White Bean Puttanesca with Garlic Bread

by Andie Mitchell on April 1, 2014

white bean puttanesca with garlic bread


I feel like I crossed a milestone this month.

I have begun…to meal plan. And not just scribble down a few rough ideas on the back of an envelope on my way out the door to the market, either. No. I’m sitting down (at my coffee table, so don’t take me for too rigid a woman), for about twenty minutes, on Sunday afternoons and thinking about recipes. It’s something I did years ago when I lived in Philadelphia and then in Seattle — something I was much better about when I was also better about budgeting and wearing non-yoga pants more than three times per week, but now, I’m getting back into the swing of things.

white bean puttanesca with garlic bread


The recipes, you’d think, would be the easy part. What am I in the mood for? But think of those times when someone asks you to name your favorite books…or your favorite movies…and how you draw a complete and utter blank. It’s kind of like that with the recipe ideas. So to keep me from the same ol’ “…uuuhhhh….taco salad?” song-and-dance, I’ve come up with a system of saving the recipes that I find online during the week in a Google Doc, and then using that to narrow down my list.


All through the work week, whenever I find a recipe on a blog (or Pinterest, or anywhere, really) that looks and sounds absolutely delicious, I just quickly copy the URL and paste it into a document or, for Mac/iPhone users — into NotePad, because the two sync. You could also Pin it, if you’re active on Pinterest, but I don’t know, Pinterest really makes me feel all the feelings, and none of them are anything but absolutely drowning in overwhelm. Point is: at the end of the week, you simply go through all the recipes you’ve collected, and pick out the ones you’d like to make. It’s a little work in advance, and it pays off.

white bean puttanesca with garlic bread


This dish is part of my third full week of meal planning. It follows all of my meal planning guidelines. According to, well OK yes, just me, the recipe must be:

1. Healthful (in accordance with my own personal standards, which are admittedly not crazy daisy high, but are reasonable, flexible, and realistic). In general, I like to cook in a wholesome, light way at home. I reserve the more over-the-top, extra-cheesy, ooey-gooey meals for restaurants — unless I’m entertaining.

2. Prep to plate in under an hour. This, unless I’m making something on a weekend, is entirely reasonable. Most meals that I make Monday through Friday can be prepared in thirty minutes.

3. No crazy ingredients. None of the recipe ingredients can be things that I wouldn’t use for at least five other recipes that I can think of off the top of my head. OR, if I do need an exotic spice, I MIGHT be more likely to buy it IF I can buy it in a smaller quantity at the bulk spice bin at Whole Foods — which, by the way, was a genius invention.

4. Budget-friendly. This is something that I’ll focus on MOST of the time. Say, 98% of the time. There will be weeks when I’m going to buy the $15/lb salmon or the $16/lb sea scallops, so I’m just basically preparing both of us mentally and emotionally now.


So. About this dish. Took me long enough to get here, didn’t it?


White bean puttanesca. WITH GARLIC BREAD. It was inspired by two things: 1.) Chicken Puttanesca in a Foil Packet — a recipe in the latest issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, and 2.) The garlic bread that I ate at Buca di Beppo on Saturday night. Was I interested in the Puttanesca? Of course, sure. Was I interested in creating a saucy something-or-other in which to dip garlic bread? Next question.

white bean puttanesca with garlic bread


I chose to use cannellini beans here because they seemed to be more cost effective and much faster to cook with, and I love the way that they combine with the kalamata olives, artichokes, and diced tomatoes texturally to form a bean salad of sorts. I wanted to say hot bean salad, but that doesn’t sound so good, does it? The sauce for all of this is made simply from onions and lots of garlic sautéed in olive oil, and a can of undrained diced tomatoes. It’s bright and slightly salty in that lovely Mediterranean way olives are, and made a teeny bit briney from the addition of capers.


The garlic bread is as straight-forward and perfect as when my mother used to split hamburger buns, lay them open face on a baking sheet, butter them to high heaven, and then broil them until the tops blistered. This time, though, I used garlic-infused olive oil. A halved baguette, cut into five-inch sections, brushed with oil, sprinkled with red pepper flakes and oregano, and then baked. I obviously burnt mine about a million times, then burnt my hands. Then the oven door fell off — true story. Then I took these photographs anyway, and ate this meal sitting in Sabrina’s room on the floor where I took the photographs. Isn’t that precisely the way it would go?


Hope you’re well, friends!

