Canned goods are stacked in most every pantry, and if you dig around, you’ll probably find a can of versatile white beans in there.
White beans, which are also called white kidney beans or cannellini beans, are popular in Italian dishes with “Tuscan” in their title, and are a staple in the Mediterranean diet. They have many great things going for them: not only are they inexpensive and an excellent source of protein, but they’re high in fiber, a good source of magnesium, thiamine (vitamin B1), and rank lower in the glycemic index than most beans, helping to keep your blood sugar stable.
You can substitute or add white beans to most any recipe that calls for beans. Check out these easy recipes where white beans are the star of the show, and let the delicious meal-making begin!
White Bean Dip
Move over, hummus! Try this delicious, garlicky dip that makes a filling and nutritious snack or appetizer.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons. water
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Garnish: chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
To prepare dip, heat olive oil in small saucepan over medium heat.Sauté garlic, stirring constantly, until it just begins to turn golden, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. In food processor or blender, combine garlic-olive oil mixture, beans, and lemon juice. Process until smooth, slowly adding 1-2 Tbsp. water. Top with fresh parsley and serve with pita toasts, and fresh vegetables such as colorful pepper strips, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and carrots.
White Bean Chicken Chili
Cannellini beans give a perfect boost of protein and fiber to any pot of homemade chili. Toss them into your traditional tomato recipe or try this white version:
1-2 cans (15 1/2 oz. each) cannellini beans, drained
2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 Jalapeño or Serrano pepper, finely chopped (optional)
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in oil until translucent. Add chilies and seasonings; mix thoroughly. Stir in broth and beans. Add chicken and simmer for 30 minutes. Add Jalapeño or Serrano pepper to taste if desired. Ladle into bowls. Top with grated cheese before serving and garnish with any or all of these: cilantro, chopped fresh tomato, salsa, chopped scallions, guacamole. Serve with fresh warmed flour tortillas or tortilla chips. Makes 8 to 10 servings.