Lemony White Beans on Toast

This is one of my brightest, happiest toast recipes and it is one of my all time favorites because of the bold flavor but humble simplicity. 

If you have bread, a can of white beans (or the equivalent of dry beans), garlic, a lemon, salt, and some EVOO you are on your way to lemony white beans on toast town. This meal is CHEAP and has definitely got me through some financially tight spots. However, don’t doubt the power of these understated ingredients – lemony white beans toast keeps me coming back for more every time.

It is so punchy with the lemon juice and garlic that it is the furthest thing from bland. Chives add a mellow onion-esque flavor for a little more dimension. EVOO adds richness and plenty of salt makes all the flavors really shine. If you’re me, topping with some red pepper flakes is the final touch – I can never get enough spice it seems 😋. 

I have used this recipe on many types of bread. I tend to buy the sprouted whole grain or sourdough varieties. I like to get something with some bite (e.g. not super soft) for use in this recipe because it contrasts the texture of the beans. 

You can use canned beans or your own freshly made beans. Both are good but the results will vary slightly. Here is why: the canned ones [almost always] are already cooked until very tender. They are usually breaking apart somewhat straight out of the can. This means when you cook em’ up, they break down more resulting in the texture pictured. Some stay whole white others break down completely forming a sauce of sorts. If you make your own from dry beans, you can control how cooked down they get. Pull them off the heat when they are just tender, like an al dente pasta, and then when you use them here they will not break down as much, if at all. I like both ways, and it is certainly convenient to use a can-o-beans when you don’t have the time to cook up some fresh beans, just something to keep in mind. Another thing: be gentle when you stir to avoid refried bean territory!

Lemony White Beans on Toast

Servings: makes enough beans for 2-3 slices of toast

Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed (see note)
  • 1.5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 4 tbsp. lemon juice (about one juicy lemon)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or grated
  • a couple handfuls of chopped fresh chives 
  • salt
  • toast
  • red pepper flakes (optional)


  1. Place beans in a small sauce pan and add garlic, EVOO, lemon juice, and a healthy pinch of salt. Cover and cook over medium low for 5 minutes. 
  2. Remove lid, stir gently. 
  3. Allow to finish cooking uncovered, so the liquid evaporates, about 3 more minutes. Stir every so often so nothing sticks, but be gentle as to not break down the beans too much. 
  4. Remove from heat. Taste, add salt as needed. Throw in a handful or two of chives. Stir to distribute.
  5. Serve beans on top of toast. Optionally, top with additional chives, crushed red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of EVOO. 


  • If you use homemade beans cooked until just tender, they will stay whole more than the canned variety. I used canned beans in the ones pictured here, so you can see they do break down a bit. Both are good – so use what you have or what you like!
  • To bump up the lemon flavor, sometimes I add lemon pepper seasoning. Start with a pinch and go from there. 

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