White beans, otherwise known as cannellini beans or Italian white kidney beans, are popular in Italian cuisine and for good reason!
Beans and other legumes come packed with tons of plant-based protein, dietary fiber, and other essential minerals. They are also very versatile and great flavor carriers, including for this stewed Italian white bean recipe!
But let us preface and say a hearty stew and bean soup does mean hours of cooking in the kitchen...
In this quick and simple dish, we combine hearty white beans with a flavorful tomato sauce built on an aromatic base. A gentle touch of honey and Italian herbs balances out and finishes off the stew.
Really, this dish is definitely boosting an overall very balanced flavor profile that screams comfort food!
The beans can be served and enjoyed as a side, though we perfected and share one delicious dinner recipe down below! And it will have you left wondering, "Where has this recipe bean all my life?"
Stewed Italian White Beans Recipe
Yield: 4 servings
Nutrition per serving: 250 calories, 10 g fat, 9 g protein, 32 g total carb, 7 g fiber
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
• 3 Tbsp grapeseed or olive oil
• 1 cup onions, diced
• 1/2 cup carrots, diced
• 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
• 1, 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
• 1 cup vegetable stock, low or no-sodium (or chicken broth as desired)
• 2 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 1/2 cups white beans, canned or cooked*
• 1/2 cup fresh parsley
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat grapeseed oil in a medium to large size pot over medium-high heat.
2. Sweat onion, carrots, and celery for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent and slightly caramelized around the edges. Season with a light pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Add garlic, diced tomatoes, and vegetable stock and Italian herbs. Mix well to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes.
4. Add honey and beans and mix well to combine. Reduce heat further to medium-low heat and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
5. Turn off heat, add parsley and mix well before serving.
*Using canned white beans is convenient and just fine to use, but cooking them is a simple 5-step process:
1. Place dried cannellini beans in a large container and fill with water until beans are submerged. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Drain the next morning, or about 8 hours later.
3. To cook, add beans in a large pot, cover with fresh water, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes. The beans should be tender, yet slightly firm with the skin intact.
4. Let cool and use for this or any recipe!
Pasta with Cannellini Beans
Use these healthy tips to serve cannellini beans with pasta.
1. Use whole grain pasta.
Compared to refined white pasta, whole grain pasta adds a nutritional punch.
Whole grains offer fiber, B vitamins, and other valuable nutrients that improve heart, digestive, and overall health.
For the recipe, choose a whole grain pasta such as wheat pasta. Also, use gluten-free pasta as needed.
Simply cook noodles to package, bringing salted water to a boil water and cooking until al dente.
2. Bulk cooked pasta and cannellini beans with veggies.
Like most traditional Italian dishes, pasta with cannellini beans is fairly carb-heavy.
To lighten up and round out the recipe, bulk with other veggies beyond those already included. These may include:
• Cherry tomatoes
While the dish offers plant-based protein, pair with another lean protein source as desired. This may include grilled chicken and tuna.
3. Offer flavor with other favorites herbs, seasonings, and ingredients.
The pasta already bursts with fresh flavor, but feel free to experiment to satisfy personal preferences. These seasonings and flavors are sure to kick pasta with cannellini beans up a notch or a few:
• Bay leaf
• Freshly grated cheese such as parmesan
• Red pepper flakes
And last but absolutely not least… Enjoy!