Scrolling through Bon Appetit recently, I saw a recipe for Borlotti Beans (AKA cranberry/Roman beans) and wanted to give it a try. As I thought about how I would eat them, I remembered how delicious bean loaded baked potatoes were. I also knew that as these beans were a “summer” dish, I wanted a vegetable topping for the potato that had some tang and pizazz without making the meal heavier. What I came up with was a baked potato topped with Tuscan beans, cherry tomatoes, and garlicky spinach – I hope you’ll give it a try. I scaled down the bean recipe from Bon Appetit to 1 pound of dry beans because 2.5 pounds of beans sounded like enough to feed a small army!
Legumes are cool.
Tuscan Bean + Cherry Tomato & Spinach Loaded Potato
Cranberry/Roman beans look a lot like pinto beans once they’re cooked, but they have a much more toothsome bite.
To bake a potato:
- 4 Russett potatoes, washed
- olive oil
For the beans:
- 1 pound Cranberry or Roman beans, washed and picked over
- 6-8 fresh sage leaves
- 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt + pepper
For the cherry tomatoes and wilted spinach:
- 24 oz fresh spinach (3, 8 oz bags)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- olive oil
- salt + pepper
1. Soak the beans overnight. OR, quick soak, at least three hours in advance of when you’d like to eat: add the beans to a large pot, cover with water by one inch, and bring to a boil. Cover and let sit for two hours. This quick soak will allow the beans to cook in about 40 minutes.
2. Bake the potatoes. Preheat the oven to 425. Wash the potatoes and prick a few holes in each. Rub each potato with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for one hour or until a fork easily pierces the potato.
3. Cook the beans. To the beans, add the sage, garlic, plum tomatoes, and olive oil. Make sure they are covered with water by one inch. Bring to a boil and then simmer, slightly uncovered, stirring occasionally. When the beans become tender, season with salt and pepper. (The beans should be cooked through in about 40 minutes if you did the quick soak method on the stove, and the tomatoes, sage, and garlic will have essentially dissolved in the thick bean liquid.)
4. Cook the cherry tomatoes and spinach. When the beans and potatoes are nearly done, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until some of the tomatoes begin to burst. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Build your potato. Slice the potato down the center and squeeze the ends to open. Pile on a couple spoonfuls of beans, topping with one-fourth of the cherry tomatoes and spinach. Serve. (There will likely be a few leftover beans.)