This healthy white bean crostini is a delicious appetizer for holiday parties, potlucks, or patio happy hours! Crispy crostini toasts are smeared with a white bean mixture of tangy lemon, red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley. It’s then topped with roasted baby broccolini and a sliver of parmesan cheese. You’ll love the unique combination and balance of flavors, as well as all the texture!
It’s no secret we’re basically obsessed with easy vegetarian appetizers around here, and a big, huge, mega part of that is crostini appetizers. There’s just nothing better than an easy finger-food recipe that can be served basically anywhere, at any event, and can be made with a variety of flavors, textures, and toppings.
This Broccolini and White Bean Crostini is no exception, either. It has loads of flavor, a variety of textures, and it’s one unique combination that you will fall in love with. Really, it’s inevitable, so you best give it a try before turning an eye at beans and broccoli together.
If you’re into feeling a little healthier when it comes to appetizers, this was made for you. It’s the perfect balance of nutrition-filled ingredients, and can easily be made dairy-free by omitting the parmesan cheese on top, or gluten-free by serving it on crackers instead of crostini (or use gluten-free baguette or premade crostini if you can find them!).
Or if you’re just into delicious food that pairs well with wine, laughter, and gathering with your favorite people, well then, this is your recipe too. Let’s get to cooking!
What You’ll Need to Make White Bean Crostini
We have a pretty simple grocery list for this appetizer, and I’m willing to bet you have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry or fridge already. That’s my favorite kind of recipe, one we can just throw together with a few simple ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Broccolini – also known as baby broccoli, broccolini is similar to broccoli but has long thin stalks and smaller, more delicate florets. It’s more tender and delicate, which makes it perfect for topping on crostini as you bite into it. If you can’t find broccolini in your grocery store, you can substitute with broccoli, just be sure to cut the florets small enough to fit on the crostini and to bite into.
- Baguette – a fresh baguette turns into crisp crostini with a little olive oil and salt.
- Cannellini Beans – our white bean base, they’re fluffy with a slightly nutty yet mild and creamy flavor. Drain and rinse the beans before mixing them with:
- Lemon Zest and Juice – so bright and fresh!
- Garlic – mince the garlic cloves so they incorporate evenly throughout the bean mixture
- Red Pepper Flakes – for a little kick. You can omit and substitute with black pepper if you’d like.
- Fresh Parsley – it’s bright and earthy and pairs well with the lemon and garlic.
- Parmesan – use a fresh block of parmesan cheese to create slivers of cheese to top on the crostini. It adds a wonderful saltiness to the crostini as a whole, and what doesn’t parmesan make better?!
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper – adding a twist or two of freshly ground black pepper on top of the crostini takes it over the top.
Making the Broccolini
By now I hope you have become a professional at roasting broccolini. It makes the perfect side dish for just about any meal, and now we’re turning it into an appetizer.
If you haven’t perfected it yet, I’m happy to report it’s so dang easy to do! For this recipe, chop the broccolini into 1-inch pieces (approximately), toss with olive oil, and a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt. Then roast in the oven until tender and crisp.
I told you it was easy! While they’re roasting, prepare the rest of the components. The crostini can bake in the oven with the broccolini for the most efficient process. And while they both cook, make the white bean spread.
The White Bean Spread
Making the white bean spread couldn’t be easier. Drain and rinse the can of Cannellini beans, then combine them with fresh lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, minced garlic (see above for why you need to mince it), red pepper flakes, and fresh parsley that’s finely chopped.
Then, use a fork or pastry blender to mash the beans and aromatics together. The texture of the spread is entirely up to you. Leave them in a slightly chunky mixture, or mash them until smooth. Think of it as guacamole, everyone has their preferences and opinions on how chunky or smooth it should be.
Once you have your desired consistency, it’s time to assemble! But first, don’t forget to taste test the mixture to check for salt levels and adjust any flavorings to your preferences (more garlic, anyone?).
When it’s time to assemble the crostini, spread approximately one tablespoon of the white bean mixture on the prepared crostini. Top with a few pieces of broccolini, configuring them however they fit best.
Top with a sliver of parmesan – it helps if you tuck it into the broccolini depending on the pieces. Then garnish with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper and you’re ready to dig in!
If you’re not using parmesan cheese to make this appetizer vegan/dairy-free friendly, I highly recommend also garnishing with flakey sea salt to substitute for parm’s saltiness (unless your broccolini is already very salty…as I’m known to do sometimes).
These crostini are light and refreshing – if you can say such a thing about crostini. They pair well with a crisp white wine, but can absolutely be paired with a light red, too. Or you know, whatever you want to pair with them because there is no wrong or right way when it comes to enjoying food.
More Crostini Recipes to Love
- Fig Compote and Goat Cheese Crostini
- Citrus Pesto Crostini
- Fresh Tomato Bruschetta
- Roasted Cherry Crostini
- Mushroom Bruschetta with Gruyere
Broccolini and White Bean Crostini
- 2 bunches baby broccolini cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 baguette sliced into approximately 16 pieces
- 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 lemon zested and juiced
- 2-3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt plus more to taste
- Dash red pepper flakes
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup thin parmesan slivers
- Freshly ground black pepper for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Toss baby broccolini pieces with a drizzle of olive oil and salt on a large sheet pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway through, until tender and roasted.
- Meanwhile, lay baguette sliced in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil lightly on each side (I usually drizzle on one side, turn it over, and “push” the baguette slice around the olive oil to cover, then repeat with the other side). You don’t want the slices drenched in olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for 5-6 minutes, flip slices over and bake for an additional 5-6 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
- While everything is baking, in a bowl, use a potato masher, pie blender, or fork to mash together white beans, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and parsley. You can leave this a little chunky or mash it until completely smooth. Be sure to taste test for salt levels before moving on.
- Once crostini is slightly cooled, spread white bean spread across crostini (approximately 1 tablespoon, or as desired, on each crostini). Top with broccolini, 1-2 slivers of parmesan cheese, and a grind of fresh black pepper.
By the Way…
This recipe is part of our collection of crostini topping recipes. Check it out!