Cannellini Beans, An Italian Favorite
Marty Martindale

The Italians love their cannellini beans, those large, white creamy beans, their hint of earthiness,canbeans their nutty taste and their predictable tenderness in delicious Minestrones and Pasta Fagiolis. Cannellinis, related to kidney beans, are sometimes referred to as white kidney beans. Many confuse them with Great Northern and Navy beans which are smaller and less exciting.

Cannellini beans were originally grown in Argentina by Italian immigrants, and quite soon they were introduced to Italy where the soon became an important crop.

By the 1800s, over in the U.S., Thomas Jefferson, who never cooked, but farmed and spread favorite recipes far and wide, liked to serve guests at Monticello a famed Monticello White Bean Soup, a hearty one where cannellini beans were carefully cooked with  carrots, turnips, parsnips and celery and topped with toasted coarse artisan bread.

High in protein and fiber and low in fat, cannellini beans are rich in iron, magnsium and folate.

Purchase cannellini beans in packages in dry form or in cans. Dried ones must be rinsed, sorted and soaked before cooking according to directions on the package. Once the package is opened, store the remaining beans in an airtight container.

Unlike most foods, canned cannellini beans are acceptable in taste and save the cook a lot of work. It is important, however, to rinse the canned beans under water to remove the “canned” taste.


  • Canned tuna fish
  • Casserole
  • Dips
  • Good with tomato
  • Pasta and broccoli rabe
  • Ragouts    
  • Salads
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Stir-fry

Below are foodsites with cannellini bean recipes.,1-0,cannelloni_beans,FF.html

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