These Caramelized Lemon White Beans are full of zesty flavor and easily made into a hearty vegan main meal! Slightly sweet with notes of garlic and citrus, this is a perfect springtime dinner!
Beans are one of my favorite plant protein sources – they’re hearty and easily adaptable to so many dinners. While cooking beans from dry is certainly the more sustainable route, having canned beans on hand does save a lot of time and is perfect for those “emergency” weeknight meals when you need something on the table, fast. Today’s recipe for Caramelized Lemon White Beans is a show-stopping way to deliver plant protein and tons of flavor in just 20 minutes.
In today’s recipe we’re caramelizing lemon alongside onion and garlic to build a very aromatic flavor base. Before we get into that though, here is a quick reference point of how to make the caramelized lemon slices featured above.
How to Caramelize Lemon Slices
- Place the lemon on its side and slice very thinly into coins. To avoid an overly bitter final product, you ideally want the piece to be 1/4 of an inch thick (or thinner). Too thin and you’ll risk the slices falling apart, which is not a huge deal, but aesthetically not as lovely.
- Once sliced, remove any seeds.
- Add lemon slices to a pot with a few TBS of warmed oil. Let cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until edges become deeply browned/slightly black. The centers will shrivel a bit, this is OK. We’re drawing the natural sugars out of the fruit.
- Remove from heat and serve alongside any matter of meals. These also make an excellent cocktail garnish!
Ingredients & Possible Substitutions
I used standard Great Northern beans for this dish, but any kind of white bean (like a cannellini bean, navy bean, chick pea, or even black-eyed pea) can be substituted.
I originally wanted to use broccolini for this recipe but the grocery store was out when I went shopping to recipe test. Thankfully, asparagus is a great pairing with lemon and really brings a “spring” element here. Broccolini or broccoli rabe would be a nice component in place of asparagus.
Parsley lends a nice herbal note when finishing his dish, but fresh basil (as pictured) is a perfect substitute if that’s what you have available.
Other White Bean Dinner Recipes
Cozy Braised White Beans with Garlic and RosemaryPrint
Caramelized Lemon White Beans
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Diet: Vegan
These Caramelized Lemon White Beans are full of zesty flavor and easily made into a hearty vegan main meal! Slightly sweet with notes of garlic and citrus, they’re a great addition to your weekday dinner rotation.
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 1/2 of a medium/large yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 of a large lemon, sliced into very thin rounds
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 lb of asparagus or broccolini, sliced into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups of cooked white beans (two rinsed cans)
- 1–2 cups water
- 1/4 cup parsley
- Cashew parmesan, to serve
- Add a pot to the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil. Once shimmering, add onion, 1/2 tsp salt, a few twists of pepper, and lemon slices. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until soft. Lemon slices should take on some color.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook 1-2 minutes more, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add asparagus (or broccolini), white beans, and a cup or two of water. Bring entire mixture to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables are bright green but not soggy. If you have thicker pieces they may take longer to cook. Add parsley and remove from heat.
- Serve warm with cashew parmesan, fresh herbs, and toasted bread for a heartier meal.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: One sixth of recipe
- Calories: 246.8 calories
- Sugar: 2.3 grams
- Sodium: 404.6
- Fat: 5.1 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.8 grams
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.3 grams
- Trans Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 38.1 grams
- Fiber: 11 grams
- Protein: 14.8 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Keywords: white beans, lemon
Made this today, it was so easy and filling! I used small tender asparagus. Goes well with a nice hunk of sourdough bread.
Will definitely be making this again!
I am so glad you liked it – thank you so much for trying and rating, AR!!
Lucy Turnblad says
This is a perfect weeknight dinner – definitely going into my rotation!
Thank you for giving it a test, Lucy!
Big hit for a family dinner – the carnivores had it on the side and loved the lemon flavor. Of course it was my entree – delicious!
Yay, thank you for trying + for five stars!! 🙂