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White Bean Puree with Charred Leeks and Za'atar in a pink ceramic bowl on a marble table next to lemons and a bottle of olive oil

White Bean Puree with Charred Leeks and Za’atar

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  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 8 hours 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 8 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: n/a
  • Diet: Vegan


Wanna transform regular ol’ dried beans into something magical? Make this creamy white bean puree! Serve with roasted vegetables or simply spread on toast.


  • 1 1/4 cups dried white beans (like cannellini or butter beans) (See Note about canned beans)
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar


  1. Place the beans in a medium pot and add enough water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Soak for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours, in the fridge).
  2. Drain and rinse the beans, and add enough new water to cover by 2 to 3 inches. Add the garlic and bay leaf to the pot, and cover tightly with a lid.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a bare simmer, and cook with the lid ajar until the beans are creamy and cooked through, about 40 minutes (start tasting the beans toward the end, since bean cooking times can vary). In the last 10 minutes of cooking, season the beans with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  4. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the bean cooking water. Then drain the beans and discard the bay leaf.
  5. Meanwhile, clean the leek. Trim the root end, as well as a few inches off the dark green portion (just the part that looks bruised or dry). Halve the stalk lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Place the sliced leeks in a big bowl of water and swirl them around, separating the layers with your fingers, to release all the dirt. (If the water seems really dirty, repeat the process.)
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until browned and a little crispy, stirring frequently, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. Transfer the drained beans to a food processor, along with two-thirds of the charred leeks, lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth, adding the bean cooking water (a tablespoon at a time) if needed to achieve a creamy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
  8. Transfer the puree to a serving bowl and top with the remaining leeks and za’atar. Serve immediately.


If you want to try this recipe with canned beans, use two 15-ounce cans (about 3 1/2 cups cooked beans). Be sure to drain and rinse them first, as well as warm them up a little before pureeing.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
  • Calories: 220
  • Carbohydrates: 28.4 g
  • Fiber: 12.8 g
  • Protein: 10.2 g

Keywords: beans, leeks, puree, za'atar, vegan