White Bean Puttanesca with Garlic Bread

Yield: 4 servings


    For the Puttanesca:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 of a 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, quartered (in water or brine)
  • 2/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped (1/2 of a ~10-ounce jar of olives in water or brine)
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • For the Garlic Bread:
  • 1/2 of a standard-size baguette or 1 demi-baguette (about 12-inches long)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. 1. Make the Puttanesca: Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until just beginning to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes and bring the pan to a simmer.
  2. 2. Add the cannellini beans and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. 3. Stir in the artichoke hearts, olives, and capers. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste for seasonings, adding salt or pepper according to preference. Reduce the heat to low and make the garlic bread.
  4. 4. Make the garlic bread: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the baguette in half length-wise, and then in half width-wise, to create four 5- or 6-inch sections. Place the baguette pieces on a baking sheet cut-side-up.
  5. 5. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir constantly to ensure that it doesn't burn. Sauté until just faintly brown, fragrant, and soft, 1 to 2 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary so that the garlic does not burn. Remove the pan from heat immediately and pour the garlic oil into a small bowl. **Note that you want to to infuse the oil and to soften the garlic, but it does burn very easily, so feel free to lower the heat or remove the pan from heat occasionally.
  6. 6. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  7. 7. Using a pastry brush, brush each slice of baguette evenly with the infused oil. Sprinkle liberally with the oregano-pepper mixture. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. 8. Serve immediately: Divide the cannellini puttanesca among four serving bowls. Garnish each with 2 tablespoons of fresh basil and 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese. Serve with garlic bread.


Nutrition Information for 1 Serving (1/4th of Entire Recipe INCLUDING garlic bread): Calories: 573, Total Fat: 21.7g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Total Carbohydrate: 80.8g, Dietary Fiber: 16.2g, Sugars: 7g, Protein: 21.3g

1 Serving WITHOUT GARLIC BREAD: Calories: 393, Total Fat: 14.7g, Cholesterol: 4mg, Total Carbohydrate: 55.8g, Dietary Fiber: 15.2g, Sugars: 7g, Protein: 16.3g




Weight Loss Inspiration

  • it was me all along
    My book, It Was Me All Along, is available for preorder!
    Monday, June 23rd, 2014 | 90 responses Comments

    There really aren’t cards I could send with meaningful enough words — I’ve looked. Thank you for blowing me away with unimaginable kindness. With love the size of Alaska. I read all of your comments, your emails, tweets, Instagram comments, and more, and I was sweating from the warmth. I’v…


  • dd1032a8-56ac-46a9-84e2-48e9c72640cf_zps8811203f
    Losing and Gaining…and Accepting Myself at Every Weight
    Monday, June 9th, 2014 | 233 responses Comments

    [All of the pictures of me in this post were taken within the past 10 days.]
    June 1st marks the 9 year anniversary — do we call it that? — of when I began my weight loss journey. Nine. Five minutes ago I was in college, then out of college and a terrible under-flaired waitress at Outback Steakh…


  • photo 2 (4)
    Putting My Mom on a Diet: 1 Year Later
    Sunday, June 1st, 2014 | 54 responses Comments

    Guys and dolls: remember Mom? The one who birthed me, raised me with an unfailing sweet tooth, dressed me in stirrup pants and mock turtlenecks until 6th grade, and continues to ladle guilt upon me like only a good Irish Catholic mother can? Yes, that’s the one. Mom.
    Well, you might also rememb…


  • calf
    On eating meat
    Sunday, March 9th, 2014 | 72 responses Comments

    photo by Kevin Dooley
    I, Andie Mitchell, am crazy about animals. So let’s start there. I’m one of those annoying people who emails friends with the latest video of a squirrel and a duck playing together. I can’t pass a dog on the street without breaking into a wide-eyed grin and saying hello in t…


  • brunch
    Eating Healthy Most of the Time Is Good Enough
    Thursday, February 20th, 2014 | 54 responses Comments

    photo by kris krug
    During my many years of ups and downs [and ups and ups and downs and ups and...you get it], one of the most common patterns I created was starting a diet on a Monday and then falling off the wagon on Saturday. Once I “cheated” on the plan, I’d feel like it was pointless to co…


  • 3572721567_2dd289b138
    Thoughts on The Biggest Loser, from Someone Who Has Lost Over 100 Pounds
    Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 | 54 responses Comments

    So there’s this show. The Biggest Loser. Maybe you watch it? I know I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past, but I’ve never really written at length about how I feel about it. I’d love to know how you feel.

    Let’s start with the basics: TBL follows a simple formula: Two groups of obese men…


  • food addiction
    Is Food an Addiction?
    Tuesday, January 28th, 2014 | 59 responses Comments

    photo by Angelo De Santis

    I know, I know. It’s been debated. Extensively. In medicine, in nutrition–does compulsive and/or binge eating qualify as an addiction? While both eating behaviors tend to share many of the same traits as other addictions (loss of control, adverse health and so…


  • turkey wrap
    Should you drink diet soda if you want to lose weight?
    Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 | 84 responses Comments

    photo by Alejandro Mallea
    Those of you who follow the blog know that my biggest weakness when it comes to food is sugar. In terms of pure visceral enjoyment, cake may very well be my favorite meal (trust me, it can be a meal). So when I began to turn my health around and cut back on sweets, I turne…