Food EyeSwoon Unplugged:

This Brothy White Beans “Situation” With Sourdough and Pistou Is Delicious!

Words and Recipe Development by Romilly Newman.

This Brothy White Beans “Situation” With Sourdough and Pistou Is Delicious!

I call this easy white beans recipe a “situation” because that’s precisely what it is. Use my recipe as a guide for cooking beans, but you can really add any aromatics you want—make it wonderfully spicy or omit the chilies altogether! This is now your brothy bean situation and I encourage you to forget I even exist.

That being said, the spices and charred lemon add a wonderfully nuanced flavor to the legumes, and the crunchy bread on top is obviously my favorite part of this entire dish. Then the pistou—a classic French Provençal sauce made from cloves of garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, and Parmesan, occasionally—serves as a pop of zesty freshness on top that I feel is needed to contrast the richness of the beans.

This Brothy White Beans “Situation” With Sourdough and Pistou Is Delicious!
This Brothy White Beans “Situation” With Sourdough and Pistou Is Delicious!

I love this dish. Mostly because it tastes and feels like a hug, and, in my opinion, is season neutral. Serve at room temperature or cold in the summer months. Keep reading for the recipe and be sure to share your own version of this easy white beans recipe with me on Instagram @romillynewman. I can’t wait to see your creations. Trust the process, experiment, play, and above all, enjoy!

This Brothy White Beans “Situation” With Sourdough and Pistou Is Delicious!

Brothy White Beans with Sourdough and Pistou

Romilly Newman


For beans: 

1 lb dried white beans, soaked overnight ( I like Rancho Gordo)

2 lemons, halved crosswise 

1 yellow onion, halved 

3 carrots, sliced into 1” pieces

3 shallots, halved lengthwise 

1 head of garlic, peel on, top cut off 

1 tsp coriander seeds 

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tbsp black peppercorns 

8 thyme sprigs

4 dried small red chilis 

½ cup olive oil 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp apple cider vinegar 

For sourdough: 

½ loaf sourdough, torn into irregular pieces 

1 tbsp olive oil

Flakey salt 


For pistou: 

1 bunch basil 

½ bunch flat-leaf parsley

1 garlic clove, minced 

Zest of one lemon

½ cup olive oil




For Beans:

In a small skillet on high heat, cook lemon halves flesh side down until lightly charred. This should take 2-3 minutes. Make sure there is plenty of color and don’t worry if they appear slightly burnt. 

In a large dutch oven add beans, onion, shallots, garlic, and carrots. Cover with cold water till it reaches about 3 inches higher than the beans. Add thyme, coriander, fennel seeds, chilis, peppercorns, lemons, olive oil, and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the beans are tender, and the broth is both flavorful and reduced. About 2 hours. Check beans frequently and taste for seasoning. Once done, add apple cider vinegar and serve. 

For roasted bread: 

Preheat oven to 325F.

While the beans are stewing, roast your bread. Take your sourdough and tear into rough, irregular squares. Don’t worry if they vary slightly in size. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and place in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until golden brown and crisp, but not burnt. Set aside and let cool. 

For Pistou: 

As Audrey of Pardon Your French writes, traditional French Pistou Sauce should be made in a large Mortar. She states: “French purists will tell you that there is only one way to make Pistou—by hand. The ingredients are pureed in the mortar with a pestle until creamy.” But for ease and simplicity, she notes that using a blender is now common practice which is what I did for this recipe. 

Either chop by hand or use a small blender/food processor until the basil and parsley are incredibly fine. Place in a medium mixing bowl with garlic, lemon zest, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Check for seasoning, and if too thick/thin you can adjust the oil amount. This should be very saucy. 

To serve: Place beans and their liquids in a bowl. Top with sourdough and pistou. Finish with a bit of fresh lemon zest and salt and pepper. 


  • I leave about an inch of the green tops from the carrots on for added flavor and reduced waste. 
  • Taste and adjust. This is a guide, but I strongly encourage you to adjust flavors based on preference. Run with it.
  • Can be served at any temperature. 
  • Leave the peel on carrots, onions, and garlic. Adds flavor and makes this super easy. This is rustic and fun. 
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