Kitchen Bootcamp: White bean mash

For this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp, Jen challenged us to work with legumes or grains.  I was pleased this challenge did not come earlier in the year because after our trip to Mexico at Christmas, we were a little “beaned out” – having eaten some form of beans with pretty much every meal. They really are very versatile and I don’t cook enough with them so was happy to experiment with a dish inspired by our trip.

Take a look at these pictures from our trip (sorry – a few poor quality iPhone pics there…) and see if you can find something they all have in common…

Yup, there’s always a little side of some form of mashed beans, usually topped with queso fresco and sometimes with an accompanying tortilla chip.  I was a big fan of this – it’s a nice, tasty way to build some extra protein into a meal (though you will also notice the abundance of eggs – another food we didn’t eat for a month after the trip!! Protein overload!).

I was excited to try to recreate this little side dish for this month’s Kitchen Bootcamp and was even more excited to find a recipe for a black bean mash on page 819 of The Professional Chef.  As you can see from the pictures above, black beans were served much less often than say, fava beans, so I wanted to recreate something with a lighter bean.  I found myself with a large amount of white navy beans, leftover from my New Mexican green chile stew so I soaked some of these overnight and got to work, tasting along the way to make sure it was on track..

Mexican white bean mash

Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 60 mins
Total Time 13 hrs

Inspired by a recent trip to Mexico where we were served beans with every meal and adapted from The Professional Chef, p. 819

Yields 10


  • 1lb (454g) dried white (navy) beans
  • water (or chicken stock) as needed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons oregano powder
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • crumbled feta and cilantro, to serve


  1. Rinse the beans well in cold water.
  2. Soak the beans overnight.
  3. Drain and rinse the beans.
  4. Place the beans in the stock or water combined with the oregano powder and bay leaf (there should be a couple of inches more water than beans)and simmer, uncovered, for about 60-90 minutes or until the beans are tender enough to mash against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Most of the water should have evaporated. If you have more than about ¼ cup, drain the excess. Remove the bay leaf and remove beans from heat.
  5. Add the minced shallots, garlic, cumin, cilantro and oregano and, using an immersion blender, mash until the mixture is as smooth or as lumpy as you like it. I like to keep it a bit lumpy - prefer the rustic look.
  6. Mix the olive oil into the beans. This is not a creamy mixture - it's more dry - so if you are serving it a few days later a drop of olive oil should be mixed in to moisten it a little.
  7. Sprinkle with a little crumbled feta and cilantro and serve as you wish - with breakfast scrambled eggs, with tortilla chips as a dip, in a quesadilla…. The possibilities are endless!


I served this to Neil for his breakfast yesterday with huevos revueltos con tocino y tortillas (scrambled eggs and bacon with corn tortillas) but since he had been up all of 5 minutes, he found it “too hard” to eat before a coffee. I say that if someone serves you breakfast as you are seated at the breakfast table, you shouldn’t complain.  He did say thank you though 😉

I enjoyed this as a dip and I can see that it would be great in a quesadilla. I also believe it’s pretty darn close to what we were eating at breakfast in Mexico.

Want to join us working through the chapters of the Professional Chef? Check out the Kitchen Bootcamp page here and buy The Professional Chef on Amazon.ca or Amazon.com.

** Don’t forget to check out next month’s “Forever Nigella” event – I’m hosting a street party in honour of the Royal Wedding and would love for you to join me. All the details here.

37 Responses to Kitchen Bootcamp: White bean mash

  1. Jason Phelps April 25, 2011 at 07:01 #

    We love white beans. As long as you don’t eat them too much you won’t get tired of them easily. So good and if you prepare them light pretty good for you too!


  2. Belinda @zomppa April 25, 2011 at 07:39 #

    Beans, beans, the more you eat them…=) Fantastic!

  3. Michelle April 25, 2011 at 08:12 #

    I love making white bean dips with pureed canellini beans and truffle oil.

  4. Stephanie April 25, 2011 at 08:29 #

    Wonderful! Sounds like a wonderful dish to make for a change in flavors around my house! p.s. your IPhone pictures are great 🙂

  5. Angela@RecipesFromMyMom April 25, 2011 at 08:51 #

    We’ve been eating more beans for the fiber and protein, but also because of how affordable they are. Love to see another great way to prepare them.

  6. Nelly Rodriguez April 25, 2011 at 09:38 #

    This looks delicious! I love beans in all shapes and forms, so a dip seems obvious! I’d love to eat this with a side of rice!

  7. Emily April 25, 2011 at 09:43 #

    Yummy! I make a white bean dip similar to this and it’s always a hit at parties. I like all your extra additions to this dip though–I will have to try!

  8. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods April 25, 2011 at 12:59 #

    Love the white bean mash. Being a vegetarian, I know exactly what you mean about getting “beaned out!” LOL!

  9. Eliot April 25, 2011 at 16:15 #

    This sounds fantastic and so much healthier than refried beans! I love all the variations as well! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Magic of Spice April 25, 2011 at 17:47 #

    I love bean dishes in all forms…this sounds like a very versatile side and looks great 🙂

  11. sippitysup April 25, 2011 at 18:47 #

    That topo one is similar to a version I just had in Costa Rica. GREG

  12. Jan April 25, 2011 at 18:54 #

    I love that the recipe includes a whole tablespoon of cumin. Cumin and beans are such a great combo. I can’t wait to try this 🙂

  13. Liz April 25, 2011 at 20:00 #

    Laughing at all the beans you ate on your trip…but they gave you inspiration! I’d love this mash with chips~

  14. penny aka jeroxie April 25, 2011 at 23:51 #

    I am not sure if I could stomach beans for brekkie but if you make it, then I shall!

  15. Junia @ Mis Pensamientos April 27, 2011 at 14:05 #

    the white bean mash looks great!!! healthier recipe version of the traditional mashed potatoes with some fiber and protein 🙂

  16. Paula April 27, 2011 at 21:40 #

    Only you can make a little pile of white bean mash look deliciously appetizing! Great post and great photos Mardi.

  17. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction April 28, 2011 at 22:20 #

    This looks great! When I think of Mexican dishes, I usually opt for black beans or pinto beans… I will definitely try the white beans next time. Thanks for submitting this for Kitchen Bootcamp!

  18. Conor @ Hold the Beef May 2, 2011 at 13:30 #

    I had a really tasty white bean mash sitting under some chicken breast for lunch at the tennis last year, from the ‘healthy choices’ or ‘heart tick choices’ or whatever they named the non-crunchy-fried-etc part of the menu of the fancypants cafe at Rod Laver. I really loved it (despite having a little envy of the chips I spied on other peoples’ plates) and thought it really isn’t served enough. I like the nice chunky texture of yours, and when I’m allowed to eat beans again I think I might just have a crack (insert fart joke here).


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