Alma Mediterranea by Marcia Barrington

Recipes from the Mediterranean, Middle East & North Africa

Follow Marcia Barrington’s blog to discover new ways to enjoy fresh and exciting ingredients with her Mediterranean inspired recipes.

Cannellini bean and fennel braise with olives and 'feta'

Cannellini bean and fennel braise with olives and 'feta'

Cannellini bean and fennel braise w olives and ‘feta’

Serves 4

I’d say this is a weeknight winner. A gathering of winter ingredients that are easy to find and make a warming bowl for a chilly January eve.

1 onion, diced 

1 fennel, sliced 

Pared zest and juice of 1 lemon 

Good pinch dried chilli flakes

2TBSP/30ml olive oil 

1 garlic clove, chopped

700-750ml Vegetable stock (I used Marigold bouillon for this, 1 heaped tsp)

2 tins good quality cannellini beans, drained

A small handful of chopped, soft herbs: parsley, tarragon, basil whatever you have to hand

1x200g spinach, washed


120g of your favourite olives 

200g non-dairy ‘feta’ I used Violifefor this recipe

Extra virgin olive oil to drizzle 

Flaky sea salt to taste


In a medium size saucepan, add 2 TBSP olive oil and sauté the onion and fennel with the chilli and lemon strips.

When the vegetables are starting to soften and caramelise a little, add the garlic.

Continue to cook for about 3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and just beginning to colour.

Next, add the stock and bring up to boil.

Add the drained beans and warm through.

Then, remove half of the ingredients and blitz with a hand blender to smooth.

Return to the pan and season to taste.

Add the soft herbs of choice, then gradually add the spinach in batches allowing to wilt.

Add the olives and 100g of the ‘feta’ and give a good stir. 

Check the seasoning one last time and add the juice of ½ a lemon (to taste)

Finally, ladle into bowls, crumble over the remaining ‘feta’ and a final drizzle of olive oil is a must.

©Marcia Barrington 2019