Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cannellini Marbella: a Vegan Spin on a Traditional Mediterranean Dish

The first time that my wife cooked for me, back when we were dating, she made Chicken Marbella.  It was delicious.  Little did I know it was one of only a handful of things she knew how to cook!  Of course now she is as good a cook as me (largely due to my tutelage).  But the Marbella is still a wonderful dish, and we still make it occasionally.  Courtney got it from her mother, Jan, who contributed it to a state department cookbook many years ago.

Last night we decided to give it a new twist.  We didn't have any meat in the house, as we are trying to eat vegetarian as often as possible, so we decided to give Cannellini Beans Marbella a try.  It was a delightful experiment, and one we are sure to repeat.  The base of the sauce is chopped prunes, crushed olives and capers, simmered in white wine and red wine vinegar.  It is sweet, salty, and tangy, providing a complex and exciting glaze to liven up the Cannellinis,  The process is pretty simple and the cooking time is very quick, making this an excellent weeknight meal.  The fact that it is vegan makes this a very green weeknight meal.

While Chicken Marbella is a baked dish, this version is all prepared in one pan on the stove top.

Cannellini Beans Marbella:
(Serves 4)

2 Cup Precooked Cannellini Beans, or 1 Can
2 or 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Chopped Prunes
1/4 cup Green Olives, pitted and crushed
2 tbsp. Capers, with brine
2 Bay Leaves
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Parsley
1/4 cup White Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Brown Sugar (or demerara)
Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

Saute the garlic and prunes in the olive oil until garlic is softened, but not browned.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the beans, and bring the liquid to a boil.  Bring down to a simmer until the liquid reduces to a syrupy glaze, about 15 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Add the beans and stir to coat with the sauce.  Continue stirring until beans are heated through, about 5 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Cannellini Beans Marbella


  1. WOW, they sound wonderful! Thanks for sharing, Earth Cafe Living Foods

  2. I just came across this while searching for cannellini beans - I love them, and just used them tonight as a base for the "what's in my kitchen? cover it with cheese and bake it!" meal I made. Tossed with some arugula, garlic, olive oil and spices, heated on the stove till slightly mushy and brown, and served underneath the baked dish. Delish!