Sauteed Spinach with Cannellini Beans and Garlic

Although it is still rather chilly here on the east coast of the US, spring is vibrating in the air. You can see the trees and plants just waiting patiently to spring. During this time of year,  I find myself smiling in anticipation of what is to come over the next few weeks – spring flowers, trees leafing out, planning the garden! Way too exciting! After a few weeks of nonstop travel, I decided to give my weary body a bit of a ‘riposo’ (rest) in time for the beautiful days ahead.  Facial. (Check.) Bubble bath. (Check.) A week of mostly veggies and fruits. (Check.)  Some may feel the latter is a huge sacrifice – but for me, if I could eat a tub of this spinach every evening, I would be in heaven.  This is one of my all time favorite dishes – I make it frequently as a side to fish or roast chicken or as a main course sometimes with a scrambled egg or potatoes mixed in. It is super easy and quick to make and oh so healthy.  Served with a crisp white and some crusty bread – a pleasure beyond words.  Mmmmm….back to my bowl! Enjoy!

Sauteed Spinach with Cannellini Beans and Garlic


3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 (15.5 ounce) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 large bunches of fresh spinach, ends trimmed, washed and drained

About 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1/2 lemon)

Coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


1 large saute pan


1. Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat until warm. Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant about one minute. Stir often, being careful not to let it brown.

2. Stir the beans into the garlic and oil and cook until heated through – about 1 minute. Be careful not to cook too long or the beans will turn mushy.

3. Add the spinach and sea salt – about 1/2 teaspoon. Cook the spinach, turning with tongs,  until wilted – about 2 or 3 minutes.  After wilted, remove from the heat.

4. Add in the lemon zest, additional salt to taste and freshly ground black pepper.

5.  Put spinach into heated serving bowl; drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve. Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. Tom Braddock says:

    Hey again Michele – Mmm..that spinach sounds like my style & I’ve done the same with my Swiss Chard, which luckily has flourished in my planter box here in Tampa, despite our weird freezes etc. the last few yrs! Hoping I have the same luck with Japanese eggplant again this summer, so I can replicate some of your ideas.

    I wish David Rocco’s “La Dolce Vida” show from Canada (Cooking Channel) would have another season – I’ve enjoyed his series, but it’s a bit insulting that they’re repeating the few shows ENDLESSLY – maybe they don’t intend to make any more, but really! Food Network can do better than THAT!

    My physician friend Steve (I’ve mentioned before) has just put in an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven in the Kintnersville place – I swear I can see us having a great time doing food, wine etc. out there some summer day – if I get there again, it’d be so neat to share an afternoon together sometime! (when you’re not globe trotting!)

    For now, enjoy! Hope the real spring comes there soon! – Tom B

    1. Ciao ciao! Thanks for the great comment, Tom…love David Rocco’s show and I also wish they would film some new ones (actually wish they would film ME in that lifestyle :o)). Your friend’s pizza oven sounds like a dream..he must be loving it! I will have to call him for pizza delivery as he is so close. Stai bene! Snow today but spring is just around the corner!! A presto, Michele

  2. thank you so much for the spinach and the cannnellini Beans recipe.
    My husband who was a chef, born and grew up in Rome, used to cook this for me, and I loved it so much, but couldn’t remember the name of it ( I still don’t ! ) but now I know how it was prepared and cooked….
    un milione di grazia. Sandra .

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