braised white beans with zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes

Dave tends to have healthier food preferences than me. It was his suggestion that we eat vegetarian or seafood meals on weekdays and save meat for the weekends. My initial efforts to find a vegetarian cookbook that reflected how I liked to cook was years ago, and the pickings then, unlike now, were slim. Back then, most vegetarian cookbooks seemed to tend toward the gourmet end of the spectrum, with lengthy preparations and rare ingredients.

Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics was exactly what I was looking for. Generally, the dishes are quick, based on common ingredients and cooking techniques, and accessible to non-vegetarians. I liked it so much that I bought it for my sister. She’s a busy working mom with no interest in becoming a vegetarian, but I still thought this was a cookbook she’d get a lot of use of.

This recipe is one of my favorites from the book. It fulfills that ultimate trifecta – easy, healthy, delicious. It’s the slightest bit spicy from crushed red pepper, the zucchini is just tender, and the beans and potato soak up all of the garlicky tomato juice. And I have Dave to thank; otherwise, I don’t know that I ever would have searched out a vegetarian cookbook.

One year ago: Roasted Garlic Balsamic White Bean Dip
Two years ago: Honey Yogurt Dip
Three years ago: Apple Galette

Printer Friendly Recipe
Braised White Beans with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Potatoes (adapted from Jeanne Lemlin’s Vegetarian Classics)

Serves 2-3

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
¼ teaspoon salt
1 medium Yukon gold potato, cut into ¼-inch dice
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into ¼-inch slices
1 (14-ounce) can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

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, rosemary, salt, and potatoes. Cook, covered, at a lively simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost cooked through.

2. Mix in the zucchini and beans. 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.

I have blogged about this recipe before, but I felt that a recipe as good as this one deserved a fresh entry.


  1. Thanks again for the cookbook! I use it quite a bit. I haven’t tried this recipe though and think I might try it soon (minus the red pepper flakes since the kiddos won’t eat anything hot). Vegetarian recipes with no cheese are hard to come by.

  2. I’m not trying to eat vegetarian, but I like vegetables, and I agree that this is a wonderful cookbook. I bought it after browsing through some of her earlier books at the library, and everything I’ve made from it so far (including several baking recipes) has been great.

  3. This looks delicious! We do a meatless meal once a week so this made our menu plan for next week!

  4. I make a soup similar to this that has macaroni in it. Would be a great addition to stretch/make it more filling!

  5. Wow! This looks great and easy! I am always looking for new dishes to slip into our rotation…this one looks like it would be good year-round too.

  6. My husband has been asking for more bean recipes…and this one is it! Looks delicious and I love the photos!

  7. My two-year-old loved this! I caught her pushing her big step stool over to the pan to try and get more beans out.

  8. I made this tonight but instead of diced tomatoes I used 6 oz tomato paste and 5 oz red wine. I left out the red pepper flakes. It was tasty over quinoa!

  9. I know I stumbled on this recipe late, but is this easily doubled? It has the feel of a recipe that would make leftovers for a few days…

  10. bridget says:

    Cara – You can definitely double it, but I would cook it in a big (about 5-quart) pot instead of a skillet. It might take a little longer for it to simmer down to a thick sauce at the end in that case. Also, the leftovers will probably be thicker as the starch from the potatoes and beans will seep into the sauce. It’ll taste just fine though.

  11. Sharmon says:

    I am so happy to have found this recipe! I’m constantly looking for dishes that have enough protein and potassium, but don’t send the calorie count over the top. Thanks so much for the post. It’s now in my regular rotation, adjusted to large, single serving size.