Also known as
White Italian kidney beans or fazolia bean
Slightly kidney-shaped with squarish ends, cannellini beans are from Italy and are creamy white in colour. When cooked, they have a fluffy texture and a slightly nutty, mild flavour. They are similar to white navy beans or haricots, as they are known in Britain. These large white beans are often mistaken for great northern beans, as the two are so alike in appearance Available round the year, cannellini beans were originally cultivated in Argentina, and now are grown in Greece, France and central Italy.
Canned beans provide convenience when you are short of time or have forgotten to soak the beans a night before. Their only drawback is the salt content, but these beans can be used in combinations with other unsalted ingredients to add the salt taste. These beans are usually used in recipes, which require the beans to be smashed such as in a dip, or soup, salad, or bruschetta.
How to select
Cannellini beans are available in supermarkets in both dried and canned form. They can be purchased year round in most parts of the world. They should be evenly colored and shiny, with a slight off-white color.
· The mild-flavored cannellini bean, shaped like (and closely related to) a kidney bean, can be used interchangeably with Great Northern or navy beans in most recipes. You'll want to drain and rinse the beans, which will "refresh" them and remove any excess salt, though some recipes use a bit of the reserved liquid as a thickener.
· Canned beans are fully cooked, so should be added to most dishes close to the end of the cooking time.
· Canned cannellini beans are ideal for a quick pasta supper, an elegant white bean stew, a hearty bowl of baked beans, a flavorful dip for pita triangles or crudites, or a Big Fat Greek Salad.
· Add to vegetable soups, including the classic Italian minestrone.
· Cannellini beans + tuna make a classic & wonderful salad. Just mix with lemon juice, herb of your choice, a bit of garlic, place on a bed of lettuce and enjoy...this is infinitely expandable...just round up the usual suspects: celery, radishes, cucumbers, olives etc.
How to store
As with most other beans, they should be stored in an airtight glass container in cool dark place to preserve them. Canned beans should be refrigerated after the can has been opened and used within 2-4 days.
An excellent source of iron, magnesium, and folate, a single serving of cannellini beans provides more than 20 percent of the recommended daily values of these nutrients. They are also a good source of protein, providing more than 15 grams per serving. Other nutritional benefits include their low fat content and calorie count. Each serving contains only 225 calories and less than one gram of fat.