Crostini is Italian for little toasts. These crisp little toasts can be the vehicle for savory toppings from cheeses, olives and paté’s to smashed avocado, sautéed mushrooms and smoked salmon. The beauty is that they can suit any dietary preference from plant based to carnivore. Here I made a vegan version with this garlicky white bean crostini festively topped with arugula and pomegranate.
I have to confess…I am a lover of all things small plates and appetizer sized foods. It is my favorite way to sample a variety of foods. As much as I like eating them, I also love serving them at gatherings. I created this crostini recipe in particular for holiday gatherings, because if this dish doesn’t scream Christmas then I don’t know what does!
The contrast of the arugula and pomegranate on this white bean crostini is gorgeous and would dress up any holiday spread. Let’s talk flavor and texture- creamy white beans, peppery arugula and tart pomegranate seeds. Convinced yet? If not, then surely when I tell you how quickly and easily this vegan party snack comes together then that will do the trick.
Why you’ll love this vegan crostini
- You can enjoy these not only as a crostini appetizer, but it can also double as a light lunch.
- White beans are filled with protein and fiber, about 14 grams and 12 grams per cup respectively, making them an excellent part of any diet.
- This recipe comes together quickly and easily in under 30 minutes.
- This is a vegan crostini option for any plant based vegan party guests.
- This recipe uses only a few real, simple whole ingredients- my favorite way to cook!
White bean crostini ingredients
Baguette- This is the base of the entire recipe. Choose a quality bakery baguette which provides the perfect sized appetizer bites. It does not have to be fresh. Day old bread works beautifully.
Olive oil- Use extra virgin olive oil to toast the crostini and in the pesto recipe for best results.
Walnuts- I like the nutty flavor that the walnuts lend to the pesto in this dish. Pine nuts are another good option.
Basil- There is nothing like fresh basil in a pesto sauce.
Lemon- Do not leave out the lemon. It really brightens the flavors in the pesto.
Garlic- Use fresh garlic for optimal flavor.
White beans- I use great northern beans in this recipe. Navy or cannellini beans work as well.
Arugula- Also known as rocket, baby arugula works best in this recipe. The peppery flavor provides the perfect contrast to the creamy white beans and tart pomegranate.
Pomegranate arils- De-seeding a pomegranate can get a bit messy. I recommend searching for hacks to de-seed a pomegranate without the mess! Or you can save time and buy just the arils at the supermarket.
How to make white bean crostini
Toast the baguette
To make the crostini, first slice a baguette into 1/2” pieces. Next, brush the pieces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake the toasts in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
Make the pesto
While the bread toasts, make the pesto. Add the walnuts, basil, olive oil, lemon, salt and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until a pesto forms, scraping down the sides periodically as needed.
Cook the topping
Place the beans in a large skillet. Next add in the pesto and sauté over medium heat. Cook for about 3 minutes until the beans are coated and the pesto starts to sizzle. Then add in the arugula and heat until the arugula starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Assemble the white bean crostini
Divide the bean mixture evenly atop the prepared crostini. Finish with a sprinkle of pomegranate arils.
Tips, tricks and variations
Do I need to use fresh bread?
No. The bread will be toasted in the oven so bread that is 1-2 days old works well.
What kind of white beans should I use? I prefer great northern beans because they are smaller in size but cannellini or navy beans work as well.
How do I make the perfect crostini?
Be sure to slice the baguette uniformly in size, about 1/4-1/2″ slices. Lightly brush with olive oil on each side an season with flaky sea salt and pepper. Toast in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes, flipping the toasts halfway through cooking. This method will achieve a perfectly crisp, golden toast.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the topping ahead of time and reheat it on the stovetop right before serving.
Can I store leftovers?
You will not want to store crostini that has already been assembled since the bread will get soggy. Once you assemble as many crostini as you need and you have leftover components, then you can store those separately. The topping will keep in an airtight, glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Store the crostini in a Ziploc bag or similar and crisp up in the oven for a few minutes at 400 degrees if necessary.
For more of my favorite holiday recipes click here.
Garlicky White Bean Crostini with Arugula and Pomegranate
- 1 baguette sliced into 20-24, 1/4 to 1/2″ rounds
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing
- salt and pepper
- 2 Tbsp. Walnuts
- 1/3 cup basil leaves packed
- 1/2 tsp. grated lemon
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 15 oz. can great northern beans drained and rinsed
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/3 cup pomegranate arils
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crostini slice a baguette into 1/4″ to 1/2” pieces. Brush the pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, flipping the toasts halfway through. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Add the walnuts, basil, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon zest, salt and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until a pesto forms, scraping down the sides periodically as needed.
- Place the beans in a large skillet. Add in the pesto and sauté over medium heat for about 3 minutes until the beans are coated and the pesto starts to sizzle.
- Add the arugula to the skillet and heat until the arugula starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.
- Divide the bean mixture evenly atop the prepared crostini.
- Top with the pomegranate arils.