- recipe -

White Beans With Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender

These fragrant Provençal herb-scented beans make a fine meal on their own, with some shavings of Parmigiano, aged goat cheese or ricotta salata, and Shallot (or Garlic) Toasts. They are also a classic accompaniment to grilled or roasted lamb.

Serves four to six


  • 2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 2 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, thyme and savory (if you have it), minced
  • Pinch of dried lavender
  • 4 cups cooked, drained white beans, such as cannellini, navy, baby white limas or flageolets
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice (optional)


Combine extra-virgin olive oil and shallots in a large (12-inch) heavy skillet. Cook, covered, over moderate heat, until the shallots are soft and golden, about five minutes. Stir in fresh thyme and rosemary (and savory, if you have it) and a pinch of dried lavender. Sauté, stirring, for one minute. Add beans and water to the pan. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid has almost evaporated, about five minutes. Adjust the seasoning, including a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice if necessary to brighten the flavors; pepper generously. Spoon the beans into four shallow soup bowls. Drizzle extra-virgin olive oil over each serving.

Recipe excerpted from The Improvisational Cook by Sally Schneider (William Morrow, 2006).

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