Cannellini Beans with Basil Pesto and Kalamata Olives

Nutrition / July 5, 2016

This is a new recipe I thought up and cooked over the weekend because my son, Galen, can actually eat all the ingredients! At the moment, he is avoiding dairy, all the grains and more. So, I’ve had to get a little creative.

Thankfully, this turned out really well – and looks beautiful!

Pesto is so versatile. It makes a great pasta sauce, it also works well with steamed vegetables, potatoes, even in omelets! There are tons of uses and thus, lots of ways to sneak more bone-building greens into meals.

Cannellini Beans


Cannellini Beans with Basil Pesto and Kalamata Olives


  • Cannellini beans, 1 quart dried organic beans (least $ in the bulk section of your grocery)
  • Basil, organic, 4 ounces
  • Extra virgin, organic olive oil 1/4 cup (avoid oils packaged in plastic, look for glass or metal containers, as shown in the Trader Joe’s product pictured)
  • Pine nuts, organic, 3 ounces (if you cannot find organic pine nuts, substitute organic walnuts or pecans)
  • Red onion, organic, 1 large
  • Kalamata olives, organic, 3-4 ounces
  • Parsley, organic, a few sprigs for decoration
  • Salt and Black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse cannellini beans in cool running water.
  2. Place beans in a large bowl with room enough to add water to cover them fully plus a couple of inches, so they can absorb water and still remain covered.
  3. Cover the bowl and soak the beans for 8 hours (overnight is easiest). Drain and rinse beans in cold water.
  4. Transfer to pressure cooker. Add water to cover plus several inches, a heaping tablespoon of miso and a piece of kombu. Bring the pressure cooker to full pressure over high heat (the indicator button will pop up; typically, achieving full pressure takes about 20 minutes).
  5. Once full pressure has been achieved, cook beans for an additional 8 minutes.
  6. Transfer the pressure cooker to your sink, turn the vent control to the open position to allow the steam to start to escape, and run cold water over the top of the pressure cooker to more rapidly release the pressure.
  7. When the indicator button drops back down, open the lid, remove the kombu, drain the beans and place them in a large serving bowl. You can now toss them with the Basil Pesto or leave as is and store, covered in your refrigerator where they will keep for 5-7 days.
  8. While the beans are cooking, prepare the Basil Pesto: Basil (4-ounce container [pictured]), rinse and chiffonade.
  9. To chiffonade basil (or any other green leafy vegetable) place the rinsed leaves one on top of another until you have a stack of them. Then roll from the outside edge in as if you were rolling up tobacco leaves to make a cigar. Slice horizontally every 1/4″ or so. You’ll end up with narrow ribbons of greens. (Chiffonade works especially well for kale, too.)
  10. Combine basil, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, red onion (1/4 cup – diced), salt and pepper in a food processor (or blender) and process until smooth.
  11. Toss the cannellini beans with the Basil Pesto, Kalamata olives and diced red onion. Decorate with parsley if desired. Serve immediately or store in your refrigerator for up to one week. This bean salad is good eaten cold, but the flavor of the basil is richer if it’s gently reheated.

*If you forget to soak the beans overnight, they can be “pre-pressure cooked,” so you don’t have to soak them for 8 hours. Basically, you just rinse the beans, put them in the pressure cooker, bring it to pressure, cook for just 2 minutes, then drain and rinse the beans, put them back in the pressure cooker, cover with water, add miso and kombu, bring back up to pressure, and pressure cook them again for the full 8 minutes. This comes in really handy if you decide you want to cook beans and hadn’t thought about it the night before!

Cannellini Beans with Basil Pesto and Kalamata Olives
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Lara Pizzorno

4 thoughts on “Cannellini Beans with Basil Pesto and Kalamata Olives

Grace Presser

What if you don’t have a pressure cooker?? M


Hi Grace,

Great question! A pressure cooker just speeds up the cooking process. So you can cook the beans in a normal pot as to Lara’s directions, but the cooking time will be extended (probably double the time). Just make sure to check regularly past the 20-minute mark to see when they are ready.

– Monica from AlgaeCal


Don’t know miso or kombu? what are they? where do you get them?


Hi Lois,

Miso is a paste made from fermented soya beans. Kombu, on the other hand, is a sea vegetable (kelp) and can be added to almost anything boiled. It is high in minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It’s also a great addition to enhance flavors!

They are common in Japanese cooking and can be found at your local grocer’s, usually.

Lara also recommends the following (that you can buy online):

Wild Atlantic Kombu is grown off the coast of Maine

The brand of kombu Lara usually buys, Great Eastern Sun, is organic and is imported from China because growers there weed by hand while in Japan, many growers use herbicides on the nets.

Great Eastern Sun’s miso, which can be made from garbanzos as well as soybeans – all their miso products are organic.

Hope this helps, Lois!

– Monica from AlgaeCal

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