Thanksgiving Recipe: Fennel & Rosemary Cannellini Beans

Posted by / Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Food Desk NoteWelcome to our Thanksgiving reader recipe series. Our team of NoVA food enthusiasts submitted their favorite holiday recipes that we’ll feature throughout the month. Enjoy these dishes perfect for gatherings.

Photo by Elizabeth Robertson

Fennel & Rosemary Cannellini Beans
Submitted by Elizabeth Robertson

Fennel and rosemary Cannellini Beans Feel like serving mashed potatoes with dinner this fall? Think again. These beans are the perfect replacement for your carb-packed potatoes. They are easy, delicious, and full of protein. You can even blend them until they are smooth enough to fool your family and guests into thinking they ARE mashed potatoes! Serve them anytime this fall under fish, pork, or chicken and on Thanksgiving Day as your healthy-replacement “potato”!

Click through for the recipe. 


Frying the beans:

  • 2 15.5 oz cans of Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Sprigs fresh rosemary, greens removed from the stem, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 5-6 Tbsp butter/olive oil (you may need more so keep more on hand).
  • 1/2 Medium sized red onion, clean and finely chopped
  • 1 Fennel bulb, clean and finely chopped
  • 3 Large cloves garlic pressed or finely diced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Pureeing the beans:

  • 1-2 Cups whipping cream. If you want to make them more runny, but don’t want to use cream, you can add chicken broth.
  • 4 Tbsp butter/olive oil
  • 1 Sliver of lemon


  1. In a non-stick large frying pan, on low-medium heat, melt 2-3 tbsp of butter/olive oil. Saute your red onion, until fragrant.
  2. Now add your fennel and garlic. Your goal is to keep these ingredients saturated at all times, avoid browning or burning. Sometimes this means lowering the temperature or adding more butter/oo. Just be sure to keep your eyes on them.
  3. Time to add your rosemary, cook for 2-3 minutes and mix your ingredients together so they are all well distributed.
  4. Add another tbsp of butter/olive oil and throw in your beans. Fry these on medium heat, again trying not to brown or burn any of your other ingredients. Cook on medium heat, while stirring, for 5-7 minutes. Using a wooden spatula, push down on your beans a little as you mix them up. Taste them and add salt and fresh ground pepper as you like. 
  5.  Remove your beans from the heat and place in a pyrex or heat-safe bowl to cool. Allow to come to room temperature.
  6. Get your food processor ready, place half the beans in the processor. Melt half the butter and put 1/2 cup of whipping cream or broth into the food processor. Blend.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of your lemon sliver. It is up to you how well blended you want them. I like mine a bit chunky, but you can easily blend them to the point where they will become smooth. Sometimes that may require more liquid (either cream, broth, or butter/oo).
  8. Once you like their texture, remove the batch and repeat with the other half. Mix the two batches together in your bowl. They can be served at room temperature or warm/hot. The more you blend them and saturate them with oil/butter the more wet they will become. You can see from my above photo that I kept them a bit drier. I served them under a piece of salmon.

I enjoy creating healthy recipes and sharing them with family and friends! Come cook with me!

Elizabeth Robertson is a food blogger at 

Reader Recipes have not been tested by Northern Virginia Magazine. For recipe questions, or if you would like to submit recipes for a future series, please email The Food Desk

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3 Responses

Nate Wallace Says:

Looks delicious. Great idea!

Antoinette Robertson Says:

It is delicious and goes along nicely when cooking the root veges of fall, like beets…

jerilyn ray shelley Says:

Wish I’d seen this yesterday… my mouth is watering here! Very creative…good for you! Happy Thanksgiving…. jerilyn

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