beans on toast, two ways

Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner — whatever the meal, these beans on toast are a winner. They’re also a great reminder that canned food, jarred food, dried food and all other foods preserved from earlier seasons can and should be your friends (especially in winter). In this case: simply pairing beans with tomato sauce or with pesto and serving them on toasted bread is bound to bring you both flavour and pleasure.

how to make quick beans on toast (with tomatoes)

Take your favourite beans (cooked), add some strained tomatoes (aka passata) or tomato sauce, season with salt and pepper and let simmer in a pot just a few minutes to heat everything up, mellow out the tomato sauce, and let the flavours combine. Serve on toast. That’s it! Yes, really.


If you want to jazz things up with your favourite herbs and spices, please do. I highly recommend it. Here I cooked some mixed beans with cremini mushrooms, olive oil, cracked black pepper, and the secret magic ingredient that always takes these beans to the next level: fresh thyme.

So have some fun and get creative! Use onions, garlic, honey… the list of possibilities goes on and on. Just let yourself be inspired by what’s in your kitchen, and throw in whatever makes you happy.


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how to make slow beans on toast (with green pesto)

First, if you want quick beans on toast with pesto, simply follow my lead here. Basically all you have to do is warm up some canned white beans with olive oil and garlic, and then mush some in with vegetable stock. Top with homemade herb oil or pesto. Alternatively, skip the pesto and just top your beans with olive oil, flaky salt, and citrus zest.

Now, if you want all the satisfaction that comes with cooking your own beans, here’s how I do it:


  • about 1 cup dried white beans
  • ½ a large white onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large stalk of celery
  • 4 – 6 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium dried bay leaves
  • 1 small potato
  • your milk of choice (optional)
  • herbs, dried (1tsp) or fresh (1Tbsp)
  • chili flakes
  • some quality pesto, homemade or store bought *
  • butter
  • sliced bread (sourdough is great but not a requisite)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
    * this one is my favourite and I hope you can find it near you too


  1. The night before, put your white beans in a bowl, cover generously with water, and let soak for at least 8 hours*
  2. Dice the half onion. Halve the carrot lengthwise, then finely slice across its width on a slight diagonal. Cut the celery like you did the carrot – in half lengthwise, then thinly across. Crush your cloves of garlic to remove their peels.
  3. In a pot or saucepan on medium-high heat, pour in enough olive oil to generously cover its bottom. Add the onion, then after a couple of minutes add the carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, and once the vegetables have softened (about 6 or so minutes) stir in the garlic cloves and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Let the garlic cook with the vegetables for a couple of minutes while you finely dice the potato and drain and rinse the beans. Transfer the beans and potato to the pot, then add enough just-boiled water to cover by about 2cm. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot loosely with a lid, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and add a splash of milk (I used oat) if you like, as well as an additional seasoning of salt, your favourite herbs or herb blend (I like a bit of thyme and rosemary), and as many chili flakes as you’d like (I used just a light sprinkling). Crush some of beans to thicken them up, then return the lid to simmer a further 15-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and crush a few more beans if you’d like them to be creamier.
  6. To serve, butter both sides of a slice of bread and toast until golden in a frying pan with olive oil and a faint sprinkle salt on medium-high heat. Stir some beans through a spoonful of quality pesto, then spread on top of the toast. Top with extra pesto, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
    * In a pinch, soak for at least one hour in just-boiled water


A little foresight goes a long way, and these beans are very much worth it, but let me reassure you that both versions are just as filling as they are satisfying. Toasting the bread in a pan with generous amounts of olive oil and butter is key!

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