Warm Butter Bean Salad with a Walnut Porcini Pesto

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Skill Level
Preparation Time 10 minutes Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 Cost Per Serving $1.56
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1/2 cupWalnuts
1/4 cupDried Porcini Mushrooms (soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water)
2 tbspSundried Tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 clovesGarlic, crushed
1/4 cupParsley, roughly chopped
1Lemon, juice and zest
1/4 cupPecorino or Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 cupsButter Beans (Lima Beans), (anned and rinsed or from dried and cooked
12Sage Leaves
1 cupBaby Spinach, roughly chopped
1/4 cup + 1 tbspExtra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tspChili Flakes (optional)
To TasteSea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper


  1. ​For the pesto, add walnuts, soaked porcini mushrooms, about 2 tbsp of the porcini soaking liquid, sundried tomatoes, garlic cloves, juice and zest of half a lemon and the pecorino cheese to a food processor. Blend until smooth while slowly drizzling in the ¼ cup of olive oil. Season to taste, store and refrigerate.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a large cast iron or sauté pan over medium high heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the sage leaves. Remove the leaves when they have crisped up, about 2 minutes, and place on a sheet of paper towel to drain some of the oil.
  3. Add the beans and chili flakes (optional) to the pan and cook until slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and about 3 tablespoons of the walnut pesto to the beans and stir through. Once the spinach has wilted, remove from heat.
  4. Garnish with crispy sage leaves and pecorino cheese shavings.


  • ​It’s easy to remember that walnuts are brain food, because a shelled walnut resembles a tiny brain! Walnuts are an excellent source of the omega 3 fatty acid alpha linolenic acid (ALA), with ¼ cup providing 95% of the omega 3s most people need in a day. Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in brain functions such as memory, learning and behaviour. In fact, some of the symptoms of omega 3 deficiency include poor memory and depressed mood. People with low dietary intakes of omega 3s are more likely to have memory problems, particularly as they get older. Omega 3 fatty acids may protect against Alzeimer’s disease and dementia. 
  • Thiamine (vitamin B1) plays an important role in brain function, as this vitamin is needed for healthy function of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). One of these neurotransmitters plays an important role in the thought processing and memory areas of the brain. Thiamine also impacts neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood. Half a cup of lima beans provides 20% of the thiamine most people need in a day.
  • Lima beans and other types of beans are high in fibre and also contain protein, which help to stabilize the blood sugar response to carbohydrates (starches). Keeping your blood sugar stable can help you avoid the brain fog and irritability that can result from blood sugar falling too low.