Beans on toast!

The mystery ingredient in last week’s CSA box was borlotti beans.
Borlotti beans
Other names: cranberry bean, borlotto, crab eye, roman, romano, rosecoco, saluggia beans, burlotti OR barlotti (misspelling).
A dappled white and red bean related to the kidney and pinto beans. This is a common bean in Italy where it is used for soups and with pasta. Use in any recipe that calls for kidney or pinto beans.(From

I cook legumes a lot but I’ve never tried a fresh from the shell bean before. They are incredibly creamy. I passed up the suggestion to make a bean stew and tried out a recipe for “Posh Beans on Toast”. I stole the title from this website but used a Jamie Oliver recipe from here: Humble Home-Cooked Beans.

      You will need:


      1lb fresh borlotti beans


      2 garlic cloves


      1 celery rib- diced


      1 potato, peeled and halved


      herbs: rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, chili flakes


      salt & pepper


      Olive oil (1 TBS)


      tomato paste (1 TBS)


      maple syrup


    bacon (optional)

For fresh beans: Shell your beans and pick them over discarding any green ones or little dried ones (they are not very digestible). Throw them in a pot and add herbs, I used rosemary, thyme and a bay leaf from the garden. Some chili flakes would do well here. Add enough water to cover by at least an inch. Add your potato, garlic and celery and simmer (uncovered) until the beans are tender.

My beans took about 30 min. Drain the beans, keeping the liquid. Remove the herb sprigs and bay leaf- the herbs should have simmered off the twigs by now. Pick out the potato and garlic and mash.
Heat your pot up over medium-low and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in a tablespoon of tomato paste and cook the flavour into the paste*. Put the drained beans back in your pot, add enough cooking liquid to cover half way and stir in the mashed potato mixture. At this point I added in a tsp of apple cider vinegar, and a bit of maple syrup. Simmer the beans for another 5 minutes and season with salt,pepper and maple syrup to taste.

*A trick I learned in cooking school is to cook your tomato paste (much like how you cook the flour in your roux) to bring out the sundried tomato flavour. Real tomato paste in actually sun-dried tomato. The stuff in a can is not quite the same. You can find tubes of sundried tomato paste in the grocery store or italian markets and this will definitly be an improvement in flavour.About tomato paste (wikipedia): It was traditionally made in parts of Sicily, southern Italy and Malta by spreading out a much-reduced tomato sauce on wooden boards. The boards are set outdoors under the hot August sun to dry the paste until it is thick enough, when scraped up, to hold together in a richly colored, dark ball. Today, this artisan product is harder to find than the industrial (much thinner) version.

Voila: Beans on toast!
There is enough left over to make the next day. I stored the bean mixture in a small corningware dish and reheated them in the oven the next day. The next-day beans were even better. I suspect the more traditional method of baking these beans in the oven with herbs and spices would yield a great bean. Of course- I think if you add bacon you won’t have any leftovers.

“DID YOU KNOW?”. A fact about beans from:
Fagioli al Fiasco
“Fagioli al Fiasco was a traditional way of cooking beans in Tuscany. Families living in the
countryside, who had wood burning ovens, would cook beans in the fire after having baked bread.
The method is fairly simple. A large round bottle with a narrow neck, called a fiasco, is partially
filled with beans, water, herbs, and olive oil. The bottle is placed in the ashes of a hearth to cook.
The bottle’s narrow neck keeps the liquid from evaporating too quickly as the beans simmer in the
liquid. Long, slow cooking ( 5 to 6 hours) yields tender, creamy beans that keep their shape.
When the beans are cooked, they are poured out of the bottle and drizzled with olive oil and freshly ground pepper. ”
Photo courtesy of:


5 Responses to “Beans on toast!”

  1. i’ve seen these beauties in all the little grocers along the danforth in toronto and i’ve wanted to pick some up…. you may well have inspired breakfast this sunday 🙂

    p.s. i adore your blog. so glad to have found you… adding you to my bloglovin. well, adding your blog. not you. haha.

    • Hi Kristy! Thanks for your kind comments and adding me to bloglovin! I look forward to sharing more recipes with you- enjoy your beans! The beauties are delicious- the purple spots fade (unfortunately) when you cook them but they taste amazing.

      • hello! beans on toast are fabulous! I used your recipe as a starting point and then made some adjustments based on what I had in the house, etc.. it was so super awesome! I am in love with borlotti beans! haha. I’m posting my rendition tomorrow morning. Of course, I’ll give credit where credit is due – to YOU! 😉

        thank you for the inspiration and such a fantastic dish!!

      • sounds like you got the last of the borlotti’s! we can’t find them anywhere in BC anymore, guess I will try a new version with the canned ones. Glad to have inspired a bean dish 🙂


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