Green cannellini and tahini

Green cannellini and tahini

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Preparation time
over 2 hours


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Cooking time
10 to 30 mins


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Serves 4


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By Noor Murad
From Saturday Kitchen[row]


For the pitta breads

This recipe makes 6 pitta breads, but the rest will keep really well in the freezer. Alternatively, you can just use shop-bought pittas.

  • 2 tsp fast action dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50g/1¾oz wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for oiling

For the green cannellini

  • 1 round white or brown pitta bread (approx. 100g/3½oz), pocket opened up then roughly torn into 2–3cm/1in pieces
  • 1 tbsp za’atar
  • 75ml/2½fl oz olive oil
  • 3 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained
  • 30g/1oz parsley, roughly chopped
  • 30g/1oz fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 30g/1oz chives, roughly chopped
  • 1¼ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed with a pestle and mortar
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tahini sauce

  • 80g/3oz tahini
  • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed

For the chilli oil

  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp paprika


  1. Start by making the pitta breads (if you’re using shop-bought pittas, skip to step 7). Pour 240ml/8¼fl oz of lukewarm water into a small bowl and sprinkle over the yeast and sugar. Leave for 5–6 minutes for the mixture to react and become foamy.

  2. Put both flours and the salt into the bowl of a stand mixer, with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed to combine, then add the olive oil and the yeast mixture, and mix on medium-high speed for 7 minutes. The dough should be smooth, elastic and a bit sticky. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled large bowl, cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1–2 hours, or until doubled in size. Alternatively, leave to prove, covered, in the fridge overnight.

  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 6 100g/3½oz pieces. Use your hands to roll each piece into a round ball. Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 260C/240C Fan/Gas 10, or your highest oven setting. Place a large baking tray in the oven to warm up.

  5. Cut out 2 pieces of baking parchment roughly the size of your baking tray, lay them out on your work surface and sprinkle then with a little flour. Top one piece of paper with 2 balls of dough, spaced well apart, and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll each one out into a round roughly 12cm in diameter. Don’t tear or overwork the pittas at all, or they won’t puff up. Carefully transfer the paper with the 2 rolled-out rounds to your preheated tray and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until lightly golden and puffy. Transfer to a clean damp tea towel to keep warm. While they’re in the oven, prepare the other two rounds in the same way and when ready transfer them to the hot tray and bake in the same way. Continue until you’ve made 6 pittas in total. Keep them covered in the bowl until you’re ready to serve.

  6. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Toss the pitta bread with the za’atar, 2 tablespoons of the oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for 12 minutes, tossing halfway, or until golden and crispy. Set aside to cool.

  7. Set aside 100g/3½oz of the beans in a medium bowl. Put the remaining beans, 600ml/21fl oz of water and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan over a medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the beans are nicely softened and warmed through. Keep warm on a low heat until ready to serve.

  8. To make the tahini sauce, whisk together all the ingredients with 70ml/2½fl oz of water and ½ tsp salt in a medium bowl until smooth and pourable. It will thicken as it sits.

  9. To make the chilli oil, put the oil and chilli flakes in a small frying pan and place over a medium heat. Cook for 4 minutes, then add the paprika and remove from the heat. Set aside.

  10. Put the reserved 100g/3½oz of beans in a food processor, along with the herbs, cumin, garlic, lemon juice, the remaining olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

  11. Drain the warm beans in a sieve over a bowl, then add them and 100ml/3½fl oz of their cooking liquid to the blended herb mixture, mixing well to combine. You want the beans to be well coated and saucy but not over wet, so add a couple more tablespoons of cooking liquid if needed.

  12. To serve, transfer the green cannellini to a large, lipped platter and drizzle over half the tahini sauce and all the chilli oil. Sprinkle with half the pitta and serve warm, with the extra tahini and pitta alongside.