All Seasons/ Lunch/ Main Dish/ Side Dish

Creamy Cannellini Beans and Rosemary Pesto

July 14, 2022
White beans with rosemary pesto and garnished with toasted pine nuts--super simple with canned beans and oh so tasty!

This Cannellini Beans and Rosemary Pesto recipe is rich, delicious, and super easy to make. I love making a big pot of slow-cooked white beans and letting them simmer over the stove for hours, but this recipe is for weeknights when we just don’t have the time but still want a tasty meal. We used canned cannellini beans, but any variety like navy, lupini, or chickpeas will do. What really kicks up the flavor is the olive oil and what you decide to infuse it with. For this recipe, we used a combination of shallots, celery, yellow bell pepper, garlic, thyme, and a little salt and pepper. Once these ingredients cook down, you can add in the cannellini beans and let them soak up all that flavor. Then stir in a little cream, let that reduce, and voila! Super quick and super delicious. Garnish with some rosemary pesto, toasted pine nuts, and breadcrumbs.

This recipe is super versatile. Feel free to mix and match with other veggies you may have in store. Leeks and carrots would be great options as well as a handful of spinach or kale. Always include an allium though (onion, shallot, green onion, garlic, scapes, etc.). You could also sub in another type of pesto like basil or arugula pesto. Pine nuts tend to be pretty expensive so we will often use walnuts or hazelnuts.

Garnish Ideas:

  • Pesto (rosemary, basil, arugula, kale)
  • Garlicky breadcrumbs or croutons
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pecorino Romano cheese
  • Manchego cheese
  • Chili flakes or sliced red chili
  • Lemon zest
  • Parsley
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Hazelnuts
Cannellini Beans and Rosemary Pesto as a toast topper sprinkled with toasted pine nuts.

Cannellini Beans and Pesto – a perfect toast topper!

If you’re serving this as an appetizer or snack, you can ladle the cannellini beans on top of toasted bread for an out-of-this-world toast topper. Garnish with the same ingredients; toasted pine nuts, rosemary pesto, and maybe an extra sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Also great with a side of crudités and pickles for a fresh, acidic contrast.

Check out these fall recipes:

Creamy Leek & Potato Soup

Roasted Parsnip Soup

Stewed Apples with Cinnamon & Brandy

Za’atar Roasted Cauliflower & Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Here’s the Rosemary Pesto Recipe

Cannellini Beans with Rosemary Pesto

Lunch, Dinner, Appetizer, Snack Italian, Mediterranean
By Katelyn Bailey Serves: 2
Prep Time: 2 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 12 minutes

Cannellini beans and rosemary pesto have to be one of the best flavor combinations on this earth--unexpected, I know, but just give it a try and you'll see! Sometimes it's the simplest ingredients and preparations that make the best meals.


  • 1 can of Cannellini beans
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced shallots or onion
  • 1/3 cup minced celery
  • 1/3 cup minced bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Rosemary Pesto (recipe link found above)



Drain and rinse the cannellini beans and set aside.


In a medium pan over medium-low heat, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then add the shallot/onion, celery, and bell pepper.


Saute until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.


Add in the garlic and thyme. Toss around for 1 minute.


Add in the rinsed cannellini beans and cook for another 2 minutes.


Pour in the cream, stir and let this finish cooking for 2-3 minutes.


Season with salt and pepper.


Serve with a drizzle of rosemary pesto (recipe link found above) and toasted pine nuts.




  • 676 Calories
  • 92.1g Carbohydrates
  • 11mg Cholesterol
  • 21.1g Fat
  • 35.2g Fiber
  • 34.9g Protein
  • 4.8g Saturated fat
  • 398mg Sodium
  • 4.5g Sugar


If you aren't using this recipe as a toast topper, try sprinkling some garlicky toasted breadcrumbs on top for some crunch.

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