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Seared White Beans with Pumpkin Seeds

Serves 6-8

© by Angie Mosier


  • Dried White Beans such as navy beans, cannellini, or Great Northern, 1 lb
  • Garlic 3 cloves, not peeled
  • Red Onion 1⁄2
  • Fresh Epazote or Cilantro 3 sprigs
  • Kosher Salt 1 Tbs
  • Raw Hulled Pumpkin Seeds ½ lb
  • Toasted Sesame Oil 2 Tbs
  • Peanut Oil 2 Tbs
  • Olive Oil 2 Tbs
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper ½ tsp, or more to taste
  • Coarsely Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves and Upper Stems 1 cup, plus 1 Tbs for garnish
  • Coarsely Chopped Fresh Chives 1 cup, plus 1 Tbs for garnish
  • Scallions 3 to 4, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Limes 3 or 4, halved
  • Fresh Habanero or Serrano Chile 1, minced, for garnish

Cook It

  1. Rinse the beans in cold water and pick over for stones and broken beans. Drain and place in a large pot. Cover with at least 3 inches of water (about 14 cups). Add the garlic, onion, and epazote or cilantro and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Add the salt and cook for 15 to 30 minutes more, or until the broth has thickened to a soupy consistency and the beans are cooked through and soft but not falling apart. Turn off the heat.
  3. With a fork or a pair of tongs, remove the onion, garlic, and herb sprig and discard. Drain the beans in a colander and set aside in the colander in the sink or set over a bowl so the beans continue to drain.
  4. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring constantly, until they brown lightly, smell toasty, and some of the seeds pop like popcorn, 4 to 5 minutes. Take care not to let them burn, as they can turn bitter quickly. Transfer the seeds to a food processor and pulse until they are ground to a medium-fine consistency.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon each of the three oils in a Dutch oven or large deep skillet over high heat. Add half of the cooked beans, season with 1⁄4 teaspoon of the pepper, and sear for a couple of minutes, stirring. The skins of the beans should begin to brown. Add half of the ground pumpkin seeds, half the cilantro, and half of the chives and cook for a minute or two. Scrape onto a serving platter. Heat the remaining tablespoons of the three oils and repeat with the second batch of beans, seasoning the beans with the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and then adding the remaining pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and chives. Scrape out over the first batch. Top with the scallions and the cilantro and chives for garnish.
  6. Serve, giving everyone a half lime to squeeze over their serving. Pass the chopped serrano or habanero for those who want some heat.

Cook’s Note: You can use 3 (15-ounce) cans white beans instead of the home-cooked (omit the simmering step). Cannellini beans will hold their shape best, followed by Great Northern, and then navy beans.

Excerpted from Pati Jinich Treasures of the Mexican Table: Classic Recipes, Local Secrets by Pati Jinich. (C) 2021 Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books. All rights reserved.

Read the review here.