Here’s an appetizing snack to be enjoyed hot or cold—toasted slices of baguette topped with a creamy white-bean puree flavored with garlic and thyme, and finished with tomato slices and arugula leaves. These Tuscan bean crostini are ideal to serve with pre-dinner drinks.

Cannellini beans, popular in Italian cooking, belong to the same family as the haricot bean, and have a similar floury texture when they are cooked. Though an excellent source of dietary fibre, beans can produce side effects such as bloating. Side effects can be somewhat minimized by ensuring that canned beans are thoroughly rinsed before use.

Here low-fat plain yogourt is used to thin the bean spread. Traditionally, oil is used, making the spread higher in fat.

Makes 22 crostini II Preparation time about 10 minutes II Cooking time 15 minutes

2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp (25 mL) low-fat plain yogurt
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme
1 thin baguette (10 oz/300 g)
3 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper

Sprigs of fresh herbs


  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet, add the onion and garlic, and cook gently until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the cannellini beans in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Remove the pan of onion and garlic from the heat and stir in the mashed beans, yogourt and thyme. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix well. Keep warm while preparing the toasts.
  3. Preheat the broiler to high. Cut the crusty ends off the baguette and discard, then cut the loaf into 22 equal slices, 1⁄2 in. (1 cm) thick. Toast the bread slices on both sides under the broiler. (The toasts can be left to cool and then kept in an airtight container until ready to serve with the bean mixture, also cooled to room temperature.)
  4. To serve, spread some bean mixture over each slice of toast, top with a tomato slice and garnish with fresh herb sprigs.

Nutritional information

Each serving (one toast) provides: calories 61, calories from fat 9, fat 1 g, saturated fat 0 g, cholesterol 0 mg, carbohydrate 11 g, fibre 2 g, sugars 0 g, protein 2.5 g.

Choices per serving: Carbohydrate 1⁄2

  • from the Reader’s Digest website

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