This Cannellini Beans Recipe is an easy and nutritious way to turn dried white beans into a hearty and delicious side dish or lunch. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Cannellini Beans with Garlic and Spinach
Beans are an inexpensive, shelf-stable, and healthy addition to any kitchen pantry. Available dry, or precooked and canned, beans are an easy and delicious way to sneak in extra plant-based protein and fiber.
When I first made this cannellini beans recipe I couldn’t believe that such a simple bean recipe could offer so much flavor.
All about the beans – plus a few other simple ingredients like garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil, and lemon – the humble little cannellini is the perfect bean for this recipe. Completely vegetarian and gluten-free, dish up this recipe with eggs for breakfast, on toast for lunch, topped with salmon for dinner, or simply enjoy it as it is.
Can I Use Canned Cannellini Beans?
Canned cannellini beans (often labeled as white kidney beans) are great if you’re in a hurry, but cooking your own cannellini beans will taste a million times better. Since this recipe uses such few ingredients, I highly recommend skipping the cans, saving them for soup and stew recipes.
How to Cook Cannellini Beans
Start by soaking your beans for at least 8 hours. You may also soak them overnight.
- Tip: If you forget to pre-soak your cannellini beans, you may also quick-soak them. To do this, transfer your beans to a large pot filled with approximately 8 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover with a tight lid, and then remove from heat. Allow them to soak for one hour before draining and rinsing.
Place the drained and rinsed soaked beans in a large pot. Add any aromatics (in the case of today’s recipe we’re adding garlic, fresh sage, and rosemary), a little olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt. Cover with 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the beans are creamy, but not mushy.
From here you may use your cooked cannellini’s however you’d like – you could even save the liquid they were cooked in to make a fabulous broth for soup.
- Tip: You can freeze pre-soaked beans. Simply drain and rinse before transferring to a freezer-safe ziplock bag.
What are Cannellini Beans?
Found in recipes like minestrone and pasta e Fagioli, these pretty white beans are actually a sub-variety of kidney beans and are often referred to as white Italian kidney beans.
Their dense interior makes them a perfect bean for hot soups, bean salads, or even healthy veggie platters.
Try adding cannellini beans to other recipes including,
Ricotta and White Bean Dip with Roasted Strawberries
Hamburger Soup Recipe
White Beans Baked with Tomato and Feta
- Breakfast: Serve with a couple of fried eggs and a few slices of bacon. One of my very favorite high-protein meals.
- Lunch: Enjoy with some juicy grilled shrimp or top on crunchy, toasty, buttery bread.
- Dinner: Enjoy with your favorite white fish or salmon, pork chops, steak, and yes, chicken, too.
Looking for more delicious bean recipes? Try these reader favorites:
- Easy Three Bean Salad Recipe
- Navy Bean Soup with Ham
- Instant Pot Black Bean Soup Recipe
- Perfect Instant Pot Black Beans
- Easy Red Beans and Rice Recipe
- Refried Beans (How to Make Refried Black Beans)
- Tomato Baked Vegetarian Beans with Tangy Feta
Have you tried making this Easy Cannellini Bean Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Cannellini Beans Recipe
- 1½ cups dry cannellini beans - soaked overnight
- 1 head garlic - halved horizontally (crosswise)
- 4 leaves fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil - divided
- salt - (cook to taste)
- 6 cups water
- 2 tablespoon butter - optional
- 3 cloves garlic - peeled and smashed
- 2-3 large handfuls fresh spinach
- ½ large lemon - zest and juice
- freshly ground black pepper - to season
- Place the dry beans, whole head of garlic, sage leave, fresh rosemary, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and 6 cups of water in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the beans are creamy all the way through, but (most) of their skins are still intact (the skin will start to peel away). Set aside.
- Once the beans are softened, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil plus 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant - about 30 seconds.
- Add the spinach in batches. Allow it to cook and wilt slightly before adding additional spinach. Toss the spinach frequently for even cooking. Season with additional salt and a little black pepper as desired.
- Use a large slotted spoon to carefully transfer the cooked beans over to the skillet filled with garlic and spinach. Continue to gently mix until heated through.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and a little of the cooking liquid if needed (discarding otherwise). Season to taste and serve drizzled with additional olive oil, lemon juice, or a little fresh parmesan cheese, if desired.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)
Wondering if I can make this bean and spinach recipe with canned cannellini beans as I have no dried beans in my pantry at the moment. Also, canned beans where I live come in 190z tins so not quite sure how many tins I’d need or should I skip trying your recipe altogether?
Jessica Randhawa says
Canned cannellini beans (often labeled as white kidney beans) are great if you’re in a hurry, but cooking your own cannellini beans will taste a million times better.
You will need 2-3 cans, drained and rinsed 🙂