it could be that we just got hit with 2 feet of snow and it tasted so good with freezing toes.

  4. I have the same cookbook but I’ve never made this recipe, and now I’m tempted to try it. I notice it has red pepper in it – is it hot at all? Blake won’t eat anything hot right now – he’ll spit it out and tell me “hot”. I don’t think he understands the difference between spicy hot and stove hot.

  5. bridget says:

    Sara – I know I’ve recommended this recipe to you before! It’s probably my favorite from that book!

    It’s really not very spicy. The red pepper adds a little kick that I love, and I’m always a bit disappointed when I don’t add enough, but I think if you halved the amount I’ve listed (which might be twice what the original author recommends – I can’t remember), I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

    The only significant change I make from the original recipe is doubling the tomatoes.


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