- Food: Cannellini Beans and Greens
- Writer: Lizzie Green
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Swiss chard, olive oil, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice convert a simple pot of beans into a colorful, healthful lunch in this cannellini bean recipe.
This cannellini bean recipe is so easy to make. Last spring, when our outings to the grocery store were few and far between, I began making it.
It’s made with just a few ingredients: dried cannellini beans, aromatics, lemon juice, and Swiss chard – yet even those are versatile.
If you don’t have cannellini beans on hand, use other dried white beans such as Great Northern or navy beans instead. Use kale or spinach instead of chard if you don’t have any.
These simple ingredients convert into a healthy, warming one-pot meal after a long, hands-off simmer. If you’ve never cooked with dry beans before, you’ll be amazed at how delicious they are.
As they simmer, part of their starches are released into the cooking water, resulting in a tasty broth. Serve this cannellini bean recipe with nice crusty bread when you’re ready to dine.
You’ll want to savor every last drop of the delicious cooking liquid!
How to Cook Them?
This cannellini bean recipe takes some time to prepare, but don’t let that deter you. The procedure is almost fully automated! This is how it works:
Soak the beans first. Please be aware! This step should be completed the day before you expect to cook the beans, or at least 8 hours before. It’s a hassle to plan ahead, but it’s well worth it: soaking the beans reduces the amount of time they take to boil and makes them simpler to digest.
Sift through the beans in a large mixing basin, eliminating any stones or debris. Cover them in cold water and soak them for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.
Drain and rinse the beans after that. Place them in a big container with 2 inches of water and cover them.
Then get cooking! Bring the water to a boil, then remove any froth that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 30 minutes. Combine the aromatics, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
If you want to make the beans more digestible, you can add a piece of kombu, but keep the cooking water at a low simmer. If the water boils, the kombu will make it bitter.
Continue to cook for another 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Every 30 minutes, I like to check them. If the water in the pot starts to dry out, add additional to keep the beans submerged.
Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the garlic, fennel fronds, and kombu from the pot once the cannellini beans are soft. Remove the papery skins from the garlic cloves and mash them into a paste.
Return it to the pot with the olive oil, lemon juice, and Swiss chard, and simmer for another few minutes, until the chard has barely wilted. To taste, adjust the lemon, salt, and pepper. That concludes our discussion.
Serving Suggestions for Cannellini Beans
Ladle the cannellini beans and their cooking liquid into bowls when ready to eat. Drizzle olive oil over each one and top with chopped parsley and red pepper flakes. Pass the crusty bread and get ready to eat!
Combine this cannellini bean recipe with a salad, such as Kohlrabi Slaw, Pear Salad, or Citrus Salad, for a larger dinner. It’d also go well with any of the following easy veggie side dishes:
- Green Beans Blanched
- Roasted Fennel
- Radishes, Roasted
- Roasted Vegetables
- Broccoli Rabe,
- Sautéed or Roasted Broccoli
|Time to Prepare: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Time to soak: 8 hours
This one-pot dish with cannellini beans is vibrant and nutritious! It’s best served with crusty bread to soak up the delicious liquid.
- 2 cups dried cannellini beans
- 1 garlic bulb, top evenly sliced off
- 2 shallots, peeled and quartered
- 1 fennel, white bulb, chopped, tops and fronds, cut into large 4-inch pieces (the tops will be removed toward the end)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (3-inch) piece of kombu, rinsed, optional* (see note)
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, more to taste
- 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves torn
- Crusty bread, for serving
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the beans. Sort them out and toss out any stones or rubbish. Cover with 2 to 3 inches of water and toss out any floating beans. Soak for 8 hours or overnight at room temperature. Drain and rinse thoroughly.
- In a big pot, cover the beans with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove any foam from the top before adding the shallots, garlic, fennel, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and kombu, if using. Continue to cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables are soft, for up to 2 hours. The amount of time it takes will be determined by the type and freshness of your beans (older beans will take longer than fresher beans). Every 30 minutes, I usually check them. As the water in the pot begins to evaporate, add additional as needed.
- Remove the garlic, fennel stalks, and kombu when the beans are soft. Remove the garlic papers and throw them away. Return the tender garlic cloves to the pot after mashing them into a paste with the back of a knife. Season to taste with olive oil and lemon juice. I prefer to season with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon extra salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook until the chard leaves are just wilted, then add the chard leaves. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve in bowls with olive oil drizzles and crusty bread. Serve with a parsley garnish.
- The kombu is optional, however, it aids in the digestion of the beans. If you boil kombu, it will become bitter, so maintain the beans on low heat once you add it.