Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon

Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon is an easy great northern beans recipe with roasted broccoli, chewy-crisp bites of bacon, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It’s humble, yet stunning!

white beans, roasted broccoli, bacon bites, and fresh lemon in a pottery bowl

Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon

We had such pretty natural light to work with, that day when my friend Amanda came over to share a day in our kitchen. It was overcast, yet bright. And a calm, quiet snowfall the night before had left 8″ of soft, fluffy, sparkly snow outside the window. It was the perfect reflector of light. A food blogger’s dream lighting scenario.

We poured cups of fresh-brewed coffee and then started pulling out dishes and ingredients we had collected for our day of cooking together. While chatting and catching up, I found the tension of the early morning dash to get kids dressed and fed and their lunch boxes packed…all fading away.

If you know Amanda from Heartbeet Kitchen, then you know all too well what a joy she is to be around. Amanda’s smile and tinkly laughter, coupled with her warm and charmingly chatty personality, always put me at ease.

We made Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon that day, a stunning yet humble kind of dish. With a short ingredient list, it relies on simple, fresh flavors that let every component shine.

After Amanda and I finished taking our photos, we sat down to enjoy our tasty creation together. And I just have to say, it turned out to be one of the very best broccoli recipes. We also discovered that this dish goes splendidly with a chilled glass of bubbly Prosecco. So, Cheers! To friendship and fabulous food!

great northern beans in a bowl, broccoli florets, and fresh lemon wedges

An Easy Great Northern Beans Recipe

It was Amanda who prompted our day of cooking together. Food blogging can be rather solitary, as you’re mostly working from home, either sitting behind a computer or creating dishes in the kitchen. So I welcomed her idea with open arms.

She brainstormed a short list of ingredients to include broccoli, lemon, and white beans – which are also called great northern beans.

What are great northern beans?

Great northern beans are white medium-sized beans, larger than navy beans and smaller than cannellini beans. They are delicately flavored and most commonly used when making baked beans and “pork and beans”. The beans are available dried, canned, and less commonly, fresh. You can easily substitute this bean in any recipe that calls for white beans.

a skillet with pieces of fried bacon and shallots

My contribution to the kitchen party was a slab of thick-cut double-smoked bacon from our local Hagberg’s butcher shop. It is The Best Bacon. I like to keep a package or two in our freezer for whenever we’re needing that ultimate bacon fix.

Although not a part of our original thinking for this recipe, I was certain that Amanda would not oppose my last-minute addition to the ingredient list.

We chopped up the bacon and then fried it in a skillet, along with some fresh shallots and garlic. The kitchen smelled so wonderful. There was no way to resist our snitching hot, salty bites from the skillet.

Like bacon, too? Here are a few more recipes with bacon: Breakfast Egg Salad with Bacon is a fun twist on traditional egg salad. Bacon Cheeseburger Pizza Rolls always disappear FAST. And this Tuna Guacamole Sandwich with Bacon makes a fantastic lunch!

skillet with white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon
skillet with white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon

The Best Way to Cook Broccoli

This dish is best when the broccoli is beautifully charred. The crispy edges lend a fabulous layer of texture against the creamy beans and chewy-crisp bacon.

To accomplish this, place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven while it preheats.

Once the oven reaches 375° Fahrenheit, remove the hot baking sheet and spread the broccoli florets out on it. Dress the broccoli very simply with only olive oil and kosher salt, and then gently fold it altogether.

Then place the broccoli in the oven. It won’t take long for the broccoli to emerge perfectly caramelized against the hot pan.

Roasted broccoli is my favorite way to eat broccoli!

a pottery bowl with white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon

This dish’s simplicity will try to fool you into thinking it’s so much more.

There’s incredible texture and flavor when roasted broccoli florets, salty bacon pieces, creamy white beans, and bright, fresh lemon juice come together. It’s almost too simple to be true!

a pottery bowl with white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon

The earthy colors and range of textures. They get me every time.

a pottery bowl with great northern beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon

If you, like me, keep a package of your favorite bacon in the freezer “for emergencies”, then you’re not far from enjoying this easy meal at your own table. With white beans, shallots, and garlic – always in our pantry – this dish comes together quickly and easily.

For a simple, no-fuss kind of meal, just serve this lemon broccoli with beans and bacon straight from the skillet. Because really, the only things that really matter are the meal’s deliciousness and comfort, and who’s beside you at the table.

photographing the finished dish

I had such a beautiful day with Amanda. Be sure to check out her own take on this day and recipe – and look her up on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!

Like this recipe? Save it to Pinterest!

a pottery bowl with great northern white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon zest

A few more broccoli recipes for you! Coconut Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry Rice Bowls from love & olive oil. Lightened-Up Broccoli Salad from greens & chocolate. And Simply Scalloped Potatoes with Broccoli from Southern Bite.

Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon

Lemon Broccoli with Beans and Bacon

I love all the fresh flavors and textures of this dish. There's white beans, roasted broccoli, chewy-crisp bites of bacon, and a squeeze of fresh lemon. It's humble, yet stunning!

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 small head broccoli, cut into florets (about 3/4 pound)
  • 1-1/2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 lb. thick-cut bacon, cut into small matchsticks or 1/2" size pieces
  • 1 15-oz. can white beans, drained
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium lemon
  • 2 T. minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in lower half of oven and preheat oven to 375° F. Once oven is preheated, remove heated pan and spread broccoli florets out on it. Drizzle broccoli with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and toss just a bit to combine. Return pan to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Toss broccoli and roast for another 15 to 20 minutes, or until broccoli is just softened and nicely caramelized and charred. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  2. While broccoli is roasting, heat a medium-large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Fry bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crispy on the edges but still mostly chewy. Once most of the fat has rendered from the bacon, drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet.
  3. Add shallot to skillet and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until shallot has softened. Stir in garlic and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until garlic is softened and fragrant. Add roasted broccoli and beans, folding to combine.
  4. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the top, followed by lemon zest, parsley, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 473Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 1479mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

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a pottery bowl with white beans, roasted broccoli, fried bacon, and lemon, with a spoon in it

This post was originally published in 2016. I updated some of the photos and text in 2020.

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