This easy to prepare bean dish pairs well with everything from chicken to cold sandwiches. Cannellini beans – especially popular in Tuscany and southern Italy – are also called haricots, white kidney beans and fazolia beans. They resemble white navy beans and are often mistaken for great northern beans.
Popular internationally, cannellini have a smooth texture and somewhat nutty flavor. In the United States, vegetarians often use them as a fish or chicken substitute. They are also a favorite in French and Greek cuisines, used in minestrone, dips and a variety of bean salads.
In this recipe the tomatoes, garlic, basil and olive oil make for a quintessential Mediterranean dish. You may prefer to use a dried Italian spice mixture in lieu of only sage to produce an even more pronounced flavor.
The vinegar at the end serves to balance out the flavors. The result is a robust, warm and convenient side that can complement almost any dish no matter if that dish is hot or cold. You can refrigerate any leftovers and heat them up for additional meals.
Herbed Italian White Beans
4 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, crushed, or to taste
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1 (14-oz.) can cannellini beans (Italian white beans), drained
2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups chopped canned plum tomatoes may be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, shredded
2 tsp. red wine vinegar or to taste
Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sage. Sauté about 2 minutes.
Add drained beans and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir gently to combine. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 10 minutes.
Uncover pan and remove from heat. Immediately add basil and vinegar and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 140 calories, 6 g total fat (< 1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbohydrate,
5 g protein, 5 g dietary fiber, 35 mg sodium.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.
Photo Credit: American Institute for Cancer Research