Who is ready for a recipe that's ready in under 30 minutes, full of flavor, and contains simple staple ingredients that you can always have on hand? Yes, and always! These garbanzo beans are garlicky, lemony, and laced with basil and make a great dinner along with a side salad and crusty bread for dipping. They work equally well as an appetizer dip with toasted baguette slices. I think it would fun to put out a party platter with these beans, bruschetta tomatoes, and a pesto dip alongside some breadsticks, sliced baguette, and crudités for friends to snack on.
Baaaaack to dinner. To give the beans a lush texture, you save the liquid from one can of the garbanzo beans and puree the liquid with about a half cup of the beans. I do this with a stick blender and it takes about 30 seconds. Rinse the second can of beans and prep the garlic and basil and you are ready to go. This dish can come together in as little as 15 minutes if you are in a rush, or give it a little extra love and prepare it as detailed below for some deeper flavors. For the speedy version, just place all of the ingredients (except for the lemon juice and zest), bring it to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. While the beans are simmering, prep a quick salad and slice a loaf of ciabatta. Add in the juice and zest to the beans at the end and presto! Dinner is served.
For the "slow" version (that still only takes 30 minutes), you start with the garlic, olive oil, and salt and heat them on medium heat until the garlic is golden and fragrant. This gives the garlic the most amazing flavor. It takes some time to get the garlic golden without burning it, so be patient. You then raise the heat and add in the tomato paste, beans, and basil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat back down and allow the beans to simmer for 10 minutes. Do the same salad and bread prep as above (toasting the bread or heating the loaf in the oven makes it extra tasty), add in the lemon juice and zest right before serving, and you are ready to go!
The salt levels and texture of the beans after cooking will depend on which brand of beans you use, so be sure to adjust both right before serving. I don't usually need any extra salt, but I often add 3-4 tablespoons of water to get a dippable consistency. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the plated beans and garnish with some extra basil leaves if you're feeling fancy.
I tried this dish with both canned white kidney beans (cannelini beans) and garbanzo beans, and we much preferred the version with garbanzo beans. If you plan ahead, I bet this would be really excellent with fancy dried beans that have been soaked overnight and cooked down until tender. Share in the comments if you give that a try!
Lemon Basil Beans
- 2 15 oz. cans garbanzo beans *save the liquid form one can of beans*
- ¼ cup olive oil plus more for finishing
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 2 garlic coves, smashed
- 2 teaspoon tomato paste
- 10 basil leaves, cut in ribbons plus a few more for garnish
- 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Using a stick blender, puree ½ cup of beans with the liquid from one can of the beans. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, add the oil, salt, and garlic cloves. Heat over medium heat until the garlic is golden.
- Add in tomato paste, beans, and basil and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Before serving, add in lemon juice and zest. Add a few tablespoons of water to get the beans at the preferred consistency for dipping.
- Transfer beans to a serving bowl and top with a drizzle of olive oil and basil leaves for garnish.
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