Cannellini Bean and Pesto Purée with Roasted Asparagus over Lemon-Scented Rice

A light and refreshing purée of pesto and white beans served over a bed of warm and delicate lemon-scented rice and topped with sweet and tender spears of local asparagus — this recipe is sure to become a summer classic in my home. And it's very simple to make, even if there is quite a bit of washing up to do afterwards. I'm always a little annoyed to clean up the food processor, even if it's been used for a good cause.

Feel free to lightly steam the asparagus instead of roasting if it's a hot day and you don't feel like turning on the oven.

Cannellini Bean and Pesto Purée with Roasted Asparagus over Lemon-Scented Rice

1/2 cup dried cannellini (white kidney) beans
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch fresh asparagus

1 cup white basmati or jasmine rice
juice and zest from 1 small lemon

Rinse the beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain and add to a medium saucepan. Cover with fresh cold water or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft. Drain and mash gently with a potato masher. Set aside.

Meanwhile, gently toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat, tossing frequently, until the pine nuts are golden brown.

Once the beans are finished, cook the rice according to instructions. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the hot rice, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 425°. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and arrange the spears on a baking sheet. Brush the spears with a little olive oil and roast for 10 minutes, turning the spears over once after 5 minutes.

Place the toasted pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and black pepper into a food processor. Process until smooth, then stir into the mashed beans.

Serve the warm bean and pesto purée over plates of warm rice and arrange the asparagus on top. Serves 4 to 6.

Other recipes you may enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
White Bean Cream of Asparagus Soup
Warm Baby Potato and Asparagus Salad
Quinoa and White Bean Salad with Wasabi and Roasted Asparagus

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Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I have a pound of asparagus languishing in the fridge as we speak!

Priya Suresh said...

Nutritious and healthy filling dish..

The Food Hunter said...

Sounds delicious.

Suzanne said...

This sounds like a great summer dish. Asparagus is still in season over here too!

Anonymous said...

No more asparagus for me this year, alas.. But I may try a version with some green beans, I love the combo cannellini - lemon rice.

puzzlemaster said...

I'm curious why you added the acid to the soaking liquid. Does this change the consistency of the beans. I've had problems with cannellini's falling apart on me, so I've sometimes added salt at the beginning of the boil to firm them up a bit. But since you're going to mash these anyhow...