Want brothy beans, but didn’t think to put a pot on the stove hours ago to simmer? Fret not. You can have a bright, healthy, and delicious lunch in less time than it takes for delivery to arrive. Swap and replace at will, including making it vegetarian or vegan.

Includes another installment in the Wonder & Sundry amateur food video series.

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Not-quite brothy beans

Everywhere I looked on the food internets in the last couple of months, I kept seeing rapturous articles about brothy beans. They looked delicious. I’m unlikely to ever make them. My truest confession is that if I’m going to spend hours simmering something, it’s unlikely to be a pot of beans. In my mind I have a “bang-for-buck” calculation when it comes to food and effort. I love beans, but I also love other things. Like time.

When I saw the recipes, though, I thought, “that looks like something I make for lunch, only I get to eat in like less than 30 minutes.” Working from home, I make this on the regular, answering emails while things simmer, but you could also whip this up the night before and then heat and assemble at the office. It’s another back-pocket recipe.

If simmering a pot of beans is your thing, go for it. But if you’re hungry and want beans now, this recipe is going to get you there.

Brothy-ish Beans
Brothy-ish beans and greens

A choose-your-own adventure recipe

This is a total choose-your-own adventure recipe. Swap out herbs, if you have something else on hand. Don’t have fresh herbs? Use dried. You could even get away with garlic powder if you don’t have garlic. I use a little bit of chicken broth (often just Better than Bullion), but it’s great with veggie broth, too. I’ve always used cannellini beans to make this, but another white bean would work here, too.

To serve, I used farro in the video, but rice is lovely, as is a bit of thick-sliced toast. For greens, I’ve included options for fresh arugula or a bit of sautéed kale, but I think you’re starting to get the point. A jammy egg makes this heartier, and the shaved parmesan adds a bit of saltiness at the end.

Leave out the egg and the parmesan and go with veggie stock, and you have a lovely, fast, and healthy vegan lunch.

In short, the world is your (canned) bean.

Brothy-ish Beans

Lunchtime Brothy-ish Beans and Greens

Here's a recipe inspired by brothy beans that you can make on your work-from-home lunchbreak using ingredients you likely already have on hand (see notes for substitutions). I tend to serve this over farro or rice, but you could easily do this with thick slices of toast. A jammy egg can help round this out, but the choice is yours. Tasty, cheap, nutritious, and fast—what's not to love?
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people


For the Beans

  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped You can increase or decrease this to taste. Finely chopping the onion reduces the cook time
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced finely See note
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock I often use Better than Bullion for this. If you do, then use half of the directed amount
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 sprig thyme See note
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley See note
  • 2 pinches parmesan cheese, shredded, (optional) This would be a good place to use a bit of rind, if you have it
  • kosher salt To taste, see instructions
  • black pepper To taste

Pick one of the following greens

  • 2 small handfuls arugula
  • 3 leaves Tuscan kale, sautéed in a little extra virgin olive oil

Pick one of the following

  • ½ cup farro, cooked
  • ½ cup rice, cooked
  • 2 thick slices toasted bread


  • 2 jammy eggs
  • parmesan cheese shavings to taste


  • Start the farro or rice, if using and cook the jammy eggs. Keep the farro or rice warm. If making toast, make this while the beans have their simmer
  • In a heavy bottomed pot (I use Le Creuset), heat the olive oil over medium heat
  • When shimmering, add the onion and garlic, and cook until they are softened and translucent, adjusting heat as required to prevent browning
  • When softened, add the broth, beans, herbs, lemon juice, and cheese
  • Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Simmer for about 5 minutes
  • Serve over your choice of starch, accompanied by your choice of greens. Add egg if you wish, and top with shaved parmesan (optional), fresh-ground black pepper, and flaky sea salt



Garlic powder and dried herbs are perfectly acceptable substitutes, and feel free to change up the thyme for another herb. 
You'll need to adjust your salt according to your broth and your beans. Taste your way here.
Keyword beans, brothy beans, cannellini beans, farro, garlic, jammy egg, kale, lunch, onions
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

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